By Malissa Rogers
The Presidential Inaugural Committee has included a gay pastor in the inauguration activities this year and has appointed her to speak in the interfaith prayer service.
Openly gay Reverend Nancy Wilson of the Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC), a denomination with a specific outreach to LGBT communities, will participate in the interfaith prayer service at the National Cathedral on Tuesday, according to GLADD.
“When I stand in the presence of President Barack Obama and Vice President Joseph Biden to read the Hebrew Bible under the soaring arches of the National Cathedral on Tuesday, I will be exalting,” Wilson said. “This exaltation is not for myself, but for the millions of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people who have longed for a safe place to call home.”
The MCC was founded in 1968, a year before the New York Stonewall riots, by Rev. Troy Perry in an attempt to provide a safe-haven for the LGBT community. The first worship service was held in Perry’s living room, where he delivered his sermon to twelve other individuals in the room with him. Today, the MCC has grown and has more than 300 congregations within 22 countries.
“Forty-five years ago, we were founded by the Rev. Troy Perry and a handful of LGBT people. Today, we are more diverse than ever,” Wilson said. “Straight families join our church to ensure their children will grow up in a church that is safe for all of God’s diverse children. Members come from all traditions and worship together. We are the most ecumenical faith tradition anywhere.”
Wilson is not the only LGBT-friendly faith leader who was scheduled to partake in the inauguration activities this week. Episcopal priest Rev. Luis Leon, an LGBT ally, was chosen to deliver the benediction at President Obama’s inauguration ceremony on Monday. Leon was named the replacement for Rev. Louie Giglio, who stepped down from the role after being criticized for his anti-gay sermons in the 1990s.
President Obama’s second inauguration also included the country’s first openly gay marching band, the Lesbian and Gay Band Association, who performed in the inaugural parade on Monday, as well as Richard Blanco, the first LGBT poet to write and deliver the inaugural poem.
Reverend Wilson has vowed to remember those in the LGBT community, who are persecuted for their sexual orientation throughout the world, while participating in the prayer service Tuesday. She went on to say that she hopes religious leaders everywhere will “stand up and speak out for the diversity of all God’s children,” according to Believe Out Loud.
“As I read the Hebrew Bible, I will remember President Obama trusted God and risked everything when he affirmed marriage equality for loving same-gender couples,” Wilson said. “Christians across this country and this world must risk something in order to save lives. LGBT people are among those who need safe homes, safe churches, and safe countries. Let peace begin with me; let this be the moment.”