Bringing Progressive People of Faith Together

Note from TFN: We’re happy to post this guest piece from Tim Palmer, director of communications and outreach for the Religious Institute. That Connecticut-based, multifaith organization is dedicated to advocating for sexual health, education and justice in faith communities and society. Tim is introducing us to a new project for progressive people of faith.

Like the rest of the country, this transplanted Texan (I have lived in New York since 1997) watched in dismay as the State Board of Education made a joke of the words “curriculum standards.” I’m grateful as always that the Texas Freedom Network has been a voice for reason and sanity. I was particularly interested in Dan’s post about the hate mail you’ve received, and how much of it assumes that if you’re progressive, you surely aren’t Christian, or a person of faith of any kind. That’s when it struck me how much TFN and the organization I work for — the Religious Institute — have in common.

The Religious Institute was started in 2001 to advocate for reproductive justice, comprehensive sexuality education, and the full inclusion of LGBT persons in faith communities and society. Since then we’ve had to battle the misperception — from both left and right — that people of faith categorically oppose sex education, abortion rights and any steps toward LGBT equality. We have created a network of more than 5,000 progressive clergy across the country who will testify otherwise. (And a lot of those clergy are Texans.)

Unfortunately, the voices of progressive clergy were not enough to counter the influence of the Catholic bishops on health care reform, or prevent Congress from reinstating funds for abstinence-only sex education, or to overcome the financing from conservative religious organizations that helped overturned marriage equality in California and Maine. So it’s time to expand the movement.

We are inviting not just clergy, but all people of faith across the country to become part of the Faithful Voices Network — a new, multifaith movement of individuals who share a progressive vision of sexuality and faith, and a religious commitment to truth and justice. We want to change the way America understands sexuality and religion. The Faithful Voices Network will challenge the conservative voice that claims to speak for all of us on matters of sexuality. And it will encourage religious leaders everywhere to engage the issues of sexual health and healing that affect every individual and every family.

If your religious leaders don’t speak for you on issues of sexual health and justice, line up behind others who do.

6 thoughts on “Bringing Progressive People of Faith Together

  1. Abstinence only hasn’t worked since time began. What makes them think that it will work now?

    “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” ~ Albert Einstein

  2. I’m a Progressive. And I’m a devout atheist. But I have no problem or opposition to working with persons of faith in matters of social and political progress. That said, I have been personally marginalized by most of those of faith who work in the political arena because they assume my form of Progressivism goes hand-in-hand with trying to destroy religion.

  3. I’m a Progressive. And I’m a devout humanistic Jew. I’ll work with people of faith and people of no faith, if they’re willing to work with me.

    Check out a great book and a great movement begun by Eboo Patel, founder and executive director of Interfaith Youth Core.
    The following is cut & pasted from internet search:

    “Named by US News & World Report as one of America’s Best Leaders of 2009, Eboo Patel is the founder and Executive Director of Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC), a Chicago-based institution building the global interfaith youth movement. Author of the award-winning book Acts of Faith: The Story of an American Muslim, the Struggle for the Soul of a Generation, Eboo is also a regular contributor to the Washington Post, National Public Radio and CNN. He is a member of President Obama’s Advisory Council of the White House Office of Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, and holds a doctorate in the sociology of religion from Oxford University, where he studied on a Rhodes scholarship.”

  4. This is a late response, but please get a copy of John Shelby Sprong’s book “Liberating the Gospels.” He is wrong as can be on some things, but on others…I could kiss the guy.