Christian and Jewish clergy are protesting anti-LGBTQ legislation and an abortion ban in Missouri on the basis of religious freedom.
More than a dozen clergy represented by Americans United for Separation of Church and State and the National Women's Law Center are challenging the state's ban on abortion, and some of those same religious leaders are preparing to fight legislative attacks on LGBTQ rights, reported Religion News Service.
“Basically, Missouri is leading the nation, it seems right now, in anti-LGBTQ legislation,” said Maharat Rori Picker Neiss, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of St. Louis.
Missouri lawmakers have introduced 27 bills targeting LGBTQ rights, the most in the nation, according to the American Civil Liberties Union, and clergy members showed up to a recent marathon hearing to express their opposition to the proposed legislation.
“I think one of the most distinct parts about the resistance to these bigoted and bullying bills in Missouri is the way that the faith community has shown up to stand up for these kids,” said Rabbi Daniel Bogard of the Central Reform Congregation in St. Louis.
The Rev. Mike Angell, rector of the Episcopal Church of the Holy Communion in University City, said many faith communities welcome LGBTQ worshipers, and he said it was important to show them support.
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“A number of us have trans youth in our congregations, some of whom are here to testify and to witness," Angell said. "So, for a lot of us, there’s a piece of this that is accompaniment of the trans youth, who would be directly affected, and the parents of trans youth, who would be directly affected."