Dear Member of Congress,
As clergy and faith leaders from a broad diversity of religious traditions, we call on you to support H.R. 3017 and S. 1584, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), to ensure the fair treatment of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Americans in the workplace.
We believe it is immoral to deprive anyone of the means to feed, clothe, and care for themselves and their families. When LGBT people are denied the right to work simply for living honestly, their basic humanity is fundamentally denied. As clergy and faith community leaders, we know firsthand the devastating effects the loss of a job can have on individuals, families, and communities. Though we are all pained by the economic hardships befalling our nation, loss of a job because of discrimination against one’s identity incurs an even more devastating sense of personal loss and humiliation. This prejudice is not benign – it hurts real families in our congregations.
We affirm the sacred dignity and worth of all human beings – lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and heterosexual, men and women – for all are created equal, a reflection of the divine (Genesis 1:27; The Quran 95:4). Our faiths unite us in a moral obligation to treat others with the respect we desire for ourselves and to pursue justice by preventing further harm from coming to those most marginalized by our society (UdanaVarga 5:18; Mahabharata, Anusasana Parva, 113.8; Isaiah 10:1-2; Matthew 25:40; Prophet Mohammed(PBUH): Bukhari & Muslim). As heirs to these prophetic traditions, and indeed the narrative of this nation, our advocacy is grounded in the belief that advancing equality also means ensuring economic opportunity for our LGBT brothers and sisters. Swift enactment of an inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act is needed.
ENDA is a common-sense, measured approach to removing discriminatory barriers to employment for LGBT people while respecting the sacred texts and teachings of America’s diverse faith traditions. This bill broadly exempts from its scope all religious organizations protected by Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act thereby honoring the free exercise of religion and conscience we each hold dear as religious leaders in our respective houses of worship, seminaries, religious federations, organizations and other faith-based institutions.
Extending the full, long overdue rights and responsibilities of citizenship to the LGBT community is a pressing moral, social and economic priority. We urge Congress to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (H.R. 3017, S. 1584) to uphold the American promise of justice and equality for all.
This morning, I signed onto a letter with a broad array of clergy from different religious faiths to support the Employee Non-Discrimination Act to ensure fair treatment of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Americans in the workplace. Supported by our Union for Reform Judaism and our Washington-based Religious Action Center for Reform Judaism (Read Rabbi David Saperstein’s testimony before Congress), this interfaith letter is also supported by a half a dozen other mainstream Jewish organizations. The letter will be sent to members of Congress. Most significantly, the letter emphasizes that which we learn from Torah: We affirm the sacred dignity and worth of all human beings – lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and heterosexual, men and women – for all are created equal, b’tzelem Elohim, a reflection of the divine (Genesis 1:27). You can help end Workplace Discrimination by just making a few calls.