August 31, 2011
The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) is praising Sojourners for passing its test. GLAAD sponsored an advertisement for the Ali Forney Center, a homeless shelter that aids lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) youth. The advertisement was, in part, a test of whether Sojourners would print an ad sponsored by a group like GLAAD.
In May, Sojourners declined to place an advertisement for Believe Out Loud, an organization that advocates for greater acceptance of LGBT individuals by churches. The video ad featured two women with a child entering a church where they were not welcomed by parishioners.
GLAAD's director of religion, faith, and values Ross Murray approached Sojourners after the Believe Out Loud decision. GLAAD asked if the magazine would be opposed to advertisements by LGBT organizations who focus on one of Sojourners areas of focus and the organization agreed, according to Murray.
Sojourners president Jim Wallis said the magazine declined the Believe Out Loud ad because it did not address one of Sojourners core issues (e.g., poverty or homelessness). Expanding the scope of the social justice mission of the magazine to include LGBT rights was not feasible, Wallis said, because of a lack of consensus on the issue and limited resources.
“Instead, we have taken this opportunity to affirm our commitment to civil rights for gay and lesbian people, and to the call of churches to be loving and welcoming to all people, and promote good and healthy dialogue,” Walis said. “It is our hope that differing viewpoints are not silenced, but are lifted up in a display of Christian, and often interfaith, sisterhood and brotherhood. It is for this reason that we wish to engage first and we typically do not display advertising relating to issues amongst people of faith that have unfortunately, and too often, been reduced to political wedge issues.”