For Immediate Release
October 29, 2010
Contact: Phil Soucy, 703-980-2038, email@example.com
Lutherans Concerned Endorses Anti-Bullying Message of Bishop Hanson, Calls for Action
Lutherans Concerned/North America (LC/NA) endorses the message on bullying released yesterday as a video on the ELCA website, on YouTube (http://tinyurl.com/BpHanson-on-bullying), and on the website for the “It Gets Better” Project (http://tinyurl.com/BpHanson-on-Itgetsbetter).
In his video message, Bishop Hanson, Presiding Bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, speaks of the “pain and shock” of hearing of young people bullied “for being the people God created them to be.” He says that he knows of the hurt that had been inflicted by the words of some Christian brothers and sisters and also that “our silence” had the power to hurt as well. He reminds lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender young people that they are “beloved children of God,” for whom there is a place in this world and in this church.
Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America joins right-minded religious and community leaders standing against physical or psychological violence in schools and other settings where young people are found, whether that bullying is for real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity or any other reason.
Emily Eastwood, Executive Director of Lutherans Concerned/North America, said “In his message, Bishop Hanson has drawn a line in the sand, proclaiming LGBT people as children of God and witnessing to the truth that LGBT people are who God created us to be. His statement is reassuring and unequivocal. It is by far the most positive statement to date by a presiding bishop of the ELCA both proclaiming God’s love and standing against violence and harassment of LGBT people.
“While we welcome this message, we know that in order to move ELCA members and congregations to act to prevent bullying, we must do much more than reassure the victims. We must enact a plan and produce concrete action steps to turn Bishop Hanson’s stated core values from homily to reality. Toward that end, we call on the ELCA to collaborate with us and our ecumenical partners to produce web-based congregational and individual resources to end bullying of all kinds. Bullying is not Christian. Our church must no longer stand idly by while our youth and young adults endure unspeakable pain.
“LC/NA requests that our members thank Bishop Hanson for his message and urge him to take additional steps to ensure that his words become actions at the congregational level. Bishop Hanson may be reached through firstname.lastname@example.org.”
As Bishop Hanson said, “Words have the power to hurt–and the power to heal.” Lutherans Concerned/North America as an organization, its board of directors and staff, and its members continue to call on leaders of all aspects of society, secular and religious, to take strong stances against bullying. We must address the hurts and hopes of those most directly affected by hurtful words and actions, offering them the reassurance that indeed it gets better and working vigorously to change the minds or behaviors that produce the hurtful, hateful words by bringing them the whole message of Christ.
We must commit to identifying and ending the root causes of bullying–socio-economic injustice; racial, ethnic, and gender-based ignorance and hatreds; glorification of aggression found in advertising and entertainment media; commercial sexual exploitation; and theologies of condemnation that continue to enjoy official recognition in churches. We must make it better.
See www.lcna.org for the stance of Lutherans Concerned on bullying and what congregations and other religious settings can do to combat its pernicious effects.
Our response to bullying must be unequivocal. Anything less makes a lie of what we say of ourselves as individuals, communities, a nation, and people of faith.
ABOUT Lutherans Concerned/North America
Working at the intersection of oppressions, Lutherans Concerned/North America (LC/NA) embodies, inspires, advocates and organizes for the acceptance and full participation of people of all sexual orientations and gender identities within the Lutheran communion and its ecumenical and global partners. LC/NA is based in St. Paul, Minnesota. More information is at www.lcna.org.
Communications Staff LC/NA