In response to the horrific murders at Club Q last weekend, we write as people of faith and faith leaders in the Pikes Peak region. We write to urge an end to political, civic, and religious hate speech against the LGBTQIA2+ community. And in urgent and direct language, we affirm lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer members of our communities, unconditionally.
While we walk different spiritual paths, we are united in supporting each individual's human dignity and worth. We are united in believing that our LGBTQIA2+ siblings are beloved children of God. Each should feel safe and nurtured in the Pikes Peak region.
Therefore, we urge an end to political hate speech against the LGBTQIA2+ communities and their members. Hate speech dehumanizes our friends and neighbors. Dehumanization leads to violence. Our friends and neighbors deserve a safe space to be fully themselves. We have seen a spike in dehumanizing language from local and national elected officials, even from local school boards who make decisions that impact LGBTQIA2+ young persons. Such rhetoric has no place in our public square. Rather, we urge all citizens and every candidate for public office in Colorado to sign the Not in Our Town pledge to address hate and bullying and to create safe communities for all.
Further, we were glad to see Mayor John Suthers at the vigil at All Souls on Sunday, November 20. We urge the mayor to convene a summit of local officials in the city council, county commission, and regional school boards to address specific policies that will create a safe space for our LGBTQIA2+ members of the community.
Finally, we affirm in the strongest language the beauty, dignity, and worth of LGBTQIA2+ people. We believe each person is made in the divine image and of infinite worth. We are committed to building a Pikes Peak region where every person is safe, nurtured, and treasured.
And to the LGBTQIA2+ community: as leaders in a variety of faiths, despite our differences of belief and creed, each of us agrees that you are beloved–some would say God’s beloved. Some of us take comfort in the idea that God looked upon all of creation–in all of its diversity–and said a resounding: “It is good.” Others might use different language. But the idea remains: No matter how you identify, no matter which part of the LGBTQIA2+ spectrum you are part of, we believe you hold beauty, worth, and dignity. You strengthen our Pikes Peak region and we thank you for that.
What happened at Club Q on November 19 is an attack against our community and the values we all hold dear. We will not remain silent in the face of such an attack. It is an attack on you, and it is an attack on all of us. We stand with you. Know that we see you. We love you. And we will struggle to advocate for policies and conditions that increase safety for all of us.
The Reverend Jennifer Williamson, Grace and St Stephen’s Episcopal Church
Rev. Alycia Erickson (she/her), Pikes Peak Metropolitan Community Church
Rev. Patty Walker, (she/her) First United Methodist Church Prairie Campus
Rev. Lee Ann Bryce, Lead Minister, First Congregational Church, Colorado Springs.
Rev. Dan Schumacher, First Baptist Church of Colorado Springs
The Reverend Jeremiah Williamson, Grace and St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church
Pastor Jordan Farrell
Reverend Marta Fioriti, Pastor (She/Her) Black Forest Community Church, UCC
Reverend Roger Butts, (He/Him) Interim Minister, All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church
Intern Minister Intern Beth Elliot (she/her), All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church
Reverend Julia McKay, Unitarian Universalist Minister
Mike Martin, Executive Director RAWtools, Mennonite Minister
The Reverend Dr. Olive Hinnant, Interim Pastor, UCC Parker Hilltop
Rev. Anne Cubbage, Broadmoor Community Church, UCC
The Reverend Claire Elser, Grace and St Stephen's Episcopal Church
Associate Pastor Hannah Martin
Reverend Dr. David Goldberg, (He/Him)Senior Minister, Unity Spiritual Center
Reverend Dr. Ahriana Platten,(She/Her) Minister Emeritus, Unity Spiritual Center
Rev. Amy Zimbelman, Mennonite minister (Mennonite Church USA)
Rev. Amy Strader, First United Methodist Church Downtown Campus
Rev. Eric Strader, First United Methodist Church Downtown Campus
Rev. Kelsey Fauser (she/her), Grace Lutheran Church
Rev. Derf Bergman, Calvary United Methodist Church
Rev. Debra Wacker, Central United Methodist Church
Ray Hendershot, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Reverend Katie Suddeth, First Baptist Church of Colorado Springs
Rabbi Iah Pillsbury (she/they), Temple Beit Torah
Rev. Daniel Smith, Ascension Lutheran Church
Rev. Dr. Anthony L. D. Scott, Associate Conference Minister, Rocky Mountain Conference of the United Church of Christ
The Rt. Rev. Kym Lucas, Bishop, The Episcopal Diocese of Colorado
The Rev. Carlton E. Smith (he/him), Lead - Pacific Western Region, Unitarian Universalist Association
The Rev. Sarah Movius Schurr, Pacific Western Region of the Unitarian Universalist Association
The Rev. Summer Albayati, Pacific Western Region of the Unitarian Universalist Association
The Rev. Kris Lewis, Deacon, Grace and St Stephen’s Episcopal Church
Rev. David M. Petty, St. Paul’s United Methodist Church, Colorado Springs
Rev. Mike Cole, Faith Presbyterian Church, Colorado Springs
Rabbi Jay Sherwood, Temple Shalom
Rev. Matt Holcombe, Rector, St Michael's Episcopal Church
Rev. Angela Lerena, Associate Rector, St. Michael's Episcopal Church
Rev. Dr. Joanne Sanders, St. Michael’s Episcopal Church
Rev. Gary Darres, Deacon, St. Michael's Episcopal Church.
Rev. Dr. Shelly Wilson, United Church of Christ
David Gardiner, PhD, Director, BodhiMind Center
Rev. Paula M Stecker, Christ the King Lutheran Church
The Rev. B.Darlene Avery, Church in the Wildwood UCC, Green Mountain Falls, CO
Elder Jandy Barentine, Pastor, Community of Christ, Colorado Springs
Rev. Logan Bennett, La Foret Conference & Retreat Center
Sensei Andrew Palmer, The Open Source, Pacific Zen School
Rev. Mallory Everhart, MDiv (she/her/hers), Pastor, Vista Grande Community Church-United Church of Christ
Rev. Kate Holbrook (she/her), Interfaith Chaplain
Candace Woods, (she/her), MDiv
Rev. Bruce Coriell (he/him)
Rev. Lisa Nelson (she/her)
Editor's note: Letters to the editor have not been edited nor fact-checked.