The following was submitted by The Rev. Tom O’Brien on behalf of Freedom Massachusetts. He is Pastor and Teacher at Memorial Congregational Church UCC in Sudbury.
Last week, we were ready to speak out forcefully against any executive order that would have discriminated against LGBT people. In the end, what we got was more insidious—an order that sends a signal that discrimination is OK—and that faith should be used to justify it.
This order is only the latest instance in a long history of public figures twisting religious teachings to justify advancing a discriminatory political agenda. Now, here in Massachusetts, where a 2018 ballot initiative seeks to repeal our state’s non-discrimination law, this rhetoric is targeting our transgender friends, coworkers and neighbors.
As a pastor and the father of a transgender son, this disturbs me. Religious liberty is a fundamental freedom, and it should be praised and protected as such. But religion cannot and should not be used as a weapon to discriminate.
One of the most important rules of my faith is to treat others as I want to be treated—and I see that rule violated by the concerted effort in our state and across the country to rollback non-discrimination protections for transgender Americans.
I haven’t forgotten that earlier this year, the Trump administration signed an executive order rescinding non-discrimination protections for transgender students. And of course, opponents of equality are working hard right now to repeal #TransLawMA at the ballot box next year.
That’s why last year, I was proud to join with 350+ faith leaders and congregations in passing full protections for transgender people in Massachusetts. And now, with this dangerous initiative on the ballot in 2018, I am ready to stand alongside my fellow faith leaders in defending these critical protections for every single transgender person, like my son Max, who calls Massachusetts home.
Join me in pledging your support for Massachusetts’ transgender community, and against attempts to use faith as a weapon discrimination.
P.S. Are you a faith leader too? Already, 350+ Massachusetts faith leaders have signed our pledge against discrimination—be one of them.