February 11, 2005
Dear Soulforce Supporters,
You are receiving this memo for a very important reason, to make you aware of some very important changes in our plans and demeanor for the Dobson action on May 1, 2005.
For a variety of reasons, we have decided to do away with the idea of declaring Focus on the Family a “Toxic Religion Zone” at the rally. While we will continue to confront Dobson’s untruths in a strong manner, we believe that the “Toxic Religion Zone” does not convey the “spirit” of Soulforce and nonviolence. It also makes it sound like everything Dobson does and says is “toxic”, which is not what we want our message to be, nor is it true. We want to keep the focus on our specific concerns, not on attacking Focus on the Family as a whole.
While civil disobedience is always a possibility (depending on our adversary’s actions), we have decided not to make it our primary intent for Monday, May 2, 2005. Instead, we are planning “Our Families Bring Truth to Focus on the Family”, in which out and open GLBT couples and families, single folks, and our allies will take a tour of the Focus headquarters and eat lunch in the cafeteria. We will be out and open as GLBT people and same-gender families (holding hands, introducing ourselves and our kids to Focus staff, etc.). The love that shows in our smiling faces will be more powerful in confronting untruth than any of our words. We may come bearing gifts (i.e., an over-sized photo album of GLBT families, etc.)
One of the reasons we have made these changes is that we are currently negotiating a possible meeting between Dr. Dobson and some of our families on Monday, and we will also be inviting him (and all Focus on the Family staff) to attend the picnic and rally on Sunday. While this is a long shot, we remain hopeful that Dobson will agree to meet with us to hear our concerns (it could happen . . . who would have ever thought that Jerry Falwell would agree to meet with Soulforce in 1999?).
In the spirit of nonviolence, we are giving Dobson the opportunity to make a moral decision: Does he allow us to tour Focus on the Family, or does he shut us out? Either way, it puts the onus on him.
So civil disobedience is not the focus of our Monday action. Those who have been involved with Soulforce actions in the past know that sometimes our plans change frequently depending on the response of our adversary. While this can be stressful, it is also what makes the actions exciting and fun! We don’t always know exactly what we are going to do. We just know that whatever we do, it will be guided by the principles of nonviolence.
Ten thousand color flyers were printed prior to making this decision. The flyers talk of “Toxic Religion Zone” and civil disobedience. Please communicate our change in plans to those with whom you have spoken or shared information about this action. Updated flyers will be printed. The web sites and future media alerts will reflect these changes as well.
Thanks again for all you are doing to help make this a powerful and successful event!
Co-chair, Colorado Springs Action