THE RIGHT TO LIVE WITH DIGNITY AND RESPECT
We cannot ignore the persecution and torture of our brothers and sisters in Russia and so many other parts of the World based on their sexual orientation. We call upon the religious leaders of the Interfaith Community to stand together in demanding that all people be treated with dignity and respect regardless of their gender or orientation.
More to the point, we must examine whether we say, teach, or do anything to endanger people because of their sexual orientation or gender. The assaults we see in Russia are happening in the streets by ordinary people as well as officials. This charged atmosphere of hatred and scorn is the result of inflammatory rhetoric on the part of those who have failed in their responsibility to lead with justice for all. Minorities and disenfranchised people have rights regardless of the majority point of view.
We must be careful that our political views and religious convictions are not based on misinformation, prejudice, fear, or hatred that is culturally based. If our teachings and convictions result in the endangering of other people’s lives and well-being then we must reconsider what we believe. No belief or conviction gives us the right to hurt or destroy another person’s life.
Some argue that this is a sensitive issue based on the idea we are free to believe and practice as we see fit. However, we are not speaking about “issues” here. We are speaking about people and their right to live with dignity and human respect. We defend a person’s right to live over the ideology, convictions, or beliefs of those who might have more power and authority.
Interfaith Community leaders must come to the defense of lives of real human persons regardless of the convictions they might hold about the issues involved. No one should be hurt or killed because of their religious beliefs or political ideas. People must not be dehumanized by those who think they are of a higher moral or social standing. No religion that is truly a religion justifies the murder or hurting of another human being.
We grieve for anyone who suffers the cruelty of torture, persecution, or murder because of how they love. We hope that justice based on intelligence and compassion will soon touch our hearts as together we continue to discover the depth of what it means to be human and humane.
The Interfaith Peace Project
October 4, 2014