As we reflect on the meaning of as powerful and somewhat evasive a concept as ‘freedom’ to our nation, we are made aware of how the most vulnerable amongst us are often left furthest from it: The LGBTIQ+ community is once again crying out for the painful blows they must sustain by a renewed spate of hate crimes the past months.
We are also hearing South African LGBTIQ+ organisations directly addressing religious and spiritual organisations and leaders. We hear their plea to us to directly speak out and condemn the violence perpetrated against the LGBTIQ+ community as unacceptable and immoral. This leads us to deep introspection during a time when some people of faith are fasting, as we grapple with the realization that as people of faith, we are deeply implicated in what is happening.
We hear LGBTIQ organisations speaking to the fact that religious values often get abused as excuses to exclude or discriminate against members of the LGBTIQ+ community and we must acknowledge that we often become places of exclusion rather than embrace, last mentioned which the best of our values attest to.
In these times we want to commit to the implication the values of our Constitution invite us into and want to see how this could mean us actively working to promote the inclusion and acceptance of LGBTIQ+ people in congregations and communities across the country.
We urge our members to accept what may feel like a challenge to their traditional stance and understanding, what may feel uncomfortable and may lead them on new journeys and renewed engagement with the texts they hold as dear and holy. We are excited about a new journey opening before us which we believe embodies more of the fulness freedom offers us all.