What Soulforce Will Do to Protest the Trial of Karen Dammann March 17, 2004

After reading below the brief Plan for the Soulforce Direct Action at the trial of Karen Dammann in Bothell, March 17, you may decide to join Soulforce at this event.

NONVIOLENCE TRAINING, TUESDAY, MARCH 16

If you decide to stand with Soulforce Wednesdaay morning, you must also be trained in nonviolence 6:00 PM.

Tuesday night, March 16, at the Northshore Senior Center, 10201 E. Riverside Drive, Bothell, WA. 98111. Get more information, directions and an opportunity to pre- register at www.soulforce.org.

THE DIRECT ACTION, WEDNESDAY, MARCH 17

At 7:00AM, March 17, Soulforce volunteers will gather in the parking lot of the Bothell UMC, 18515 92nd Ave. NE, Bothell, WA., for final instructions. (Please park at a distance from the church. If you are willing to be arrested, be sure to ride with someone who isn’t.)

At 7:30AM, ninety minutes before Bishop Grove arrives at the Bothell United Methodist Church to begin selecting the UMC clergy who will serve on the jury for Karen Dammann’s trial, Soulforce volunteers will begin a peaceful vigil at the three main doors of the Church.

Trained Tuesday night, March 16, in the spirit of nonviolence, these volunteers will offer a red carnation to each member of the jury pool as she or he enters. The red flower symbolizes the suffering that will be caused by the spiritual violence of this trial and its aftermath. Volunteers will also offer a one-page explanation of this Soulforce Direct Action and present their case against Karen Dammann’s trial to any one who will listen.

Individual UMC clergy arriving to serve on the jury pool will be asked to seriously consider refusing to cooperate in any way with the proceedings of this trial. However, every encounter will be guided by the principles of love and nonviolence. There will be no blocking of the doors and no words or actions that might cause potential jurors to feel angry, fearful or harassed.

At approximately 9:00AM, Bishop William Grove will arrive at the Bothell United Methodist Church to begin selecting a jury for the trial of the Rev. Karen Dammann. As Bishops Grove and Galvan approach the Church, the entire Soulforce delegation will gather to block their entry in a peaceful attempt to "close down" this tragic trial before it can begin.

Soulforce knows that the pastor, the staff and most of the members of Bothell UMC do not support this trial. We know, too, that most UMC clergy from across the Pacific Northwest respect Karen Dammann’s ministry and are deeply disturbed that she is being tried for her honesty and her courage.

Soulforce has no grievance with our friends in Washington and Idaho. They, too, are victims of the spiritual violence that flows out of the anti-homosexual teachings that are being enforced in Bothell, March 17. We invite them to refuse to be victims through their own acts of non-cooperation with the trial.

The trial itself is an act of spiritual violence. To refuse to play any part in the trial would be an act of courage and of conscience in the spirit of Karen Dammann’s own act of courage and of conscience. However, Bishops Grove and Galvan represent those in the United Methodist Denomination who insist that anti-homosexual teachings of the United Methodist Church be enforced in trials such as this. The Bishops are bringing this act of spiritual violence to Bothell UMC and to the Pacific Northwest. Therefore, Soulforce volunteers will only block entry to these two men.

During that nonviolent blockade, Soulforce will present its case to the Bishops and ask them to join in this protest against spiritual violence by refusing to convene or conduct the trial.By refusing to convene this trial, Bishops Grove and Galvan will perform an act of Ecclesial Disobedience that will match the courage and commitment of Karen Dammann and send a message to the entire United Methodist Denomination that Spiritual Violence against gay and lesbian Methodists STOPS HERE.

If the Bishops insist on entering the Church and convening the trial, Soulforce volunteers will continue to block their way. The only way to stop our Soulforce blockade is for the pastor of Bothell UMC to call the Bothell Police. If no one from Bothell UMC calls the police, the blockade will become permanent.

However, if the Bothell Police are called, they will warn Soulforce volunteers to end the blockade or face arrest. There will be at least five minutes for those protestors who don’t want to be arrested to leave the blockade and join the other Soulforce volunteers in a vigil nearby. But the Bothell Police have made it clear that those who maintain the blockade will be arrested for trespassing, handcuffed, taken by Police bus to the local station, charged and fined for (a civil-disobedience related) misdemeanor trespass and released.

Soulforce volunteers who were arrested will be ordered NOT to return to Bothell UMC during the trial and those not arrested will join the daily prayer vigils and marches that are scheduled for the trial’s duration. There will be no other official Soulforce action at the trial of Karen Dammann after this act of Ecclesial "This Obedience."

On March 17, you have an historic opportunity to take your stand against the intolerance and bigotry enshrined in the anti-homosexual teachings of the United Methodist Church. If you are a gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender person, why not take this small risk and pay this small price to help stop this religion-based spiritual violence? If you are an ally, friend or family of a GLBT person, why don’t you offer this act of courage as a gift to the one you love (or in memory to one you have loved and lost)? If you are a person of faith from any faith community and are tired of religion-based attacks on sexual and gender minorities, here’s your opportunity to say with your life, "NO MORE."

If you are clergy in the UMC, please, use this protest to take your stand against the "renewal groups" associated with the Institute for Religion and Democracy who are determined to enforce these anti-homosexual teachings as a wedge issue to divide and conquer United Methodism.

Whoever you are, the trial of the Rev. Karen Dammann offers you an amazing and historic opportunity to do justice (and you don’thave to risk arrest to join Soulforce in this act of relentless nonviolent resistance.)

For more information, directions, and to pre-register:
www.soulforce.org

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