Building a Network of Faith Leaders to Challenge Anti-LGBT Views Is a Primary Goal of Summer Grant Cycle

June 15, 2017

Creating a response to conservative religious voices and anti-LGBT discrimination, with a particular focus on the continent of Africa, is the shared goal of several of the grants in Arcus’ summer 2017 portfolio.

Auburn Theological Seminary is working to build bridges between African and American faith leaders to protect vulnerable populations in the wake of the U.S.’s diminished role in defending LGBT rights and to jointly respond to the rise of conservative, anti-LGBT religious voices on the African continent. These faith leaders intend not only to promote civil and human rights, but also to mobilize pastors and congregations to promote positive religious and cultural changes.

Another organization using its funding to combat the religious right and promote religious tolerance and acceptance is Political Research Associates, which has developed an informal network of theologians, bishops, and other clergy to speak out against discrimination, violence, and homophobia. The grantee Reconciling Ministries Network, meanwhile, will be expanding efforts to win over religious leaders in Liberia and Cote D’Ivoire, as well as the southern United States, by advocating for LGBT issues.

The Fellowship Global will be using its grant to organize clergy and congregations in East and Central Africa, providing them with the resources they need to challenge faith-based discrimination and stop anti-gay violence. The Fellowship works in Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Cote D’Ivoire on LGBT advocacy and training, and aids religious teachers in the move toward a theology of radical inclusivity for all, without prejudice or discrimination.

Faith in Public Life and the Center for American Progress continue to educate the general public and policy-makers about how discriminatory religious exemptions negatively affect the LGBT community and other vulnerable groups. The Public Religion Research Institute will use its funding to continue its work in this area, where it has already scored a number of victories, including the successful blocking of a religious exemption law in Alabama.

Several grantees in this round will be targeting homophobic bullying and violence, including the New Venture Fund and the New York City Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project. The United We Dream Network advocates for the immigrant community, including LGBT persons, and will be using its grant to expand its defense infrastructure to protect individuals from deportation and hate crimes.

Also receiving grants in this cycle were: European Forum of Lesbian and Gay Christian Groups, Political Research Associates, The Inner Circle, Ruth Ellis Center, True Colors Fund, interACT, The TransLatin@ Coalition, the Transgender Resource Center of New Mexico, General Secretariat of the Organization of American States, ZANERELA+, Euroregional Center for Public Initiatives, Religious Institute, Religion Newswriters Foundation, Point Source Youth, Funders Together to End Homelessness, Astraea Foundation, Faces of Giving Projects, Tyler Clementi Foundation, Horizons Foundation, and the Mazzoni Center.