We’re extremely excited about our official closing night (note, not the last event!) which is due to take place next Wednesday (24 February) at 19:00 in Temple Hall, York St John University. This will be a Question Time-style panel discussion exploring the negotiation of the intersections of and interactions between faith and LGBT communities.
We’re positively delighted to have panellists from local Buddhist, Christian, Humanist, Jewish, Muslim and Sikh communities, though we recognise and fully acknowledge that no faith is a singular, uncontested belief system. As such, our panellists will speak as individuals representing a broad spectrum of faiths and ideologies rather than spokespeople for Buddhism, Christianity, Humanism, Judaism, Islam and Sikhism!
Some questions we might ask include (let us know if you have any more):
- Prejudice and discrimination
- Why do gender identity and particularly sexual orientation take up so much thinking and speaking space within faiths and ideologies? Do faith groups/ideologies have the right priorities?
- Christianity, Islam and Judaism are all monotheistic Abrahamic religions – is there a shared root that leads to prejudices around sexual orientation (and gender identity?)? Is it a case of focusing on specific parts of sacred texts (whilst ignoring others) to justify prejudice and discrimination?
- Does social acceptance have to precede the breaking down of legal barriers to equality (such as same-sex weddings in religious establishments, gay clergy and so on)?
- To what extent is it the responsibility of central religious bodies such as the papacy/Vatican and the Archbishop of Canterbury to acknowledge their institutions’ roles in spreading anti-LGBT (particularly anti-sodomy) laws across the globe via colonialism? Is it appropriate for the UK and such bodies to lobby post-colonial societies to undo the damage caused?
- Working together; support; allies
- How can we work together effectively and deconstruct the view held by many members of the LGBT community that religious bodies are the enemy, and perhaps the inner prejudices this view might embody?
- At grassroots level there is clear evidence of acceptance within worshipping communities – there are allies within every spiritual ideology. However they often feel unable to speak in support for fear of reputational damage (either to themselves or to their affiliations). How can we move forward from this, and how can we begin the process of changing doctrine?
- To what extent is the value attached to the concept of “tradition” useful or obstructive in reconciling faith and LGBT communities?
- Faith is often based on a notion of hope – are you hopeful that we will find a way forward that is reconciliatory and about respect for the person and acknowledges that LGBT people are welcomed, celebrated and not just, at best, accommodated?
This is not one to be missed!