The Message is Clear: Get to know us before making laws against us.
The Evangelical Network (TEN), an association of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and straight Christians held its annual conference this year in Indianapolis, culminating in a march and prayer vigil held at the steps of the Indiana Statehouse.
LGBT and Straight evangelical Christians from across the U.S. and Canada marched from the Marriott Hotel downtown Indianapolis to the Indiana Statehouse. The march was in response to the Stateʼs Religious Freedom Restoration Act that would allow business owners the right to refuse services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender people if they felt doing so would conflict with their religious beliefs.
The law was later amended stating that it would not authorize the discrimination based on religious beliefs, however the amended version is confusing. In only eleven Indiana cities are LGBT people considered a protected class.
“We are Evangelical Christians and we happen to be lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and even straight,” said Todd Ferrel, President of the organization.
“We believe in the same God, in the same Jesus as many of the Indiana lawmakers who passed RFRA. Would you sit down and talk with us as real people? We are not here to hurt you or anyone. If you got to know us, you might find that you like us.” Ferrell concluded.
Faith leaders from across the country and locally, spoke about the need to stop the fear speech about people of different sexual orientations and gender identities, noting that churches are not in danger and the state is not in danger.
The message was an invitation to lawmakers: “Letʼs just talk.”
During the demonstration Ferrell held an olive branch that is known universally as a gesture of peace, reconciliation, and goodwill.
Before concluding Ferrell placed the olive branch on the Statehouse steps as an invitation to Indiana lawmakers to talk and get to know LGBT evangelicals and other types of Christians as unique, respectable, individuals who share many of their same beliefs.