Saturday, October 20, 2007

Religious Freedom to Marry Appeal

Though this appeal is being made to the Pagan community, and is a wonderful chance for us to come together and show our values on the subject of GLBT equality, I would also like to encourage Quaker readers who support this cause to read Maureen's letter carefully. There's no reason that words like "religious", "spiritual", and "faith" should become the province of people who equate their own bigotry with the will of God(s. The Religious Coalition for the Freedom to Marry, whose activism was key in gaining recognition for same sex marriage in Massachusetts, will happily work for the inclusive spiritual insights of both my faith communities.

I still remember my tears of joy on the day that same sex marriage became legal in my home state... It was a time of many challenges for me personally, but that moment has become one of my touchstone moments. My own marriage has been a source of such wonder and depth in my life, that it breaks my heart to think of others who are arbitrarily denied it in other states. And something in me is healed, likewise, when I see how deeply concerned so many of us are to show our support--our religiously convicted support--for same sex couples' rights.

I feel great pride that my coven, my Quaker meeting, and my local council of the Covenant of the Goddess are all signatories to the declaration of religious support for the freedom of same sex couples to marry--and deep gratitude to all people of faith, everywhere, working to recognize human dignity and freedom on this basic issue.

Let's show the world what loving spirits can do...

Credit card donations can be made online at the RCFM website, and you may leave the note "Pagan Contribution" in the comments field, if you wish. (An address for checks appears below.)

Rev. Maureen Redddington-Wilde
Church of the Sacred Earth : A Union of Pagan Congregations
Board Member, Religious Coalition for the Freedom to Marry

20 October, 2007

Dear Friends,

For the past ten years, I have served on the Steering Committee, now Board, of the Religious Coalition for the Freedom to Marry. During this time, the RCFM has frequently turned to various faith organizations for significant donations to keep us running. Since Pagan organizations are so decentralized, I have not hitherto tried to raise funds from us.

However this is a good time to try. The struggle to keep equal marriage legal here in Massachusetts is pretty well finished after the end of the Constitutional Convention this past June. However, the struggle still continues on in the rest of the country. The RCFM has a lot of experience and help that we can contribute.

The RCFM Board has just concluded an all-day retreat to re-vision our mission as we proceed forward from here. As of January 1st, we will return to being an all-volunteer organization. This is a good time personally for the people who are our current paid staff to step down and a good time for an organizational shift.

We have a major project to be completed by March 1st -- the creation of a How-To manual, documenting what we have accomplished over the past ten years and how we did it. This resource will be made available on the web to help other states in their organizing efforts. National and state leaders have been requesting and are awaiting this manual. The RCFM is awaiting word on a grant proposal we submitted to cover the costs involved in this project.

Meanwhile, we still need to raise $10,000 to cover our operating expenses and salaries for our Executive Director and Office Assistant through the end of 2007. In addition to helping us prepare for a number of victory celebrations in the months to come for the RCFM and MassEqulity, our staff will be preparing all the initial work for the manual during this time before handing on the framework and computer set-up for it to the volunteer committee.

Please give generously. We have accomplished an amazing victory for civil rights and freedom of religion here in Massachusetts. But this is only one state, and we must share our knowledge and experience with the rest of the country so that the rights we enjoy here can be expanded to everyone.

The RCFM is a 501(c)(3) organization, and all donations are tax-deductible. After ten years of my own work with the RCFM, it will mean very much to me personally to have an outpouring of support from the Pagan community so that we can share our success across the country.

At Samhain and other Pagan gatherings this month and into the start of November, please ask the people who gather together to donate to the best of their ability. If ten people contribute $20 each, that's $200. If ten groups do this, that's $2,000. Please, ask people to contribute $20 if they can. Lesser amounts are gratefully accepted, larger amounts are quite welcome. If you can afford a $100 or $200 donation, please consider doing so.

Make checks payable to: Religious Coalition for the Freedom to Marry. In the Memo line, please note: "Pagan Contribution". Send to:
The Religious Coalition for the Freedom to Marry
11 Beacon St. Suite 1125
Boston, MA 02108

Donations can also be made online with a credit card at RCFM.org.
If you contribute online, in the Comments field, please note: "Pagan Contribution".

Thank you very much. Love & Blessings,
Rev. Maureen Reddington-Wilde

4 comments:

- sm said...

Cat -- May I post to Musings of a Quaker Witch? (Or would you prefer I just reference?) Thanks. In Friendship, Blessed be, Stasa

Cat Chapin-Bishop said...

Hi, Stasa,
By all means, pass it on! Do keep the links to the RCFM pages, so your readers can find out the details (obviously).

But Maureen's letter was a press-release to the Pagan community...and my own work is Creative Commons, so as long as you give an attribution and link, you're free to use it.

:)

Yvonne said...

I still remember my tears of joy on the day that same sex marriage became legal in my home state.

Same here, when it became legal in the UK and in Germany and elsewhere in Europe. I also had the privilege of attending a civil partnership ceremony, which made me cry tears of joy.

Sharla said...

Dear Maureen, I have not seen you in person now for two years and our visit in 2005 as always was way too short. Still, as you'll no doubt remember I've lived through many of your on-going changes over the years as well as Support Groups and one thing for sure you certainly have contributed strongly to the realties of same-sex marriage; Funny thing I thought I might see same sex marriage legal here in California and yes, you can't blame the Mayor for trying but you can't get anywhere without the legislature. So hope to have better news with regards to this in futuretime. In the meantime, thanks for all the great works you are doing w/regards to the Right to Marry in Massachusetts and beyond. You will always be loved and remembered for all of you both then and now. I love you Maureen - Love and Hugs, Sharla.

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