Rev. Irene Monroe to tackle discrimination, religion at UPS event

The Rev. Irene Monroe is determined to get the message out. Hand the plain-spoken theologian a microphone, and before you know it, she’s got a national radio show; pass her a keyboard, and out pours a commentary that is syndicated in papers across the country.

Rev. Irene Monroe
Rev. Irene Monroe

Monroe, an African American, feminist, ordained minister and motivational speaker, wants the public to understand the role that religion plays in discrimination against people from minority cultures. She does not believe Christianity is inherently intolerant, and she certainly does not want to see it used to oppress those who are not like ourselves.

On Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017, Monroe will share her perspectives with Tacoma audiences by presenting the talk “From Stonewall to Pulse: The Intersections of Race, Sexuality, and Religion.” The spring Swope Lecture will begin at 7:30 p.m. in Schneebeck Concert Hall, near Union Avenue and N. 14th St., on the University of Puget Sound campus. A reception will follow in the Tahoma Room, Thomas Hall.

Admission is free, but tickets are required. Tickets are available online at, or at Wheelock Information Center, 253-879-3100.

Monroe is a syndicated religion columnist, a radio show host, television commentator, and Huffington Post blogger. She co-hosts the show All Revved Up on Boston Public Radio.

Described in O, The Oprah Magazine, as “a phenomenal woman who has succeeded against all odds,” Monroe is a sought-after speaker and a columnist for newspapers across the country, in the United Kingdom, and in Canada. As a writer, Monroe says, she tries to inform the public on the role that religion plays in discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people.

“Because homophobia is both a hatred of the ‘other’ and it’s usually acted upon ‘in the name of religion,’ . . . I aim to highlight how religious intolerance and fundamentalism not only shatters the goal of American democracy, but also aids in perpetuating other forms of oppression such as racism, sexism, classism, and anti-Semitism,” she writes.

A native of Brooklyn, N.Y., Monroe is a graduate of Wellesley College and Union Theological Seminary at Columbia University, before enrolling at Harvard Divinity School for her doctorate as a Ford Fellow.

 – University of Puget Sound