Unfinished Lives

Remembering LGBT Hate Crime Victims

Religion, LGBTQ People, and the Post-9/11 World: Special Comment

Austin, Texas – Has religion strengthened or weakened the ability of LGBTQ people to address the traumas of the post-9/11 world?  When will LGBTQ people have the long-overdue discussion about organized religion and spirituality between queers of faith and faith-free LGBTQ people?  These are but two of the questions Dr. Stephen Sprinkle, founder and director of the Unfinished Lives Project, addressed at the 10th annual Multi-Faith Pride Service in Austin on September 8.  The service, a highlight of the yearly Austin Pride Festival, drew Jewish, Christian, Buddhist, Wiccan, and Unitarian adherents, among others.  University United Methodist Church, adjacent to the main campus of the University of Texas at Austin, hosted the evening.

Dr. Sprinkle challenged Austinites to heal their sacred/secular rift in order to lead the nation in healing and wholeness during the second decade since the attacks on New York and Washington, D.C.  In this excerpt, he makes his case:

“Unless and until we LGBTQ people of faith and our secular, faith-free sisters and brothers heal the rift among us over religion and learn how to work side-by-side, we will remain too divided and too weak to engage the mission our faiths call us to accomplish: the healing of the nation’s lingering wounds after 9/11.  I have a wonderful mentor and colleague here in Austin, Chaplain Paul Dodd, an ordained Baptist minister, a distinguished retired U.S. Army Chaplain, and leading pastoral counselor.  He is co-founder of the Forum on the Military Chaplaincy, a visionary group of national leaders, both Gay and Straight, who have labored ceaselessly for the Repeal and Implementation of the Repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.  Paul deals with the religious reservations of gays and lesbians compassionately day-in-and-day-out.  But he told me recently that the time has come to say to those LGBTQ leaders who are still hung up about religion, “It is time you just get over it, and move ahead!”  I couldn’t say it better!”  

Dr. Sprinkle’s speech was interrupted by applause several times, and he received a standing ovation at the end.  One observer who has attended many Pride Services said that this was the first time in ten years anyone has been given such an honor.

For the full text of Dr. Sprinkle’s address, use this link.

September 12, 2011 - Posted by | 9/11, African Americans, Anglo Americans, Austin Pride, Bisexual persons, gay bashing, gay men, Gay Pride Month, GLBTQ, Hate Crimes, hate crimes prevention, hate speech, Heterosexism and homophobia, Latino and Latina Americans, Lesbian women, LGBTQ, New York, Pennsylvania, Perpetrators of Hate Crime, religious hate speech, religious intolerance, Repeal of DADT, Slurs and epithets, Social Justice Advocacy, Texas, transgender persons, transphobia, Washington, D.C. | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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