What: HRC-Nashville Religion Project
Date/Time: Sunday, August 14, 2005 — 7:30 p.m.
Place: Vanderbilt University/Benton Chapel
Keynote Speaker: Harry Knox, HRC Religion Project Director, Washington , DC
Special Music: State of Grace from Holy Trinity Community Church
Cost: No Charge
While Justice Sunday II is being held across town on Sunday, August 14, the Nashville Human Rights Campaign (HRC) will be hosting the HRC Religion Project at Vanderbilt University ’s Benton Chapel at 7:30 PM . The keynote speaker will be Harry Knox, HRC Director of Religion and Faith from Washington , DC .
Brian Copeland is the local coordinator of this event and chairs the Religion Committee for HRC-TN. “The nation’s eyes of religion are on Nashville once again, following the 2005 Southern Baptist Convention. In the heart of the Bible belt, the Nashville LGBT community has a special opportunity to be in the nation’s sight on these important issues. This event is a great way to show support for religious equality for all persons in our community,” said Copeland.
The HRC Nashville Religion Project will offer GLBT and allied people of faith an alternative worship experience while Justice Sunday II is taking place. Local choirs will perform and Knox will be the keynote speaker.
“We hope that local news will cover this event as a cutaway from Justice Sunday II and that we will be able to offer a message of hope and inspiration to people in the region amid the vitriol they will undoubtedly hear from JSII organizers,” said Knox.
General Faith Statement
"We must bring faith discussions back to their roots of seeking understanding. A vocal minority is falsely promoting the notion that religious people stand in opposition to equal rights. Our job is to promote the truth that a majority of people of faith believes strongly in fairness and justice." — Harry Knox, director of HRC Religion and Faith Program
Religion has been a source of both solace and suffering for many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans. W hile most G LBT Americans have been raised in an organized religion — and many continue to cherish their faith community — too many have been forced to leave those communities behind because of condemnation of lesbian, gay and bisexual people.
And yet in recent years, a growing number of organized religious groups in the United States have issued statements officially welcoming lesbian, gay and bisexual people as members. (With the exception of the Unitarian Universalist Association, the Metropolitan Community Church , the United
Church of Christ and the Reconstructionist movement of Judaism, most have been silent on transgender people.)
Many religious organizations also have taken supportive stands on the issues that affect GL B people in America , such as the fight for freedom from discrimination, the solemnizing of same-sex marriage and the ordination of openly gay clergy.
For example, the United Church of Christ ran a national television commercial that showed same-sex couples being welcomed into its congregations. The Presbyterian Church (USA) blesses same-sex unions. The Episcopal Church has issued an apology for past discrimination. And Reform Judaism ordains openly lesbian, gay and bisexual people as clergy.
Harry Knox joined the Human Rights Campaign in July 2005. His management and advocacy experience includes having held the positions of business manager for patient services and
comprehensive school health programs for the American Cancer Society, Georgia Division; director of development at Equality Florida; and executive director of Georgia Equality. He is also a former pastor of a United Methodist Church in Georgia .
Under Knox’s leadership, Georgia Equality was successful in passing the state’s first lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender-inclusive legislation, the Georgia Anti-Domestic Terrorism Act, and in obtaining domestic partnership benefits for employees at Coca-Cola, BellSouth, Delta Airlines, Atlanta Gas Light and Cingular Wireless. He was the recipient of the 2000 Cordle Award for Promotion of God’s Diversity and Lancaster Theological Seminary’s 2005 Robert V. Moss Medal for Excellence in Ministry.