Sharpton in ATL for gay-friendly church effort

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imageRev. Al Sharpton is back in Atlanta today to help launch a new religious effort that wants to bring together gay-friendly churches.

Sharpton headlines the First Annual Human Rights Ecumenical Service at Tabernacle Baptist Church, the kick-off of the Alliance of Affirming Faith-Based Organizations. Sharpton, long a proponent of full marriage equality for gay men and lesbians, will be joined at the service by Rev. D.A. Meredith, the church’s bisexual pastor and director of the alliance, and Shelia Merritt, president of the Atlanta Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce.

The service begins at 5 p.m. at the church on Boulevard in the Old Fourth Ward.

“This service launches a much-needed, nation-wide, and distinctive faith-based alliance purposed to advocate and influence public policy for the human and civil rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community,” Meredith wrote in a December letter about the service.

The alliance has a three-part platform that includes civil, social and spiritual issues. (Read the platform.)

“There are a lot of churches who are affirming, but they aren’t out front about it,” Meredith says. “We’ve always been very affirming, but [some other churches say], ‘If you’re GLBT you can come to my church but you can’t be a big part of it,’ and they don’t take any political action.”

Another alliance goal is to erase discrimination within the gay community.

“In my church we have everyone, straight, gay, we have a transgender ministry, and we all work together,” Meredith says. “If I can do that here in my church with the message of God’s love then we can do that across the nation.”

Read more about the alliance in a Southern Voice article.


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