Faith Leaders Denounce President Trump’s Military Ban on Transgender People

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

July 26, 2017

 

Contact:

Michelle Nealy, (202) 735-7123mnealy@faithinpubliclife.org

Greg Williams, (443) 854-1405gwilliams@faithinpubliclife.org

Faith Leaders Denounce President Trump’s Military Ban on Transgender People

Washington, DC -- President Donald Trump announced Wednesday that he plans to reinstate a ban on transgender individuals from serving "in any capacity" in the US armed forces. Roughly 15,000 transgender men and women serve. A wide variety of interfaith leaders condemned the policy shift. In light of this development, faith leaders have released the following statements.

 

Rev. Jennifer Butler, CEO, Faith in Public Life (Washington, D.C.):

"Trans people are beloved by God. As God's children, they have all of the rights that everyone else has. Transgender people should be welcomed and honored for their service to our country not rejected in bigotry and fear."

Rev. R.L. Gundy, veteran, Florida Director, African American Ministers In Action, People For the American Way:

“I served 20 years in the military to defend and uphold the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic! I did not serve for the purpose of discriminating against anyone else, including those who have fought alongside me. I encourage those service members to be strong and courageous, for the Lord our God will be with you as this disastrous executive order has a negative ripple effect across our military and impacts our military readiness.”

Rev. Melissa McQueen-Simmons, veteran, coordinator, Many Voices (Charlotte, NC):

“As a combat Army Veteran, I learned that loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity and personal courage are values we treasure as we serve our country. This reminds me that gender, sexual orientation and gender expression is irrelevant when it comes to serving this country. My faith assures me that we are all created in the image of God and are given a unique purpose for humanity.  I stand with the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community and believe all qualified persons should be able to serve this country and receive military benefits.”

Rev. Caroline Magee, Veteran, Assistant Rector, St. Bede’s Episcopal Church (Atlanta, GA):

“From my experience on combatant ships in the Navy, what military service members care about is a person’s ability to execute his or her duties. What my Commanding Officer cared about was mission readiness of our unit. That’s it. Gender wasn’t relevant.

“From a faith perspective, there’s my baptismal covenant to honor the dignity of every human being. Exactly as God made him or her – cis or trans, whatever. In the practice of Christianity, we stay mission-focused. Love God, love one another. That’s it. We don’t waste time thinning the forces of love by excluding people. We have plenty of real work to do in a changing climate and profoundly diverse community of humanity. We need ALL hands on deck.”

Nish Weiseth, Author and Speaker (Salt Lake City, UT):

"Every day, around 15,000 brave and honorable transgender men and women put on a uniform and selflessly work to defend our country and the ideals to which we hold. These are beloved children of God, who are known, seen, and valued without end. The President's decision to strip away their ability to serve not only undermines the value that we are all created equal, but it segregates trans people into a category that says they are less than, a burden, and a disruption. The Trump Administration should reverse course on this discriminatory policy, and faith leaders should decry this action immediately."

 

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