OPEN LETTER FROM LOUISIANA CLERGY OPPOSING TRANS DISCRIMINATION BY OUR STATE LEGISLATURE
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To Members of the Louisiana Legislature:

As clergy representing faith traditions and communities across Louisiana, we are writing to express our opposition to Senate Bill 156 and to urge you to uphold Governor Edward's veto of that bill.

Our sacred texts teach us how we should behave toward one another -- that we must love one another as we love ourselves, that we must protect the vulnerable in our society, that we must recognize God’s image in everyone.

The Bible has special words of instruction about impulses toward cruelty. Among them is a teaching about the nation of Amalek, the greatest enemy of the Israelites precisely because the Amalekite soldiers attacked from the rear, accosting the famished and the weary in the midst of a brave and perilous journey. It was this opportunism that revealed the hardness of their hearts, and neither God nor the people forgot.

Senate Bill 156, the so-called “Fairness in Women’s Sports Act,” is our legislature’s version of an Amalekite attack. The bill is full of cowardice and meanness and does nothing to make our shared society better. It is cynical and frivolous, seeking to extract political advantage by playing upon people’s prejudices and fears. Worse than its lack of utility in addressing any actual problem in Louisiana, the bill is cruel.

Senate Bill 156 targets those least able to defend themselves -- trans children, who are among the most vulnerable young people in our society, the most likely to be depressed, commit suicide and be victimized by peers. These children of God deserve our support and love and affirmation as they grow into adults, not our ridicule and scorn.

For these reasons we applaud Governor Edwards’ veto of Senate Bill 156, and we pray that legislators, especially those guided by their faiths, will vote to uphold the veto. It would be unconscionable, in light of all the urgent issues facing the people of Louisiana, to devote any more precious time and energy to what is essentially a political ploy, happening at the expense of children.

Let us come together instead to ensure that Louisiana’s children have food, shelter, education and love -- the things mandated by the tenets of all our faiths and the only foundation upon which it will prove possible to build a stronger, more prosperous State.

Sincerely,
Rabbi Katie Bauman, Senior Rabbi, Touro Synagogue, New Orleans (Jewish)
Rev. Dr. John Henson, Church for the Highlands, Shreveport (Baptist)
Rev. Gregory C. Mills, Sr., Pastor, Starlight Baptist Church, Alexandria (Baptist)
Rev Fred Jeff Smith, Baton Rouge (Baptist)
Rev. Karli D. Pidgeon, Lake Charles District Superintendent (United Methodist)
The Rev. Dr. Bette J. Kauffman, Monroe (Episcopal)
Bishop Michael Rinehart, Southern Louisiana (Lutheran)
The Rt. Rev Morris K Thompson, Episcopal Bishop (Episcopal)
Rev Jay Hogewood, PhD, Rayne Memorial UMC, New Orleans (United Methodist)
Rev. Dr. Willie Gable Jr., Progressive Baptist Church, New Orleans (Baptist)
Rev. Marissa Horvath, New Orleans (United Methodist)
Rev. Elizabeth M. Lott, Pastor, The St. Charles Ave. Baptist Church, New Orleans (Baptist)
Rev. Sarah Chancellor-Watson, Associate Pastor, New Orleans (Presbyterian)
Cantor Kevin A. Margolius, New Orleans (Jewish)
Dr. J. C. Richardson, Cornerstone United Methodist Church, New Orleans (United Methodist)
Rev. Benjamin Groth, Bethlehem Lutheran Church, New Orleans (Lutheran)
Rebecca Meriwether, Board President, St. Charles Center for Faith+Action (Baptist)
Rev. Jane-Allison Wiggin, New Orleans (Episcopal)
Rev. Denise Graves, New Orleans
Rev. Nathan Ryan, Unitarian Church of Baton Rouge, Baton Rouge (Unitarian Universalist)
The Reverend Bobby Hadzor, New Orleans (Episcopal)
Rev Zoë Garry, NOLA Wesley Campus Ministry, New Orleans (United Methodist)
Rev. Daniel Vanek, Hammond (Presbyterian)
Rev Benjamin J Nobles, New Orleans (Episcopal)
Rev Barbara Jarrell, Shreveport (Unitarian Universalist)
Rev. Chris Andrews, Jubilee Pioneers, Baton Rouge
The Rev'd Don Brown, New Roads (Episcopal)
The Reverend Melanie Morel-Ensminger, New Orleans (Unitarian Universalist)
Rabbi David Gerber, Congregation Gates of Prayer, Metairie (Jewish)
Rev. James R Morrison, New Orleans (Episcopal)
Rev. Jo Cooper, Gretna (United Methodist)
Rev Lisa Baumgartner (United Methodist)
Rev. Linda Baker, Elm Grove (Christian Methodist Episcopal)
The Rev. Sandra Barnes, Chalmette (Lutheran)
Pastor Lee A. Jeter, Sr., Bossier City (Baptist)
Rev. Ed Cooper, New Orleans (United Methodist)
Rev. Claire Helton, Monroe (Baptist)
Rev. Robert Gnuse, New Orleans (Catholic)
Rev Tom Howe, Baton Rouge (United Methodist)
Alison McCrary, New Orleans (Catholic)
The Rev. Canon John Bedingfield, Alexandria (Episcopal)
Rev. Rob Courtney, New Orleans (Episcopal)
Brother Christopher Markert, Order of Lutheran Franciscans (Lutheran)
Rev. Katie McKay Simpson, Baton Rouge (United Methodist)
Father R Christopher Heying, Simsboro (Episcopal)
The Rev. Deacon Elaine Gant Clements (Episcopal)
The Very Rev William H. Terry, Saint Anna's Episcopal Church, New Orleans (Episcopal)
Rev. Mamie Broadhurst, Baton Rouge (Presbyterian)
Rev. Todd LaGrange, Metairie (Lutheran)
The Very Rev. Tommy Dillon, St Margaret's Episcopal Church, Baton Rouge (Episcopal)
Rabbi Lexi Erdheim, Metairie, LA (Jewish)
Rev. Charlene Heaton, Retired Presbyterian USA Minister, Baton Rouge (Presbyterian)
Rev. Dr. Marc Boswell, Shreveport (Baptisat)
Rev. Colleen Bookter, New Orleans (United Methodist)
Rev. Dr. Tom Dolph, Lafayette (United Methodist)
Rabbi Cantor Raina Siroty, The Jewish Temple, Alexandria (Jewish)
Rev. Alexis Anderson, Baton Rouge
Rev. Kathleen Crighton, First Presbyterian Church of New Orleans (Presbyterian)
Rev. Martha Canizales, La Place (United Methodist)
Rev. Joseph M Clavijo, New Orleans (Episcopal)
Rev. Jessica Lowe, Lafayette (United Methodist)
Fr. Mark Watson, Shreveport (Catholic)
Laurence M. Hamric, J.D., M.Div., New Orleans
Rev. Eric Posa, Unitarian Church of Baton Rouge (Unitarian Universalist)
Rabbi Sydni Rubinstein, Shreveport (Jewish)
Rabbi Feivel Rubinstein, Shreveport (Jewish)
The Rev. Mary B. Richard, Shreveport (Episcopal)
Rabbi Edward Paul Cohn, New Orleans (Jewish)
Rev. Nancy L. Andrews, Baton Rouge (Lutheran)
Rev. K C Roberson, Baton Rouge (United Methodist)
Rev. Jim VanderWeele, Baton Rouge (Unitarian Universalist)
Rabbi Todd Silverman, New Orleans (Jewish)
Rev. Philip K. Brockett, New Orleans (United Church of Christ)
The Very Rev. Ronald Clingenpeel, New Orleans (Episcopal)
Rev. Margaret Ayers, Shreveport (Episcopal)
Rev. T. Keith Abramowski, Slidell (Presbyterian)
Susan K. Caldwell, Director of Religious Education, All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church of Shreveport (Unitarian Universalist)
Bishop Iram Chedikah, Evening Star Missionary Baptist Church, New Orleans (Baptist)
Rev. Fred Devall, Metairie (Episcopal)
Rev. Patti Snyder, Baton Rouge (Presbyterian)
Reverend Richard W. Pitcher D.Min, LPC, Baton Rouge (Presbyterian)
Rev. Laura Stephenson, Kenner (Lutheran)
Rabbi Daniel Sherman, Temple Sinai, New Orleans (Jewish)
The Rev. Skully Knight, Baton Rouge (Episcopal)
Kathy E. Smith, CRE, Director of Family Ministries, Unitarian Church of Baton Rouge (Unitarian Universalist)
Pastor Bruce Carroll, Shreveport (Baptist)
The Very Reverend David Allard duPlantier, New Orleans (Episcopal)
Fr. Richard R. Andrus, Jr, SVD M.Div, Lafayette (Catholic)
Rev. Jacqueline Luck, Community Church Unitarian Universalist, New Orleans (Unitarian Universalist)
Rev. Jean Sanders, retired clergy, Alexandria (United Methodist)
Rev. Zach Sasser, Lafayette (Presbyterian)
Rev. Dr. Kimberly Rodrigue, New Orleans (Presbyterian)
The Rev. Watson Lamb, New Orleans (Episcopal)
Rev. Lane Cotton Winn, Baton Rouge (United Methodist)
The Rev. Dr. JoAnn Garma, Metairie (Episcoopal)
Rev Ann M Philbrick, New Orleans (Presbyterian)
The Reverend Garrett Boyte, Holy Cross Episcopal Church, Shreveport (Episcopal)

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