Christians for Equality speak out for Anchorage Equal Rights Initiative
Christians for Equality, a new group representing a number of religious and faith-based organizations in the Anchorage area, has formed in support of the Anchorage Equal Rights Initiative. Christians for Equality was was convened by Rev. Michael Burke of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church. The group will host a press conference today at 1:00 PM at the Anchorage’s First Congregational Church at 2610 E Northern Lights Blvd.
Earlier today, the One Anchorage campaign submitted over 13,000 signatures — more than twice the minimum needed — to place the Anchorage Equal Rights Initiative on the Municipality of Anchorage’s April 3, 2012 ballot. If passed, the measure will provide the same legal protections to gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people already provided to Anchorage residents on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, marital status, age, physical disability, and mental disability.
Christians for Equality issued a press release earlier today. Here’s its text:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Dec. 8, 2011
Contact: Rev. Michael Burke, 907-440-7729
Christians for Equality stand united for Equal Rights Initiative
ANCHORAGE, Alaska – A group representing a number of religious and faith-based organizations in Anchorage is standing in support of an Equal Rights Initiative that will appear on the Municipality of Anchorage’s April 2012 ballot. More than a dozen ministerial leaders who are members of Christians for Equality announced their support of the One Anchorage campaign and initiative at a press conference on Thurs., Dec. 8, 2011.
“Equality is a core value of our Christian faith,” said Rev. Michael Burke, pastor of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church and convener of Christians for Equality. “That’s why we firmly support the One Anchorage initiative, because it calls for equal treatment of one another and protects those in our community who have no legal rights against discrimination today.”
Christians for Equality was organized to support the Equal Rights Initiative. “We are speaking out so that the full voice of the Christian community is heard on the issue of equality,” said Burke.
Christians for Equality is comprised of faith leaders, lay and ordained, from a variety of different denominations and faith communities united in our conviction that no one should be discriminated against in employment, housing, or public accommodations simply because they are gay or transgender.
The group’s members include Rev. Peter Perry, St. John United Methodist Church; Rev. Martin Eldred, Joy Lutheran Church; Rev. Susan Knight, Immanuel Presbyterian Church; Rev. Dan Bollerud, Christ Our Savior Lutheran Church; Rev. George Blair, First Congregational Church; Rev. Sara Gavit, St. Mary’s Episcopal Church; Rev. Beatrice Hitchcock, Unitarian Universalist Fellowship; Rev. Ron Myers, First United Methodist Church; Rev. Glenn Petersen, Central Lutheran Church; Rev. Paul Boling, First Christian Church; Rev. David Boling, First Christian Church; Rev. Julia Seymour, Lutheran Church of Hope; Rev. Drew Phoenix, The United Methodist Church; Rev. Johnathan Jones, Church Life AK; Rev. Gayle Nauska, Nauska Counseling; and Rev. Susan Halvor, Chaplain.
“The biblical message is an ethic of love,” said Rev. Peter Perry, senior pastor of St. John United Methodist Church. “When asked what the greatest commandment was, Jesus responded, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.’ We affirm that we are all made in the image of God and are therefore called to honor the dignity and equality of all persons. Discrimination and unfair treatment are never loving.”[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="620" caption="People of Faith Who Care in Anchorage Pride March 2010"][/caption]