CLEVELAND — Following television personality Montel Williams’ address to a conservative LGBT brunch, Colorado Attorney Gen. Cynthia Coffman said she felt like she was at church.
Coffman’s speculation wasn’t far off. As Williams addressed the brunch held to promote inclusion of the LGBT community among the Republican Party less than a mile from the GOP convention, he admonished Christians to repel discrimination against anyone — especially discrimination based on a person’s sexual orientation.
“Too often we hear religious liberty used as a justification for legislative ideas that marginalize the LGBT community,” Williams, an ardent opponent of the so-called bathroom bills, said.
Williams recited Galatians 3:26-28 which declares:
“So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
“The fact is, even if you accept the argument that marriage is between a man and a woman, there is absolutely no basis for discrimination whatsoever in the Christian faith,” he said.
Raised in the Catholic church, multiple incidents with priests — including one who used the n-word while standing behind the pulpit — Williams decided to research religion on his own.
“Now I consider myself an independent religious person,” Williams told TheBlaze in an interview following the forum.
“I believe in the basic tenets, and one of the basic tenets is we are judged when we leave here by what we do for the least of us,” he continued. “Every religion on the planet — whether it be Hindu or Muslim — they all have a tenet where you are supposed to be a Good Samaritan, and that’s how you’re judged.”
Williams added that while some may not be willing to bring this message to religious people, he “cannot hold back.”
“We are all equal in the eyes of the Lord. He doesn’t see man or woman. That means he doesn’t see trans,” Williams said. “So how dare anybody who thinks or claims or stands up to say ‘I believe in Jesus Christ’ — you’re lying if you say trans people do not deserve the same rights as you.”
Reality star and transgender activist Caitlyn Jenner headlined Wednesday morning’s brunch at Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. She, too, referenced her faith and said that while she was grappling with her gender-identity as early as the 1980s, it was her faith that helped her get through that time.
She also quipped that while God had blessed her with many talents, including an Olympic gold-medal-producing athletic ability, he must have chuckled when he decided to “give this one the soul of a female and see what he does.”
“We are part of society. We are a real thing. We are part of humanity,” she said. “God created very colorful human beings all around the world.”
The brunch, hosted by the American Unity Fund, was not part of the official Republican National Convention, but Jenner did discuss her conservative political leanings; she joked that while it was “easy to come out as trans,” it hasn’t been as easy to “come out” as a Republican.