(Background: The Denver Post obtained a document from the Archdiocese of Denver, in which Catholic schools were instructed to not admit transgender students, and to treat same-sex parents of students differently than heterosexual parents of students. In response, the Interfaith Alliance of Colorado released the following statement from Executive Director Shara Smith. 9News also republished this statement, which you can view here.)
The Interfaith Alliance of Colorado has a history of working very closely with our Catholic friends on issues pertaining to the death penalty, mass incarceration, and homelessness, among other issues. We were nonetheless very disappointed to hear about the Denver Archdiocese’s guidance to Catholic schools encouraging them to not enroll transgender students, as well as its position that “a Catholic school cannot treat a same-sex couple as a family equivalent to the natural family.”
As an organization that promotes faith and freedom, we are staunch protectors of the rights of faith communities to practice their faith traditions without being discriminated against for their beliefs. It is specifically because of this that we are deeply concerned and saddened by any effort to discriminate against LGBTQIA+ individuals.
Religious trauma is an ever-present reality for many faithful Coloradans who continue showing up with sincerity, only to find out that they are unwelcome by their own faith families – not because of a lack of faith, but simply for being different. We sincerely pray for the health and well-being of those families on the receiving end of these kinds of policies and maintain hope that our faith can be the force that brings us together rather than something that drives us apart.
We walk a fine line as an interfaith organization with roughly two dozen faith traditions represented in our network. This effort by the Denver Archdiocese proves that as an organization, Interfaith’s work is more important than ever. We encourage the faithful to lead with love and acceptance, as well as to continue speaking up in favor of faith as a force for good in Colorado.