A guest blog from our associate Oasis
Join the campaign to stop reactionary leaders speaking on behalf of Christianity.
This year at Greenbelt, Oasis will help people demonstrate their support for trans inclusion and their opposition to conversion therapy ahead of highly charged debates which are likely to dominate social and traditional media over the next 12 months.
“There’s no point in talking to the Greenbelt crew about LGBT inclusion. Everyone at the festival gets it.”
It’s a true story. We’ve been a friend of Greenbelt for years. When we’re at the festival, we know we’re surrounded by like-minded advocates of equality and inclusion.
But that doesn’t mean this isn’t a topic to broach. In fact, over the next 12 months, there are (at least) two important reasons why pro-LGBT Christians need to speak with one voice.
With widespread support from across the political spectrum, the Government has recently unveiled a plan (or at least an intention) to ban conversion therapy – the term given to a series of practices that try and change someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity. This follows on from a previous commitment to further liberalise laws around gender reassignment / recognition.
Cleary, this is good news. But it will trigger an inevitable – and brutal – backlash. A backlash that will be invariably issued in the name of ‘Christianity.’
Despite the great sadness it causes to those of us who understand the message of Jesus to be one of radical liberation, in huge parts of the mainstream media, Christianity has become a byword for opposition to progress. In the debate around the introduction of same-sex marriage a few years ago, research by Oasis has established that 91% of the negative comments in print media came from someone claiming to speak on behalf of a Church or Christianity.
In the next year, we would be wise to prepare ourselves for more of the same.
We believe that perceptions of Christianity as a faith of justice need to be reclaimed. That’s why, at Greenbelt this year, we want to help people stand up and be counted.
Want to show your support? Rock by the Oasis TakeAway tent at the festival, grab a “Christians Against Conversion Therapy” sticker or an equally impactful “Christians for Trans Equality” one. If you’re also happy to sign the petition, we will put a list of signees – hopefully a long one – on the Open Church Network website after the festival.
Despite the rapid progress of recent decades, there’s still #MoreToDo in fully establishing LGBT equality. It’s time for churches and Christians to reclaim our rightful place as pioneers of justice rather than the reactionary roadblock to liberation.
As society and churches happily become more embracing of trans inclusion, some of our church leaders and youth workers are encountering questions around gender and identity that they feel ill-equipped to deal with.
On Saturday 8th September, Oasis is running a one-day training event on ‘Understanding Trans Youth’. The day will feature training from specialist youth workers and voices from people who identify as trans or with trans heritage.
To book a place or for more information visit www.openchurch.network/events