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  • Writer's pictureMostafa Marmousa

Hundreds of Missouri Faith Leaders Oppose Anti-Trans Legislation


More than 300 faith leaders throughout Missouri have added their signatures to an open letter to state lawmakers to oppose bills targeting the LGBTQIA+ community during the current state legislative session.

“Many of the bill sponsors cite their faith as a reason for their support of such legislation,” the letter states. “We disagree. These bills do not uphold the shared principles of mutual respect, undeniable dignity, or abiding love found in the tenets of our faiths. The signers of this statement, while representing a diversity of faiths and perspectives, are united by our opposition to further legal restrictions aimed at LGBTQIA+ people that dishonors their belovedness and worth.”

The Rev. Mike Angell, Rector at The Episcopal Church of the Holy Communion in University City, is spearheading this advocacy effort. Faith leaders signing this letter come from the Episcopal Church, the United Methodist Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), the Presbytery of Giddings Lovejoy (PCUSA), the United Church of Christ, The Gathering, and other denominations.

The letter and signatures was published as a two-page ad in the Jefferson City News Tribune on Wednesday, March 29 to coincide with a rally (planned by PROMO) at the state capitol. Organizers also created a website to host the letter and list all those who added their signatures: https://nomohate.com/.

According to the ACLU, Missouri leads the country in the number of anti-LGBTQ bills introduced, most of which target transgender youth. This letter and all the faith leaders signing it urge our lawmakers to come together and abandon these efforts.

“As people of faith and followers of Jesus, we have varying beliefs and understandings of sexual orientation and gender expression, yet we hold as sacred the personhood and dignity of every beloved child of God,” said the Rt. Rev. Deon K. Johnson, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Missouri. “These bills would not only harm transgender persons and their allies in our communities, but would further disrespect, distort, and disregard God’s image and likeness present in our siblings in Christ.”

Open Letter to Missouri State Legislators

At the core of almost all faith traditions is a call to treat others the way we would want to be treated, to love others as you would want to be loved. As faith leaders we are charged with ensuring the inherent dignity and pastoral care of those we have been called to serve. As faith leaders who represent a diversity of understandings, traditions and beliefs we raise our voices to oppose the dozens of laws proposed against the LGBTQIA+ community this session.

Many of the bill sponsors cite their faith as a reason for their support of such legislation. We disagree. These bills do not uphold the shared principles of mutual respect, undeniable dignity, or abiding love found in the tenets of our faiths. The signers of this statement, while representing a diversity of faiths and perspectives, are united by our opposition to further legal restrictions aimed at LGBTQIA+ people that dishonors their belovedness and worth.

We are particularly concerned about the laws which would harm and hurt members of the LGBTQIA+ community and their allies by criminalizing healthcare and restricting classroom instruction. We do not find justification for our state government to involve itself in doctor’s offices or schools in this way. These kinds of decisions are best left to medical and school boards. These kinds of decisions should involve parents, kids, and trusted professionals.

While we may have differing understandings and teachings we are united in the opinion that this legislation seems intended to divide Missourians and disrespect the dignity of LGBTQIA+ persons. There are so many priorities around which we could come together: solving our critical teacher and foster care worker shortage, making our schools safer, ensuring healthcare is available for all, attracting high quality employers to our state. Proposing legislation against LGBTQIA+ people, stoking division around these questions, can seriously impact the mental health of members of these communities. Together we ask our legislators to abandon these efforts. Let Missouri come together.

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