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Clergy Supporting Fairness and Equality

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Today on Capitol Hill a diverse array of clergy members from across the country gathered with a simple message of justice and fairness. They came from all different faith traditions ranging from Southern Baptist, Evangelical, Episcopal, Presbyterian, Judaism and Unitarian - to name just a few.

Their message rang like a bell through the halls of Congress as faith leaders from all fifty states stood in solidarity on the grounds of the Capitol to proclaim their support of equality for all Americans.

Below are the remarks given by Bishop Carlton Pearson who graduated from Oral Roberts University and is the Senior Minister of News Dimensions Worship in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and presiding bishop of the new "Inclusion Consciousness, Interdenominational Fellowship of Churches and Ministries."

"G.K. Chesterton, the great English critic and author said: "Let your religion be less of a theory and more of a love affair."

I am here today because I believe in the American Love Affair. The common love affair we have with moral justice, our love affair with life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and as the late great Dr. Martin Luther King said in his famous speech offered here in our nation's capital, "I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed, that all men (or people) are created equal."

The federal hate crimes law (18 U.S.C. section 245), covering race, religion, color and national origin, has been on the books since 1969.

Congress once again has the opportunity, indeed the imperative to add women, people with disabilities and members of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community to the existing federal hate crimes law by passing the Matthew Shepard Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act. Congress must act now to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. T his is a wonderful and empowering opportunity for our nation to indeed live out its motto etched indelibly on the Great Seal of the United States: E Pluribus Unum, out of many one.

As a member of the faith community in America, a sacred activist and cultural creative, I want to emphatically add my voice to what I believe is one of the most significant Civil Rights issues of this century. The issue of, not special, but equal rights for God's same gender loving children is a moral imperative in every community in America. Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people are our doctors, lawyers, police officers, preachers and politicians. They are our school teachers, our athletes, entertainers, shop keepers and farmers.

They are tax-paying, law-abiding, God-loving and often Christ-following Americans who are, and well should be, protected under the U.S. Constitution. I am here to defend their right to the American dream dynamic and to encourage the US Congress to help make Freedom's dream an inclusive reality for all who live and in this great country.

I still pledge allegiance to the flag of the USA...indeed, "One nation under God with liberty and justice for ALL!"

To read statements made by other clergy members and to see photos of events this week on Capitol Hill, please visit: www.hrc.org/clergycall/press

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