FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 21, 2022
MEDIA CONTACT: Manisha Sunil, West End Strategy Team
email@example.com; (202) 417-0171
Colorado Springs Shooting “Part of a Greater Machinery of Hate,” Says National Faith Leader
Rev. Paul Brandeis Raushenbush, president of Interfaith Alliance, spoke from his position as a Baptist minister and gay man
WASHINGTON—Faith leaders across the country are mourning the loss of life in the attack on LGBTQ+ safe haven Club Q in Colorado Springs, and reaffirming the religious responsibility to protect our LGBTQ+ siblings. Contrary to common narratives, protections for LGBTQ+ Americans are widely supported by majorities of every major faith group.
Rev. Paul Brandeis Raushenbush, president and CEO of Interfaith Alliance, a national organization championing an inclusive vision of religious freedom, called the attack “part of a greater machinery of hate” and sounded the alarm on rising threats to LGBTQ+ people and their families, speaking as both a Baptist minister and a gay man and father. Additionally, state affiliate Interfaith Alliance of Colorado will be co-hosting a vigil on November 21 at 7:00 p.m. MT at ReelWorks Denver, featuring clergy members from multiple faith communities.
“My heart is with the Colorado Springs community. While the motive is not yet public, we can’t ignore that this shooting occurred as violence against LGBTQ+ people becomes normalized and even encouraged by the far-right. From demonizing trans people for daring to exist in public to erasing any mention of LGBTQ+ identity from public schools, these extremists are encouraging people to invade LGBTQ+ spaces, fueled by conspiracy theories and lies.
“As a Baptist minister, I can say that this violence is the highest sin. The rhetoric used by far-right politicians, media personalities, and their supporters that villainizes people who choose to live, love, and believe differently than they do is a sin. Attacks like this do not occur in a vacuum – they are part of a greater machinery of hate that has been allowed to fester.
“Just last week, Interfaith Alliance and our allies met with senators on the fence about same-sex marriage to convince them to support the Respect For Marriage Act. Surrounded by diverse allies, I felt that justice, while slow, would come for our community. I am still hopeful, but my reservoir of patience is dried up. I am furious that I am forced to beg for basic rights like loving whomever I choose and feeling safe in public spaces.
“This attack also forces us once again to reckon with the scourge of gun violence that continues to kill thousands of people in this country every year. Our constitution guarantees each of us life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness – none of which is possible if we are forced to live in constant fear of gun violence, whether in our houses of worship, in places of celebration, in grocery stores, in schools – the list goes on. Bigotry on its own is dangerous – bigotry with unrestricted access to firearms is deadly.
“I first heard of the attack on Club Q as I prayed the Lord’s Prayer in church with my children. I thought about speaking out during the prayers, but chose to stay silent and prayed quietly for those impacted. My kids are young and still don’t know that some people hate our family for who we are, and I did not want them to learn today. As people of faith, we have a responsibility to speak out against hate. All of us, regardless of who we are and who we love, deserve to live free from violence and discrimination.”
The shooting notably took place right before Transgender Day of Rememberance, November 20. This week on State of Belief, Interfaith Alliance’s weekly radio show and podcast, Rev. Raushenbush spoke with Rev. Nicole Garcia, faith director at the National LGBTQ Task Force, on the significance of this commemoration as attacks against the trans community intensify. That conversation, which was recorded before the attack, can be found here.
If you are interested in speaking with senior Interfaith Alliance representatives, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or (202) 417-0171.
Interfaith Alliance celebrates religious freedom by championing individual rights, promoting policies that protect both religion and democracy, and uniting diverse voices to challenge extremism. Founded in 1994, Interfaith Alliance brings together members from 75 faith traditions as well as those without a faith tradition to protect faith and freedom. For more information visit www.interfaithalliance.org.