Showing posts with label Soulforce. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Soulforce. Show all posts


Presbyterians Move Closer to Ordaining GLBT Clergy Soulforce 11 arrested after Marriage Equality Inaction

National Presbyterians conference moves ahead on ordaining GLBT clergy but hedges on marriage equality. Soulforce civil disobedience after justice was once again denied for marriage equality ministries results in eleven faith activists arrested.

"After the press conference, the national body voted to remove all barriers to ordination for LGBT people. This action now goes to the 173 presbyteries for a vote. Half of the presbyteries must approve it before it becomes policy. Two years ago, the presbyteries came closer than ever to passing ordination equality. This vote will occur in the next nine months." Glaad Blog

I don't know if you have ever had a opportunity to attend a Soulforce direct action where people of intense faith gather to participate in changing history, but if you do it will forever change you.~kelli


Soulforce Sunday of Solidarity June 28 Stonewall to Cornerstone!

SUNDAYS of SOLIDARITY - From Stonewall to Cornerstone -
Sunday, June 28, 2009 (40th Anniversary of Stonewall)John Hagee and Cornerstone Church18755 Stone Oak Parkway, San Antonio, TX 78258
Register to Join Us!

Sundays of Solidarity encourages groups of LGBT and allied people around the country to train themselves in nonviolent direct action and communication, and then attend worship services at a church of their choice - a church that is not welcoming and affirming of openly LGBT members and guests(later actions may also include visits to individuals and institutions other than churches). Participants have the option of wearing a lapel button that reads "gay? fine by me." The lapel button serves as a conversation starter - opening dialogue with people in the church about faith, sexual orientation, and gender identity.
Project Launch:
Sundays of Solidarity will launch on June 28, 2009 - the 40th Anniversary of Stonewall -with a visit to John Hagee and his congregation at Cornerstone Church. An open letter has been mailed to Hagee announcing our visit on that date and expressing our desire to meet with him after the services to discuss how we can help him end his religious campaign against the civil rights and well-being of same- gender families, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people.
Mandatory Training:
9:00 am, Beacon Hill Presbyterian Church1101 West Woodlawn, San Antonio, Texas 787201A mandatory training in nonviolence for all participants will be held at 9:00 am at Beacon Hill Presbyterian Church, 1101 West Woodlawn. All participants in this Sundays of Solidarity event are required to attend this one-hour training. Name tags, lapel buttons ($2.00), and a nonviolence pledge card will be distributed at this training. At the conclusion of the training, we will go directly to Cornerstone Church where we will worship peacefully at the 11:00 am service and afterwards either meet with Hagee (if he accepts our invitation) or engage congregants in conversations about faith, sexual orientation, and gender identity.
Why John Hagee and Cornerstone Church?
Since Stonewall 40 years ago, many people around the nation have changed and come out in support of LGBT equality. But, many religious leaders continue to use their substantial power and wealth to fight against equality. The Mormon and Catholic churches spent millions to support Proposition 8 in California. Mega-church pastors use their pulpits to influence the hearts and minds of their congregants, and their television and radio listeners to turn out the vote on issues such as same-sex marriage, hate crimes legislation, employment nondiscrimination, adoption, and foster-parenting. With powerful political connections, they form partnerships with state and federal legislators that oppose equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people.John Hagee is the founder and senior pastor of Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas; a non-denominational charismatic church with more than 19,000 active members. He is the chief executive officer of Global Evangelism Television (GETV), and “John Hagee Ministries,” which telecasts his national radio and television ministry carried in the United States on 160 TV stations, 50 radio stations, and eight networks, including The Inspiration Network (INSP) and Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN). He is seen and heard weekly in 99 million homes and is seen in Canada, Africa, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and in most Third World nations.Hagee is founder and National Chairman of the Christian-Zionist organization Christians United for Israel, incorporated in 2006. He has incurred controversy for his comments on Nazism, Catholicism, Islam, Jews, homosexuality, and Hurricane Katrina - which he blamed on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people.
To see Hagee’s views on marriage equality, go to watch how is followers applaud at the 1:50 mark.
To see Hagee’s views on inclusivity, go to
and to hear him blame gays for Hurricane Katrina go to
There are now 926 known hate groups in this country – a staggering new record - and the teachings of fundamentalist leaders like John Hagee lead directly to the suffering of LGBT people, who are misunderstood, discriminated against, and subjected to ridicule and acts of violence.We must build solidarity with those who support equality for all people. Yet nonviolence also calls us to bring the truth to those who oppose, defile, and even hate us. Hagee is a victim of misinformation, as so many others have been, and we must take our message of hope and love directly to him and his congregation.On Sunday, June 28, 2009, we must peacefully demand that he recognize the separation of church and state, and end his campaign against the rights and well-being of LGBT people and same-gender couples who simply want to marry, raise their children, and live in their communities without fear.Join us 9:00 am on June 28, 2009, at Beacon Hill Presbyterian Church1101 West Woodlawn, San Antonio Texas 787201for the required training in nonviolence before our visit to Cornerstone Church at 11:00 am.


Soulforce: A national call for nonviolent direct action

A national call for nonviolent direct action
in the struggle for marriage equality
Jeff Lutes, M.S., L.P.C.

Last week thousands of lesbian and gay people and their friends filled the streets of California in peaceful protest. Outraged, these upright Californians chose to take action and publicly march against Proposition 8 and the LDS Church for financing the deceptive ads that helped it pass.

First, bravo to our California friends -- their moral indignation is healthy and just. Second, hooray for those in other parts of the country who have begun to follow suit -- let us not stop until every community has mounted sustained campaigns of resistance.

Despite our substantial legislative efforts, thirty states have now passed bans on same-gender marriage. That should serve as a wake-up call to our movement -- one that forces us to consider what we might be doing wrong.

Discrimination does not begin in our courts or in our government -- it ends up there. The fear and misinformation that drives unjust legislation gets its start within society, and the primary source of the problem is the sanctuaries, wealthy mega-churches, and powerful religious institutions of this country. With gigantic and captive national audiences, both Protestant and Catholic churches teach falsehoods that cause voters to cast their ballot against the constitutional promise of "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" for their gay and lesbian neighbors.

In this election, like so many others before it, the call from the pulpit was clear: We must stop the gays. As millions of gays and lesbians had their hearts broken, some religious leaders rejoiced in that suffering. The Rev. James Garlow, senior pastor of Skyline Church in San Diego County, told the New York Times "It was a great victory. We just saw the people rise up."

It's time for all of us to rise up like thousands are doing now in the Golden State and elsewhere.

We are tired of defeat, token change, defending ourselves against charges of moral inferiority, and being told to "wait" in the land we love while liberation occurs in other countries. Martin Luther King, Jr. acknowledged that real change takes time; yet he also warned against the "tranquilizing drug of gradualism" and instructed the oppressed to demand equality now -- not on the convenient time schedule of those doing the oppressing.

Nonviolent direct action strategies such as marches, vigils, demonstrations, boycotts, public protests, and civil disobedience, seek to create what Dr. King called "healthy tension." This constructive nonviolent tension forces those who perpetuate injustice, and society as a whole, to pause, reflect, and consider the ugliness of their prejudices and the indecency embodied in their discrimination. In his Letter from Birmingham Jail, Dr. King wrote: "Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. It seeks so to dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored." Public protests empower us and educate those who are still the victims of fear and division.

It's imperative that we remain nonviolent in our approach. Although it may provide short term emotional release, it's ultimately counterproductive to scream expletives at those who have harmed us. We must refrain from damaging property or trying to destroy the character of others and instead approach those who promote discrimination in a spirit of nonviolence. As both Gandhi and King taught, we must avoid violence of the fist, tongue, and heart and remember that in truth we are challenging unjust systems, not people. In due course, we seek to be in community with those from whom we currently find ourselves divided.

So, start organizing now. Don't wait on a LGBT rights group to take the lead. Most of the protests in California were organized by just a handful of people. You can do it too. Imagine the productive conversations around America's dinner tables if the evening news was flooded with coverage of peaceful marches in the other 29 states that ban marriage equality.

In the wake of our recent losses, let's rededicate our lives to speaking out with integrity and let's reclaim nonviolent direct action as part of that process. Let's understand that the vision of equality belongs to all of us and we are each responsible for taking direct action in pursuit of that dream. We all have the faculty to be powerful, influential, and prevailing. Let's reinvest in our movement for social change, believe in our own capacity to affect that change, and allow the boldness and hunger for justice to grow and contagiously spread to others.

Let's take it to the streets.



Equality Ride to Visit Three Texas Colleges

National Tour of Christian Colleges Advocates Safety for Gay and Transgender Students
For Immediate Release
Contact: Caitlin MacIntyre, Equality Ride Media Director
Cell: 612-715-6138

(Dallas, TX) On October 24-29, the third annual Soulforce Equality Ride, a national bus tour to faith-based colleges, will bring a message of inclusion and safety to three area schools: Dallas Baptist University, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, and Southwestern Assemblies of God University in Waxahachie. The Equality Ride advocates safe educational settings for all students, including those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT).

The schools' responses to the Ride demonstrate the diversity of contemporary evangelical cultures. Dallas Baptist University (DBU) is collaborating with the Equality Ride to create a full day of dialogue with faculty, students, and administrators. Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (SWBTS) has offered the Riders time to make a presentation about faith and fairness. In contrast, Southwestern Assemblies of God University (SAGU) has informed the Equality Riders that they are unwelcome on campus and has refused further communication.

The third annual Equality Ride comes to Texas at a moment when research suggests that young white evangelicals are diverging from previous generations on social justice issues. A September 2008 poll commissioned by Religion and Ethics Newsweekly found that 58% of 18-29 year old white evangelicals support some form of legal recognition of civil unions or marriage for same-sex couples; a quarter (26%) support the full right for same-sex couples to marry.

However, in spite of these indications that significant numbers of 18-29 year olds support equality, more than 200 U.S. colleges and universities have explicit policies that discriminate against LGBT students. The DBU student handbook expressly prohibits "student organizations which are homosexual/bisexual in nature." Southwest Baptist lists " homosexual behavior" as grounds for unspecified disciplinary action. The SAGU student handbook lists "homosexuality" and "lesbianism" as grounds for disciplinary action, including "termination from the university."

"It's very difficult to learn in an environment where you don't feel safe," said 22-year-old Jarrett Lucas, Co-director of the Equality Ride. "When students can be punished just because of who they are, it's very difficult for them to speak up about their quality of life on campus. That's where we come in. We can speak up for a community where everyone can learn without fear."

Since 2006, the Equality Ride has visited more than 50 schools, hosting public forums, participating in panel discussions, and taking part in worship services and Bible studies. The goal is to inspire further conversation and to empower students, faculty, and administrators to make their school welcoming to all students.

Equality Riders invite students at all three schools, as well as members of the Dallas/Fort Worth community, to a community gathering on Saturday the 25th at Reverchon Park in Dallas.
The young adult organizers of the Equality Ride use a collaborative approach, writing to college administrators months in advance and inviting them to work together to design programming that examines diverse points of view -- including points of view that affirm gay and transgender students.

Dallas Baptist University
Friday, October 24th, 2008
11:30 am, Press conference outside DBU
12:00 noon, Riders enter campus

DFW/Equality Ride Community Gathering
Saturday, October 25th, 2008
2:00 pm, at Reverchon Park in Dallas

Soulforce Q is the young adult division of Soulforce, a social justice organization that works to end political and religious oppression of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people through relentless nonviolent resistance. For more information, go to


Equality Ride Faces Vandalism, Arrests at Palm Beach

Equality Ride Faces Vandalism, Arrests at Palm Beach
For Immediate Release

Contact: Caitlin MacIntyre, 
Equality Ride Media Director
Cell: 612-715-6138

(West Palm Beach, FL)-- Just hours ago, sixteen young adults arrived at the DeSantis Family Chapel on the campus of Palm Beach Atlantic University. The Equality Riders were immediately restricted to the far side of the sidewalk and were greeted by an organized group of parents. During the conversations that ensued, a few students did join the group and one came out as a lesbian who is in her first year at PBAU. She was able to speak firsthand about the lack of safety for gay and lesbian students on campus, which affirms Soulforce Q's reasons for visiting the Christian school: to talk about safety and inclusion for all.

At 11:00 am EST, the sixteen Equality Riders walked to the DeSantis Family Chapel doors and were confronted by city police at the doors. School officials read a statement that barred the young adults from participating in the worship service with the students with whom they had been talking. A similar statement followed from the West Palm Beach Police Department. Inspired by the conversations that they had with students during a picnic hosted by the Equality Ride on Sunday, the Riders moved forward with good faith that they would be allowed into Chapel.

As ten of the Riders were turned away, six remained and were arrested, one by one. Those arrested were Jarrett Lucas, 22, from Philadelphia, Danielle Cooper, 19, from Maplewood, NJ, Lauren Parke, 25, from Seattle, Enzi Tanner, 24, from Minneapolis, Nicholas Rocco DeFinis, 22, from Lansdale, PA, and Zak Rittenhouse, 21, from Frankfort, OH. Students looked on as the young adults were placed in handcuffs and moved into a police van.

The remaining Equality Riders are still standing vigil and speaking with students on the corner of S. Olive Avenue and Okeechobee Road. They will remain there until 4:00 pm EST. The arrested young adults are scheduled to go before a magistrate Tuesday morning.

Today's visit to PBAU comes after a night of harassment for participants of the Equality Ride. Sunday evening, the glass door of the bus was bashed in with a hard object. Two panes of glass were shattered and small portions of the vinyl wrap were scratched off. A police report of the incident was filed.

Since 2006, the Equality Ride has visited 50 schools, hosting public forums, participating in panel discussions, and taking part in worship services and Bible studies. The goal is to inspire further conversation and to empower students, faculty, and administrators to make their school welcoming to all students. The organizers of the Equality Ride use a collaborative approach, writing to college administrators months in advance and inviting them to work together to design programming that examines diverse points of view -- including points of view that affirm gay and transgender students.

Soulforce Q is the young adult division of Soulforce, a social justice organization that works to end political and religious oppression of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people through relentless nonviolent resistance. For more information, go to

Six Soulforce Q Riders Arrested Trying to go to Church

According to a article by By Scott Travis of the six Soulforce members were arrested Monday the 13th of November after attempting to enter the Atlantic Palm Beach University chapel sanctuary to attend a 11:00am service.

The SOULFORCE PRESS RELEASE of October 13, 2008 tells of the terrifying night leading up to the arrests of the Q Riders. Late at night the door of one of the buses was broken and the exterior damaged.

It is this writers question, what was the Q-riders offensive behaviour that predicated such a preemptive move by this University. Did the University beleive that perhaps this sexual Conduct code found in "the navigator" was in immediate danger of being violated?

"*Sexual Misconduct
Sexual activity that is inconsistent with biblical teaching, such as: sexual activity outside
the bonds of marriage, sexual harm*, sexual harassment and homosexual behavior"

Or perhaps the University feared the unraveling of historic and religious misconceptions and rhetoric by the realization that GLBT people experience the same irresistible love for Jesus Christ as non LGBT people and that we all are sinners and loved by Jesus the same?

Kelli Busey