Hundreds of world faith leaders ask LGBT+ community for forgiveness

Global Interfaith Commission on LGBT+ Lives released a declaration calling for the end of persecution of those of different sexual orientation or gender identity


Hundreds of faith leaders from around the world have asked forgiveness from LGBT+ people whose lives have been damaged by religious teachings in a declaration launched on Wednesday. 

They have called for an end to the criminalisation of people on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity and to attempts to suppress their identity through “conversion therapy”. 

The Global Interfaith Commission on LGBT+ Lives has beeen co-chaired by Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner, former Senior Rabbi of Reform Judaism, and the Bishop of Liverpool, the Right Reverend Paul Bayes. 

The 370 signatories to the 10-point “Declaring the Sanctity of Life and the Dignity of All” say they: 

“affirm that all human beings of all sexual orientations, gender identities and gender expressions are a precious part of creation and are part of the natural order. 

“recognise with sadness that certain religious teachings have often, throughout the ages, caused and continue to cause deep pain and offence to those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex. 

“acknowledge with profound regret that some of our teachings have created to create, oppressive systems that fuel intolerance, perpetuate injustice and result in violence 

“ask for forgiveness from those who lives have been damaged and destroyed on the pretext of religious teaching”. 

Its 40-plus signatories from the UK are mostly Reform or Liberal rabbis but  include Rabbi Eryn London, who was ordained at the Orthodox women’s academy, Yeshivat Maharat, in New York. 

Its international signatories include a number of Orthodox rabbis including Rabbi David Rosen, who is originally from the UK and is now international director of inter-religious affairs for the American Jewish Committee, the founder of Clal, Rabbi Yitz Greenberg and Rabbi Asher Lopatin, of Kehillat Etz Chaim, an open Orthodox synagogue near Detroit. 

The launch incudes a conference sponsored by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office and a celebration at Westminster Abbey. 

Jayne Ozanne, of the Ozanne Foundation, which is managing the initiative, said Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis had been invited to attend the launch and sign. They had received a reply that unfortunately he was busy that day but sent his wishes for the event to be “a great success”.  

A video of the declaration can be seen here

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