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Rev. Roland Stringfellow Headshot

In Support of Faith, Fairness and California's FAIR Education Act

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Our families and communities will be stronger when we begin to recognize the value of every voice and the contributions of every person. Jesus Christ teaches us to love your neighbor and to provide help for the "least of these." There are parents who look for ways to love their children no matter what. The love and acceptance of these parents know no boundaries. Pastors should preach of a God with unconditional love and support the voice of young people who desperately want to find their place in society and within the community of God's people.

For centuries pastors have helped hold our Black families and community together. It is crucial that we continue to stand united and stand in support of California's SB 48, the Fair, Accurate, Inclusive and Respectful (FAIR) Education Act, an education act designed to promote understanding and decrease violence against some of the most vulnerable in our public schools. While some have spoken out in opposition to the act, there are many faith leaders who firmly believe that this law will help educators and students to become more respectful and inclusive of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals by including their history alongside with the stories and contributions of other figures found in textbooks. There are pastors like myself who stand unapologetically in support of this law because it will help LGBT young people and their peers thrive.The last place bullying should occur is from the pulpit. This new law will benefit everyone in our community, both gay and straight, because it supports one of the primary tenants of the Christian faith -- we are all created in the image of God and that God so loved the world. Every person is worthy of respect and recognition.

The FAIR Act acknowledges the existence and positive influence LGBT people make in our communities, especially the Black community. People like the late gospel recording artist Rev. James Cleveland, a pioneer in modern gospel music, community leader Bishop Yvette Flunder, a longtime advocate for HIV/AIDS prevention, and Rev. Anthony Charles Williams II, the gospel recording artist formerly known as Tonéx who has paved the way for future out gospel artists, each have compelling stories of how God's peace and presence encouraged them to be exactly who they were created to be. Each of them has positively impacted the Black community through song, preaching and testimony. Each of them would be great contributions to history books and fine examples of what it means to be Black, LGBT and Christian.

Theology should be affirming to the human spirit. It is time to stop divisive words and actions against members of our own families and communities. It is time to be fair and welcoming of all who need to find a place in our homes, our churches and in our textbooks.

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