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Tools for Faith Leaders
For over four decades, religious leaders have worked to protect choice and to provide compassionate pastoral support to women and families facing difficult circumstances. Our leaders come from many faith traditions, but share the common call of striving for a world where every person and every family has the resources they need to be healthy and whole. This is what reproductive justice means.
Here are some tangible actions you can take to improve the sexual health and whole lives of people in your communities:
- Get trained on with RCRC’s “All Options and Reproductive Loss” counseling resources and provide pastoral counseling to women, families and clinic staff. Email us for more information.
- Deliver sermons that affirm the right of all people to access the rights and resources they need to live healthy lives and follow their conscience. RCRC is actively building up an archive of reproductive justice sermons. If you have a submission for our consideration, please share it with us.
- Make sure your congregants have health care coverage by preaching on the subject and organizing special events that help community members register for insurance.
- Provide free male and female condoms at your congregation.
- Escort patients into clinics. Provide “Peaceful Presence” outside clinics, and offer to be there for patients inside the clinic.
- Get engaged with your local school board and attend meetings when they discuss the school system’s sexuality education curriculum; voice your support – as a person of faith – for comprehensive, medically accurate sexuality education.
- Begin an HIV/AIDS ministry within your congregation.
- Begin a ministry for women and children in abusive circumstances; coordinate with local domestic violence shelters to provide emergency housing.
- Offer a sexuality education course or conversation with your congregation’s youth. Check out the Our Whole Lives Curriculum as a great resource.
- Make sure your congregation’s employment and membership standards include non-discrimination policies inclusive of race, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, pregnancy and marital status, immigration status, etc.
- Make sure your congregation’s youth educators, advisors and pastors have received the training necessary to foster safe and welcoming environments for LGBT and gender non-conforming youth.
- Write Op-Eds, Letters to the Editor and public statements for your local papers on matters of reproductive justice.
- Meet with elected officials regularly to communicate with them on issues of reproductive health and justice; make sure they know people of faith want women and families to have the resources and rights they need to make decisions according to their own values. For 501c3 guidelines on issue based or political speech, please see the resources created by our friends at Alliance for Justice.