In America the campaign season for the next presidential elections is well underway, with the party conventions being held this month. That might be a time for big glitzy campaigning, but the election will be decided one vote at a time and every vote counts.
That grass roots activism is what we need in the UK. We cannot wait until our leaders are ready to make things better for LGBTQ+ people of faith, we have to act and act now. We need to step up our commitment to campaigning. We do not vote for our religious leaders in the same way that the Americans vote for theirs, but we have a voice and it is time to speak. Silence will continue the oppression we experience.
One of the realities in the UK is that senior Church of England bishops sit in the House of Lords. These unelected bishops have a place in our government. So we all have a right to hold them accountable to us, whether we are Church of England or not, whether we are Christian or not, whether we are people of faith or not.
The Church of England is an establishment where coming out as gay, or even worse, having a same sex partner means that your path to promotion is blocked. But blocked very quietly, with no transparency and no accountability.
Grassroots activism starts with the simple premise of ‘never shut up’. There are many in faith leadership who would like to sweep LGBTQ people of faith under the carpet – out of sight, out of mind. But we need to just sweep ourselves out from under the carpet, and anything else we find under there! We need to keep putting our concerns back onto their desks and their inboxes.
So here is a list of the publicly available contact addresses for Church of England bishops.
The Church of England is the established church in this country, so what the Church of England does is relevant to all of us. Their lack of inclusion and affirmation for LGBTQ+ people of faith drives many of us from the church. It is time to make our voices heard. Say it, say it again and keep saying it. God is listening, but the church is not – yet!