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Churches Kick Off Ally Week and Look Ahead to #SpiritDay

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Spirit Day isn’t until this Friday, but many churches used their weekend worship to kick off Ally Week, leading up to Spirit Day. Last Sunday, GLAAD challenged participants to ask their place of worship to go purple. So far, over 50 religious organizations and congregations have signed on to participate in Spirit Day, and many got the ball rolling over the weekend.  

The Church of St. Francis Xavier in New York City really got into the spirit of Spirit Day. Worshippers were given a purple ribbon when they entered. They were also given a bulletin that included a Spirit Day bulletin insert (provided from the Spirit Day Faith Page, along with other great ideas. The priests also gave an announcement about Spirit Day from the pulpit and even included a prayer for the protection for bullied teens and for the success of GLAAD's Spirit Day effort in the prayer section of the mass.

Purple ribbons were also being handed out on the other side of the country. On Saturday, Freedom In Christ Church of San Francisco hosted a screening of "Right to Love: An American Family" at the San Francisco LGBT Center.   The film features the Leffew Family. Bryan and Jay are a gay couple who adopted two children, Daniel and Selena.  Viewers get to see inside the real lives of a family with two dads and their struggle for equality. During the reception The Evangelical Network and the Bay Area Youth Summit handed out free purple ribbons and educate attendees about Spirit Day.

Fr. James Martin, the “Chaplain to the Colbert Report” who recently tweeted his support for Sprit Day, has written an editorial in the Jesuit publication, America Magazine. In his editorial, Fr. Martin encourages Catholics to participate in Spirit Day, even if the Catholic hierarchy opposes marriage equality. He points them to a Catholic-specific site that is collaborating with GLAAD to promote Catholic participation in Spirit Day.

Many gay and lesbian Catholics have told me (in person, in emails, in notes and letters and in Facebook messages) how alienated they have felt from the church lately.  Perhaps as a result of some of the rhetoric that has been used recently, an increasing number of gay and lesbian Catholics, and gay and lesbian youth in particular, feel marginalized from the church in which they were baptized.

So why not do something simple to show compassion for our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters, especially those who are bullied or who have even attempted suicide? Purple is Lenten color, the color of remorse, and so it is particularly appropriate as a sign of remorse against any LBGT hate speech.  Why do something small to show your love of neighbor?  For you shall love your LGBT neighbor as yourself.

Spirit Day isn’t until this Friday, so there is still time for your place of worship to participate. Here's how we need you to help:

  1.  Share info about Spirit Day with your social media friends and followers, using info from http://glaad.org/spiritday
  2. Ask your church to turn its congregation’s Facebook and Twitter profile photos purple using GLAAD's free tool here: http://glaad.org/spiritday
  3. Encourage your church's staff and members to wear purple this Friday, 10/19 and send a photo to GLAAD at http://glaad.org/spiritday/tellus or post photos to Twitter and Instagram using hashtag #SpiritDay

By going purple for Spirit Day, your congregation is helping to send a powerful message of support to young people across the country. Join millions of people in wearing purple to stand in solidarity with LGBT youth and oppose bullying. 

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