This past Sunday, Julie added another entry to her incredible list of accomplishments when she was chosen as Associate Pastor by the congregation of Atonement Lutheran Church in Wyomissing, Pennsylvania. Since approximately August 2009, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) has accepted members in committed same-sex unions to serve in leadership roles. With a congregation of over 1,500 members, being chosen as a faith leader to so many people is an incredible honor for anyone, regardless of gender or sexual orientation. But the fact that she's married to a woman does make this decision all that much more significant considering how religion is far too often used to discriminate against members of the LGBT community.
So, when you read stories about angry homophobic morons screaming about how homosexuality is a sin and against God, think about Julie Recher and how she received over two-thirds of the required votes from the Atonement Lutheran congregation to become Associate Pastor, and smile knowing that there are faith communities in Pennsylvania that respect who a person truly is and acknowledge his/her contributions to society without prejudice and fear.