More Light Presbyterians represents over 200 Presbyterian Church, USA congregations nationwide. For over 40 years, More Light Presbyterians has worked for the full participation of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) people in the life, ministry and witness of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A), and in society. As a Christian organization that believes everyone should be treated as a child of God, the board of More Light Presbyterians stands opposed to laws, such as the recent passage of the Indiana Religious Freedom Restoration Act, that create a dangerous and broad religious exemption for private business owners, government employees, landlords and employers to legal protections for LGBTQ citizens given under state or local law.
As Presbyterians, our rules of law and order are as deeply ingrained in our faith tradition as the Scriptures and our sanctuaries. We practice a deep respect for the religious freedom we are granted by the U.S. Constitution as well as federal and state laws. However, our church laws have long affirmed that discrimination is not a Christian value. Our denomination’s constitution, the Book of Order, affirms that “In Christ, by the power of the Spirit, God unites persons through baptism regardless of race, ethnicity, age, sex, disability, geography, or theological conviction. There is therefore no place in the life of the Church for discrimination against any person.” (F-1.0403)
Religious exemptions violate the spirit of this law, as well as a much higher law — Jesus’ commandment to love one another. Not all Presbyterians have the same position of acceptance toward LGBTQ families. Our rule of law allows for those differences, while offering the freedom for all kinds families to live as full and faithful Christians within the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A). Discrimination is neither an American value nor a Christian one, and Indiana’s religious exemption law, as well as laws that have been proposed in states nationwide, have the potential to foster discrimination, abuse and unintended consequences that will harm Indiana’s families, Christian and otherwise, for years to come.
Our communities and churches flourish when we can contribute our full selves to them. More Light strongly urges Christians and people of every faith tradition in Indiana, and across the country to demand repeal of this harmful law.