Ecumenical/Interfaith Anti-Violence Initiative
Sunday, October 8, 2023 (or anytime in October)
Join us in observing Solidarity Sunday, October 8th, 2023. Individuals from diverse faiths will pray together for an end to violence, hate, and harassment directed against our LGBTQI+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex) neighbors, as well as all groups subjected such injustices.
Anti-LGBTQI+ violence, hate, and harassment are a plague upon our churches, communities and world. In the USA, our LGBTQI+ neighbors are among the most targeted groups for hate crimes. Globally, 69 countries criminalize consensual sexual acts between adults of the same sex and 15 countries criminalize the gender identity and/or expression of transgender people. Consensual same-sex acts are punishable by death in eleven countries.
While people of faith have differing stances on issues related to sexual orientation and gender identity, we can all agree that violence, hate and harassment are not acceptable and that we must do our part to end them. Solidarity is coming together in spite of differences to protect the vulnerable and agreeing to stand together against violence, hate and harassment in our church and in society.
The Cumberland Presbyterian Confession of Faith and the 190th General Assembly’s Statement Against Oppression calls on Cumberland Presbyterians to advocate for ALL victims of violence (without discriminating against those who are LGBTQI+) and to work together to end the oppression of sexual minorities in church and society, as expressed in the perpetration of hate, denigration, and violence.
“The church is an advocate for all victims of violence and all those whom the law or society treats as less than persons for whom Christ died.” (Cumberland Presbyterian Confession of Faith, 6.31)
“Echoing the Holy Scriptures, the Confession declares that humans are created in the image of God, so we believe that there is no place in any form in our church or in our world for hate, denigration, unkind confrontation, and/or physical violence perpetrated on anyone, or oppression of any person based on gender or sexual expression.” (The 190th General Assembly, Cumberland Presbyterian Church)
“Be it resolved that the Cumberland Presbyterian Church encourages all members, congregations, and affiliated institutions, to commit to practicing non-violence in their own lives and to speak out against speech which incites or encourages violence and violent actions directed at any individual or group of individuals, and to share this resolution with all congregations, affiliated institutions, and denominational bodies, and promote its adoption.” (192nd General Assembly, Cumberland Presbyterian Church)
HOW TO PARTICIPATE
- Pray for an end to anti-LGBTQI+ violence and hate
- Wear your Solidarity rainbow ribbon at all times (on Zoom), and especially at worship services (rainbow ribbon not required to participate and that is okay)
- Share a message denouncing violence, hatred, and harassment directed against LGBTQ+ people.
- Educate your children, your faith community, your colleagues, your friends about the need to stop violence against all people, especially gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.
- Take the Solidarity pledge.
It is up to each person and congregation to determine exactly how they will participate. Some congregations will acknowledge Solidarity Sunday in their announcements; some will have a special speaker, film or discussion on the topic; sermons may be preached and articles posted to raise awareness; others will stand in public vigil against violence.
Solidarity Sunday is dedicated to the memory of the many who lost their lives through violence because of who they were or who they were perceived to be. May their deaths not have been in vain. Let us work together to end verbal and physical violence against all people, especially gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people!
MAKE YOUR OPPOSITION TO ANTI-LGBTQI+ VIOLENCE VISIBLE
- Solidarity Sunday Resources for Worship produced by Welcoming Cumberland Presbyterians
- Solidarity Sunday Prayer & Pledge from DignityUSA (may be distributed with ribbons)
- A Litany for Healing Homophobia & Transphobia by the Rev. Joseph A. Harmon
Watch and share these videos with your congregation on social media, and/or include in your Sunday services online and in-person.
Create your own updated fact/info sheets.
- Global Anti-LGBTQI+ Violence Fact Sheet (2021)
- Global Violence (image only) (2021)
- USA LGBTQI+ Statistics (2021)
- How to Support: Things To Say or Do & Not To Do
The news has been distressing: Hate crimes are rising as anti-LGBTQ+ legislation passes and misinformation thrives. References to pedophiles and “grooming” rose by more than 400 percent online in the month following Florida’s so-called “Don’t Say Gay” measure was approved. Disturbingly, the false accusation of pedophilia is a long standing tactic used to incite hatred and violence against the LGBTQ+ community and its use has reemerged in force. In a deeply troubling and hate-filled sermon earlier this year, Texas “Pastor” Dillon Awes said gay people “are dangerous to society” and “all homosexuals are pedophiles” and should be ‘shot in the back of the head’.
According to an analysis of National Crime Victimization Survey data, in about 1 in 5 violent hate crime victimizations, victims believed the hate crime was motivated by bias against persons or groups they were associated with (23%) or by bias against their sexual orientation (20%).
- Solidarity Sunday Logo ™
- Solidarity Sunday banner: The Church Is An Advocate For All Victims Of Violence
- Solidarity Sunday banner: There Is No Place In The Church Or World For Hate
- Statement on Opposition to Oppression Based on Sexual Identity (excerpt)
- “The Church Recognizes and Ministers to People Living in a Variety of Family Patterns…” (first, second, third)
- “The church is an advocate for all victims of violence” with rainbow candles (png)
- Prayer: “For an end to violence and hate…” (rainbow candles: png) (hate text: jpg)
SHARE FACEBOOK EVENT
If you are considering participating, please add yourself to our Facebook event and invite others as well. Read the event discussion area for relevant posts and information. Share a photo of yourself wearing the ribbon and let us know how your congregation is observing Solidarity Sunday.
SOLIDARITY SUNDAY WORSHIP SERVICE
The Dignity/San Antonio chapter (where Solidarity Sunday began) has traditionally marked the day with an Interfaith Prayer Service that promotes non-violence, especially non-violence against LGBTQI persons, commemorates those LGBT persons who have died violent deaths in past year, and asks participants to take the Solidary Pledge–to practice non-violence in their own lives and to speak out against violent speech and actions directed at GLBTQI persons.
Brunswick Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Memphis, Tennessee observed Solidarity Sunday on October 10th, 2021, at 11am Central.
TRANSGENDER DAY OF REMEMBRANCE
Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) is an annual observance on November 20 that honors the memory of the transgender people whose lives were lost in acts of anti-transgender violence. We encourage folks to participate in a service locally or in a nearby urban area or look for a service online.
Hate crimes are those committed due to biases based on actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, or gender. Examples include: unlawful discrimination; verbal or written threats, including those in texts, emails and on social media; harassment, sexual harassment; physical assault or attempted assault; intimidation; blackmail; vandalism or property damage; hate-related graffiti; arson, burning a rainbow flag; bomb threat; robbery, and homicide.
Report hate crimes to the proper authorities, such as your local police or sheriff’s department or the FBI. To maintain privacy, rural victims of cyberstalking may report to police in the nearest large city. Get the names, descriptions and addresses of the perpetrators and other victims. Document and save any and all evidence (emails, screenshots, etc) that can be used to investigate what has happened. If hate crimes are not reported to law enforcement, the perpetrators will continue to act and will continue to pose a threat to you and society. If you or someone you know has experienced anti-LGBTQI+ violence, you can reach an advocate by contacting the Anti-Violence Project at their 24-hour free and confidential hotline at 212-714-1141 or visiting their Report Violence page.
DignityUSA initiated Solidarity Sunday in 1995 as a way people of faith could make visible their opposition to anti-LGBTQI+ violence and hate.