Faith In America’s mission is to educate the public about the harm caused when misguided religious teaching is used to place a religious and moral stamp of disapproval and inequality on the lives of gay and lesbian Americans, with emphasis on its horrific impact on youth and families. The goal of this education process is to end the advance of religion-based bigotry and the stigma and hostility this uniquely vile form of bigotry promotes toward LGBT individuals and their families. It can no longer be acceptable to bring religion-based bigotry’s harm to bear on good, decent human beings solely because of their sexual orientation.
Faith In America’s work over the previous two years has helped lay the foundation for a powerful and history-changing conversation and one which will take on profound significance in 2012.
We have injected a new voice into the national dialogue on full and equal rights for gay Americans. No longer will the Tony Perkins, James Dobsons. Michael Browns or Frank Tureks of the world be allowed to justify and promote attitudes of rejection, condemnation and violence with impunity
Our educational initiatives have resulted in:
• 2011 – A historic face-to-face meeting in Phoenix, Arizona with the leadership of the Southern Baptist Convention. A Capitol Hill reception in Washington, D.C. with N.C. Sen. Kay Kagan and Sen. Richard Burr to discuss religion-based bigotry’s harm. A Raleigh, N.C. billboard campaign that called out the religion-based bigotry toward gay people that exists within the N.C. Republican Party. Five major interviews on CNN and Fox News
• 2010 – A public interview with CNN’s Soledad O’Brien in Hickory, N.C. which drew more than 1,000 community residents. This event resulted in Rev. Anthony Spearman, vice president if the N.C. NAACP, becoming an outspoken advocate for LGBT human dignity and equality as well as a youth support group for LGBT youth being formed in western N.C. Published the LGBT community’s first messaging report whose single focus is effectively confronting the religious opposition to LGBT human dignity and equality.
• 2009 – 5,000 “End The Harm” signs distributed at National Marriage Equality March in Washington, D.C. Country singer Chely Wright joins Faith In America as board member and spokesperson.
• 2008 – Published “CRISIS: 40 Stories Revealing the Personal, Social and Religious Pain and Trauma of Growing Up Gay In America”. More than 20,000 copies have been distributed across the country, with copies hand-delivered national public figures such as President Obama. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Vice President Joe Biden to name a few.
• 2007 – Directly challenging then presidential candidate Barack Obama and then other Democratic presidential primary candidates in July 2007 with the question that was heard by them and millions of others around the world. (Why is it still OK to use religion to justify discrimination against gay and lesbian Americans?) Obtained a marriage equality statement from one of the Civil Rights Movement’s icons, Mildred Loving – a statement that the New York Times rightfully described as indeed rare. Her statement was read before the California Supreme Court during the successful marriage equality ruling in May 2008.
Since we began – We have conducted educational campaigns and other events in 16 states across America. Our media work has generated more than 300 news articles, newscast segments, news radio segments and countless internet posts about religion-based bigotry and prejudice and the harm it causes. The audience to that combined media exposure exceeds 25 million people.
But our work involves a much more important goal than the media exposure by which we bring awareness and understanding to the issue of religion-based bigotry and prejudice – which is the mortar that holds the wall of condemnation, violence and discrimination in place.
No longer should gay and lesbian individuals have to hear themselves called sinners, unworthy or undeserving by media spokespersons, elected officials, religious leaders, or anti-gay organizations or their spokespersons.
It simply no longer can be acceptable or tolerated because of the immense emotional, psychological and spiritual violence it brings to bear on our families and communities, gay and straight. We will not agree to disagree when it comes to young lives being wrecked.
Making people aware of that harm and helping them understand the pain is of course the reason Mitchell Gold, our founder, in 2008 published the book “CRISIS: 40 Stories Revealing the Personal, Social and Religious Pain and Trauma of Growing Up Gay In America”. It is changing a heart and a mind of someone in America. CRISIS is perhaps the single, most effective educational tool that exists in the public discourse today when it comes to our message.
Almost daily, we receive a personal story from someone who has been impacted by Mitchell Gold’s book, CRISIS . It is allowing parents, teachers, counselors, pastors and others to see the true face of the harm caused by religion-based bigotry and in doing so gives them the reason to move away from a position that promotes such harm.
We hope you’ll join us in ensuring that more and more Americans in 2012 will come to see that the harm caused by religion-based bigotry toward gay and lesbian Americans is indeed one of the greatest moral failures of our day. History has spoken this truth in regards to when religion-based bigotry was perpetrated against other minorities and it is again speaking that truth. It’s a voice of moral clarity and it is growing stronger each day.
→Faith in America Mission Statement
→Faith in America Board of Directors
→Brent Childers, Executive Director
→Faith in America’s Past Print Ads.
→Faith in America’s Past Billboards