Marble Collegiate, founded in 1628 in NYC is one of the oldest Protestant churches in North America with continuous service for 380+ years, it has a LGBT Faith Based Fellowship. Which cannot help but cause one to wonder, why doesn't every church have a Gay Friendly Fellowship? If Marble, one of the countries oldest churches can embrace change, every religious institution can raise the bar and take the spiritual high road by respecting and opening their doors to ALL people for the sake of Equality.
While volunteering at Marble Collegiate, I could not help but be reminded that Love is so much bigger than Religious Dogma, and the issues facing the LGBT community is not exclusively about religion, it is at heart, a Civil Rights war fueled by spiritual love and support OR hypocrisy and intolerance. Either of which ideals are further promoted by the church perspectives and pastors that influence entire congregations of people, some mega churches like Joel Osteen's audience reaches into the millions. Being born in the South, I am not unfamiliar with the bigotry the Southern Churches show towards the LGBT Community. Luckily when I transplanted to NYC, I had the opportunity to attend the Gay Pride Parade, with the support of my church. Feel the irony. Gay + Church + Support = Unfamiliar as a swimmer in an Alligator Creek but a breath of fresh air from years of Fire and Brimstone speeches about Sin.
During the annual NYC Gay Pride Parade, I witnessed first hand how open minded and loving the congregation at Marble Church is, they were diversity personified, it was healing to the soul to watch equality unfold, to see with my own eyes, members of the same church, equally celebrating alongside, heterosexual and LGBT allies supporting the members of their LGBT Community of faith known as GIFTS. However, what truly sets Marble Collegiate apart as an example to every church in the United States and around the World of what loving spirituality in action is, is rather astonishing, yet humble in gesture. Out of all the churches on 5th Avenue, Marble Collegiate Church was the only church on the entire street to celebrate Pride, open their doors, set up water tables and enroll church members, gay and straight to team up together and distribute water to thirsty volunteers participating in the five mile parade route. There were no "Hate Signs of Religious Bigotry" by anti-gay church protesters standing at the doorsteps of the churches stone structure during the Pride Parade, but something else was present, the pure power of the Holy Spirit, clean, refreshing cups of living examples of unconditional spiritual love. If unity, acceptance and respect of the LGBT Community is possible at a large church like Marble Collegiate, with antique roots in the frontier of Americas oldest churches, then let the love and living example of their congregation be a reminder to every clergy member Worldwide of what is possible and expected of every single member of every church congregation.
Think about it this way, if so many churches turn their backs to the LGBT Community and States deny their Civil Rights, WHY should the LGBT community pay Federal or State Taxes if their fundamental rights to be protected in regards to healthcare, employment law, religion, police protection and marriage is not recognized across the Entire Nation.
The LGBT Community should consider marching on Washington to know on the White House Door, " Excuse me, Mr. President. Can I get a Refund? Yes, for all the years I contributed to the economy of this country and was denied Equality."
If anything, the US Government and Governments Worldwide should be paying the LGBT community like they did the indians and slaves for enduring so much abuse and violence for years. The LGBT community deserves a more modern version of their 40 acres and a mule, like, how about a candy apple red Porsche and waterfront property in NYC, Los Angeles or Miami? All of which would suffice. If at the very least the LGBT community should be paid a " Brilliancy Tax" for our witty ideas, fabulous parades and parties, resilience to abuse: religious, federal and sometimes surviving our own families, charm, good humor, natural good looks, contribution to the fashion and fabulous hair world and amazing taste in luxury apparel, interior design and gadar gifted abilities to turn the most poverty stricken, delapitated areas like Asbury Park in New Jersey or Oak Lawn in Dallas,Texas or Chelsea Meat Packing District in New York City and to flip it, strip it and slap the entire area into a renovated piece of a Gay Sheek Work of Gayborhood Art, therefore rendering the Property Value from Hundreds to Millions.
With all that the LGBT community has contributed to society, there is no need to tolerate anymore Governmental, Psychological or Religious abuse. The LGBT Community has sacrified much in order to be respected; some have endured child abuse, many have been disowned by their families for being true to themselves, others bullied, many broken in the hopelessness of suicide, some recovered from extreme acts of violence on their journey, but many have even given their very lives to get our current LGBT community the legal recognition and limited civil rights we have today.
When we were children, we are helpless to do anything but endure and overcome the obstacles that were placed before us but as adults of the LGBT community we do have the freedom to choose the negativity we allow into our lives. Make a vow to yourself that no person and no institution will be allowed to abuse your right to live a healthy, joyful and loving life; physically, emotionally or spiritually. Some religious organizations desperately need to get with the times and give up the religious bigotry and end centuries of abuse of power. The 'exclusivity mentality' about having a specifically accepted congregation according to xyz religious doctrine, while treating the LGBT community as outcasts, only promotes fear, hate crimes and bullying in America and around the world.
The LGBT community has had enough of the abuse! No More! If the LGBT Community pays Taxes to the Federal Government, they deserve EQUAL CIVIL RIGHTS.
Frankly, in good humor, if no 'sinners' were sitting in the pews of the churches praying for forgiveness; between the adulterers, fornicators, thieves, cheaters, liars, vanity whores, murderers, lazy bugs, covetors and pre-marital sex freaks, the church would be as empty as a tick on a dog covered in flea shampoo. If according to doctrine, " we all sin and fall short of the Glory of God." What gives any institution or any person the right to play God and promote hatred and intolerance of such a loving and joyful LGBT Community? When spiritual doctrine is not based in Love and Justice for All, it is a Lie. Which is why in the midst of the Lies, the LGBT Community must continue to Spread the Love.
Spirituality is such a personal choice, so are values and morals. My lifestyle and my intimate relationship with my Divinity is just that, MINE, let my Divinity deal with me, let my Divinity be the judge of my heart. It is not anyones place to try and control that which they had no power to create and breathe life into.
Judgmental people who use religion to promote bigotry might doubt the LGBT Communities value in the "Eyes of God" according to their personal religious programming. They often attempt to use their doctrine to support acts of violence or verbal cruelty and abuse but I believe Divinity knew exactly what was being done when the LGBT Community were created and laid down like lambs to be slaughtered (enduring hatred, slander, violence, denial of their Civil Rights) as a Test of Unconditional Love for those whom claim to be the most devout of religious believers of a Faith based in Love. If God knew the amount of sparrows in the sky and hairs on our head before we were born, surely he knew David preffered wearing Pink Dresses to Dockers and Kelly preferred wearing Birkenstocks to High Heels. My point being, according to many sermons, God makes no imperfect creation. Hating any particular group or class of people and trying to isolate or dehumanize them by using shame and 'accusations of sin' to justify cruel religious behavior has nothing to do with God. It is merely mans failed interpretation and innate character defect to embrace Fear instead of Faith, to Persecute instead of walk his talk and actually Be Loving.
Which is why I support, and am so grateful for & lucky enough to attend Churches that are TRUE EXAMPLES of UNCONDITIONAL LOVE (in action) of the LGBT COMMUNITY & ALL PEOPLE.
Every child of God deserves to be treated with love, decency and respect. Gone are the days of enduring any form of religious, emotional or institutional abuse. The LGBT Community has a responsibility to surround themselves with people who uplift them and to spend their money on products, organizations and spiritual institutions that support the Gay Community. One dollar spent in the right or wrong place, like Chic-fil-a, is the difference between funding Equality or Civil Rights Terrorism. And like it or not, Gay Dollars deliver a knock-out punch in Consumer Power! Anti-Gay Businesses may take us into the ring, but they cannot and will not knock us out! We will just shift our purchasing power over to their Gay Friendly Competitor and remind them that Gay Money is still Green Money! Go ahead and Hate Us, just be prepared to lose our Business.
No matter what negativity is spewed about the Gay Community by the media or churches. The LGBT Community must remember that they are Soldiers of Joy & Light. We are constantly tested in life, even in our modern era our LGBT brothers and sisters are thrown in prison, beheaded and tortured while attempting to be true to their own hearts and fight for the civil rights they deserve, we all deserve. Gay youth are struggling to make their way in the world and are often losing hope and committing suicide. We must try to protect and to shield them from the arrows of intolerance, to teach them they too are worthy of love and respect but that the LGBT Community must continue to fight and to earn the Civil Rights which are ours. We must reach out to one another, be there for one another, uplift one another, build strong friendships and allegiances of support that endure the tests of time, for each of us are our brother and sisters keeper. Whether you are an LGBT Ally, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, or a PFLAG Parent, the truth is we are FAMiLi, and family always protects, provides and prevails in life when we work together as a team. The LGBT rainbow represents strength in diversity and a is a constant reminder that we are the hope at the end of the storm for those still fighting for their civil rights. The LGBT community is the symbol of the Unconditional Love Light that curses the darkness; keep your faith, endure against the odds and always let love & kindness be your guide, even in the face of unkindness, slander or cruelty. Take a stand for your Civil Rights and enroll your friends into supporting you. Even in the Headlines seem gruesome, and it seems like darkness against the LGBT Community has struck another blow, know you are love light and your soul purpose is to SHINE like the Stars in the Heavens. Help those around you shine too and to be the example of charity and good will even against great odds. Until we have LGBT Equality around the world, like in Russia, Jamaica and the Middle East we must carry on the fight.
In order to remain strong, we must nourish and replenish ourselves. Here are several Church Referrals for Loving LGBT Spiritual Environments. I have attended every single one of these churches, so check them out. Church Hopping can be fun until you find your spiritual fit that nurture your soul and lifestyle.
One day, with prayer and faith in action, the LGBT Community will have Equality Worldwide.
NEW YORK CITY:
Marble Collegiate- marblechurch.org on 1 West 29th @5th Ave (Educational Community)
Middle Church- middlechurch.org on 2nd Av at 7th Street (Soulful Community- luv Rev Jess)
Fort Washington Church- fortwashingtonchurch.org (Quiet/Peaceful Community)
Revolution NYC- for something totally different, Jay Bakker, son of TX Evangalists Jim & Tammy Faye has Sun service in a NYC bar. revolutionnyc.com?
TEXAS: Unity Church unityhouston.org on 2929 Unity Drive, Houston (Hollistic Community)
MEDITATION: ??Oneness (Deeksha) - Non Denominational. Locations Worldwide https://www.facebook.com/pages/ONENESS-Deeksha-USA/128270263921159?ref=hl