Missouri faith leaders oppose anti-trans legislation in open letter to lawmakers

Posted Mar 30, 2023

[Diocese of Missouri] More than 300 faith leaders throughout Missouri have added their signatures to an open letter to state lawmakers to oppose bills targeting the LGBTQIA+ community during the current state legislative session.

“Many of the bill sponsors cite their faith as a reason for their support of such legislation,” the letter states. “We disagree. These bills do not uphold the shared principles of mutual respect, undeniable dignity, or abiding love found in the tenets of our faiths. The signers of this statement, while representing a diversity of faiths and perspectives, are united by our opposition to further legal restrictions aimed at LGBTQIA+ people that dishonor their belovedness and worth.”

The Rev. Mike Angell, rector, of the Episcopal Church of the Holy Communion in University City, spearheaded this advocacy effort. Faith leaders signing this letter come from The Episcopal Church, the United Methodist Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Presbytery of Giddings Lovejoy (Presbyterian Church U.S.A.), the United Church of Christ, The Gathering, and other denominations.

The letter and signatures were published as a two-page ad in the Jefferson City News Tribune on March 29 to coincide with a rally at the state capitol.

According to the ACLU, Missouri leads the country in the number of anti-LGBTQ bills introduced, most of which target transgender youth. This letter and all the faith leaders signing it urge our lawmakers to come together and abandon these efforts.

“As people of faith and followers of Jesus, we have varying beliefs and understandings of sexual orientation and gender expression, yet we hold as sacred the personhood and dignity of every beloved child of God,” said the Rt. Rev. Deon K. Johnson, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Missouri. “These bills would not only harm transgender persons and their allies in our communities, but would further disrespect, distort, and disregard God’s image and likeness present in our siblings in Christ.”