Date: 7 September 2023
Duration: 1 – 6 pm, followed by a “queer walk”
Location: Kunsthalle Osnabrück, Hasemauer 1, 49074 Osnabrück
Conference languages: English and German with translations
Please note that the registration is binding; space at the conference is limited to 70 people.
The Thirty Years War, which was fuelled in part by religion, came to an end in 1648 when the Peace of Westphalia was signed in Münster and Osnabrück. Marking the 375th anniversary, we are gathering in Osnabrück to discuss lessons learned from the recent and historically significant shift toward religious peace for queer people around the world. The topic is pressing, for this peace is by no means evident everywhere and in some cases is reverting toward violence. In the global South, for example, evangelical anti-LGBTIQ+ churches are on the rise and vying with each other in homophobic and transphobic discourse. Autocrats are seeking to legitimize their rule with reference to allegedly traditional Russian or African values and spreading hostility toward LGBTIQ+ people in their own countries and toward open Western societies in general.
Our question: Can there be a religious peace for queer-living people? Do we need a new peace-building campaign to combat religiously motivated hostility to queer people? And how would we achieve that? What positive examples can we learn from? And, how can we ensure that development cooperation organisations in the West do not support harmful projects that promote violence, call for conversion therapy, or seek to spread negative views of queer lifestyles and ostracize LGBTIQ+ people?
Colonialisation and Christian missionary activity have been and continue to be major forces behind violations of queer people’s human rights in many countries of the global South and East. Yet there are also positive examples of LGBTIQ+-inclusive religious communities – for religion and faith are important to the lives of many queer people. These communities know that human rights are universal, indivisible, and therefore applicable to LGBTIQ+ people as well. And when religious communities are open to their concerns, queer people see a sustainable improvement in their lives. The first thing we need to do, however, is to identify and study the causes of hostility toward LGBTIQ+ people in order to counteract them.
We believe in change: What can religious peace look like for queer people worldwide?
12:30 pm: Check-in with coffee and soft drinks
1 pm: Welcome address by the hosts
1:10 pm: We believe in change – Introduction to the topic by Klaus Jetz, Hirschfeld Eddy Foundation
1:20 pm: Mission against misanthropy – A critical re-vision of the Christian missionary concept in intercultural perspective, Dr. Margit Eckholt, Professor of dogmatics and foundational theology, University of Osnabrück
1:40 pm: Global culture wars: Christian churches in the fight against human rights?, Dr. Regina Elsner, Professor of Eastern European Christianity, ecumenism, and peace ethics, University of Münster
2 pm: Podium discussion with Q&A session
Christian churches and development cooperation: LGBTIQ+-inclusive possibilities for project work in the global South: Helle Dössing, Africa division director, Brot für die Welt, Barbara Schirmel, gender and diversity advisor, Bischöfliches Hilfswerk MISEREOR e. V., Rev. Dr. Dennis T. Solon, United Evangelical Mission (UEM)/Institute for Diaconic Research and Management (IDWM), University of Bielefeld; moderator: Henny Engels, Lesbian and Gay Federation in Germany (LSVD)
3 pm: Coffee break
3:30 pm: Podium discussion with Q&A session
Positive examples of LGBTIQ+ inclusion in African faith communities: Dr. Michael Brinkschröder, Ecumenical Working Group Homosexuals and Church (HuK), Dr. Lutz van Dijk (author, Cape Town), with Davis Mac-Iyalla, Interfaith Diversity Network of West Africa (IDNOWA); moderator: Sarah Kohrt, Hirschfeld Eddy Foundation
4:45 pm: Summary and outlook: Gay in May and the Hirschfeld Eddy Foundation
5 pm: Conclusion with snacks and drinks
6 pm: End of the event
6 pm: Queer city tour (separate registration required – see registration link)
Registration: https://pretix.eu/lindmanns/queerer-religionsfrieden/ Please note that registration is binding; the number of attendees is limited. Conference languages: English and German with translations
An event for the Hirschfeld Eddy Foundation project “We believe in change”: Human rights, freedom of religion or belief, and non-discrimination. All publications for the project can be found under the tag WBIC-2023 (some content in English).