Do religious institutions have an obligation to fight for social change? The Civil Rights movement sprung from the Baptist churches of the South. Without the congregations and the organizing power of a certain young reverend by the name of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., African Americans would not have achieved de-segregation. Now another social battle divides America, and once again religious leaders are on the frontlines, for the fight for LGBTQ rights.
Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum works to change people’s hearts and open their eyes to treat and accept LGBTQ people as fellow human beings. What causes people to hate those of a different sexual orientation? Rabbi Kleinbaum says that their ignorance stems from their sexuality having been “oppressed”:
“I think politically and spiritually it’s important for me to say and to be out there saying God loves queer people. This isn’t a mistake that God’s embarrassed by and is tolerant of but this is essentially part of God’s plan. So that’s the first thing. The second thing I would say that I believe what LGBTQ perspective brings to Judaism and to world religions as well is the liberation of all of us straight and gay. And by that I mean I think that straight people are oppressed by religion and how religion has been used to oppress sexuality and gender roles and gender relationships and has hurt men and women who are living extremely on the surface traditional heterosexual lives.”
For more on Rabbi Kleinbaum’s discussion on how religious leaders must promote social consciousness and greater understanding, watch this clip from Big Think’s interview: