Nearly 400 people opposed to North Carolina’s House Bill 2 packed Myers Park Baptist Church on Sunday night to sing, pray, light candles, listen to a rousing sermon and contribute money to support the legal battle to throw out the controversial law.
The interfaith event was organized by about 40 liberal clergy who have decried the N.C. General Assembly decision to override a Charlotte city ordinance that would have extended anti-discrimination protections to the LGBT community and would have allowed transgender persons to use the bathroom of their gender identity.
The agenda included a blessing of Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts, members of the City Council, and Mecklenburg County officials.
Members of various religions lit candles as symbols of the light of their faiths. And as the collection plate was passed around to help pay for a lawsuit filed against the law by the ACLU, the congregation sang “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.”
Chris Brooks, legal director of the ACLU of North Carolina, thanked the faithful for the outpouring of support. “For too long, the faith community has been on the other side of this issue,” he said. “It’s high-time that changed.”
With the Jewish community celebrating Passover this week, Rabbi Judy Schindler of Temple Beth El compared their mission to that of Moses as he led the Israelites out of bondage in Egypt
“Like Moses, we will not leave anybody behind,” said Schindler, who called for making North Carolina again “a state that makes us proud and is a place of promise for every human being.”
Groups who back House Bill 2 will get their chance to gather and speak out Monday, when the N.C. Values Coalition organizes a noon rally on Raleigh’s Halifax Mall near the General Assembly building.