Capital Pride Hosts Interfaith Service

Event brings together LGBT-affirming faith groups, and Dr. Dana Beyer as guest speaker

Even in the midst of chaos and activity, there’s always time for quiet reflection. So, too, amid a flurry of Pride activities, is there an opportunity to celebrate spiritual life.

The annual Capital Pride Interfaith Worship Service, June 5, brings together nearly 20 LGBT-affirming faith groups, says organizer Allan Armus of the Celebration of the Spirit Coalition, a collection of faith communities comprised of LGBT individuals who practice their spirituality openly.

The event, featuring a performance by the Rock Creek Singers, a select chamber ensemble of the Gay Men’s Chorus of Washington, is designed like a traditional religious service, with readings, hymns and prayers, each performed performed by members representing various coalition members. The theme follows Capital Pride’s ”Be True. Be You!”

Armus says the service is meant to bring together different faith groups to focus on the commonalities between them and to expose other LGBT people to communities where they can celebrate and express both their spiritual side, and their sexual orientation or gender identity.

”If anyone claims that being religious is antithetical to being LGBT, we’re living proof that it’s not,” Armus says. ”Our detractors don’t speak for all faiths.”

Armus also says that as Americans, LGBT people in this country are entitled to their own beliefs and worship traditions, just as religious anti-gay people are.

”The people who want to impose their beliefs upon other people are the ones who are anti-American,” he says. ”They’re the ayatollahs.”

The guest speaker for the service will be Dr. Dana Beyer. Beyer, a prominent D.C.-area transgender activist, says she attends the event every year and considers it the kickoff to Capital Pride.

Beyer, who is Jewish, says the point of the service is that belonging to a particular denomination isn’t necessary to have moral values or beliefs. She points out that some people, including herself, may be more spiritual than religious.

”It’s an opportunity for people whose faith is important, a chance for them to celebrate,” she says of the interfaith service.

From her own perspective, Beyer says she can talk about how Jewish religious values have lessons for the broader community, or can teach moral principles about fundamental human issues – something LGBT people of one faith have in common with those of other faiths.

”At our core, we’re all the same,” she says.

The Capital Pride Interfaith Service is Tuesday, June 5, at 7:30 p.m. at Luther Place Memorial Church, 1226 Vermont Ave. NW. capitalpride.org.

John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at jriley@metroweekly.com

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