April 26, 2016
Honorable Phil Bryant, Governor
State of Mississippi
P.O. Box 139
Jackson, MS 32905
Dear Governor Bryant:
Given the history and tradition of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), we write to express our concern that HB 1523 was passed into law.
In the Great River Region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), a region inclusive of Arkansas, Mississippi, and Louisiana, the value for freedom goes hand in hand with respect for diversity. We follow Jesus, who sat at a table with people from all walks of life and loved them all. Our members are of different races and ethnicities, ages, gender identities and sexual orientations – and we seek to welcome each and every one despite our differences. We celebrate what we have in common: We love Jesus and seek to follow him.
One member of our Regional Board, a quiet African American woman from Mississippi, shared a bit of the discrimination she has experienced. It’s not a pretty story, and we have an enormous respect for her quiet strength and her down-to-earth attitude. She shared that her congregation, which is predominantly African-American, has several same-sex couples as members. They are valued as children of God with gifts of grace, just like every other believer.
The gospel of Jesus Christ is a call and commitment to look within ourselves, to confess our own separation from God, and to open ourselves to God’s presence. We are no more or less worthy than the next person, whether we are black or white, male or female, gay or straight.
And lastly, the call to follow the way of Jesus Christ is an intensely personal call to open ourselves to transformation. The “good news” is that “we are transformed by God’s love.” This call is constant; it never goes away, regardless of what we do. The door is always open to us, but we can only respond in the present moment. We can’t schedule it for the future; we can’t rely on having responded sometime in the past. We are called to respond in every moment that is the present moment.
It is therefore in the spirit of love that we write to you to express our concern that HP 1523 will be used in an unloving way to enable discrimination.
Rev. Dr. David Britt Rev. Dr. Nadine Burton
Acting Moderator Interim Executive Regional Minister