StopHate 2000 Newsletter

December, 2004

"I may not have gone to school, but I met the scholars coming out!"

- William Edward Moran (1884-1949)

Dear Friends,

This is more of a Stophate 2000 update than a formal news letter. There have been a few changes at the Stophate web site this year.

We are pleased to announce the recent addition of addition of two new sections in our web site. There are pages dedicated to transphobia and to anti-Semitism. The web complex now has Stop Homophobia (www.geocities.com/mattsmem), Stop Transphobia (www.stophate.us/trans/), Stop Anti-Semitism (www.stophate.us/sas/) and the Matthew Shepard Memorial/Resource (www.stophate.us/shepard/) pages. The Stop Transphobia pages and the Stop Anti-Semitism pages help diversify our work, as we take steps toward being a web site that works to reduce prejudice and hate crimes against all minority groups.

One of the more recent developments is the United Church of Christ television advertisements. The advertisements were designed to help visible minorities, gay people and other people who feel excluded or unwelcome in some churches feel welcome in United Church of Christ congregations. A recent editorial from the Stop Homophobia pages on the topic follows:

United Church of Christ Adventisements

Many churches do not welcome gay people. They harshly condemn gay people and exclude them from communion, the rights of membership and from leadership. Some of the more open and accepting churches will allow gay people to have all of the rights and responsibilites of membership, including the ability to be in leadership positions, as long as they remain celibate. The most open and accepting churches will accept gay people and allow openly gay people to hold leadership roles. While gay people within the most accepting denominations may feel welcome and accepted, gay people outside the accepting congregations may not know they are welcome.

Contrast these approaches with the bold approach by the United Church of Christ. The United Church of Christ is targeting advertising for gay people and other people who feel excluded from churches. Being targeted by advertisements may seem foreign and offensive to spiritual people. Companies target advertisements to those they feel could be valuable customers. The United Church of Christ advertisements carry the subtle message that gay people are valuable to them, are valuable to the church of Jesus Christ and are valuable to society. December 1, 2004, the United Church of Christ started airing television commercials designed to help all people feel welcome in the United Church of Christ. The commercials show visible minorities and what appears to be gay people refused entry to church by two muscular men, who look like the church equivalent of bar bouncers. The commercials are part of the Still Speaking initiative of the United Churches of Christ.

We believe the United Church of Christ's bold move will help gay people feel like valued members of society and the church. Their move may also help break down the walls between gay and straight people, a move which shows promise at reducing homophobia.

We applaud the United Church of Christ. We cannot imagine a church doing anything more Christ like than openly inviting all excluded peoples, including gay people, to church. The spirit of Christ appears to be alive in the United Church of Christ. Gay people looking for an open and affirming United Church of Christ congregation are can search the United Church of Christ web site.

 

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