White Begs Methodists to Cancel Creech Trial, Calls Tribunal an "Act of Spiritual Violence"

Promises Soulforce Intervention in Nebraska, Nov. 16-18.

November 2, 1999

A Soulforce News Alert

GRAND ISLAND, NEBRASKA, NOV. 2, 1999 – Just days after returning from their "Anti-Violence Forum" with Jerry Falwell in Lynchburg, Virginia, Mel White and his Soulforce team of GLBT people of faith and their allies are training for a nonviolent "Intervention" at the Jimmy Creech trial in Grand Island, Nebraska, Nov. 16-18, 1999.

"This trial," White explains, "is not simply a private legal matter between the United Methodists and one of their clergy. It is a highly visible assault on America’s sexual minorities by an historic Christian denomination. They think the trial is about Jimmy Creech. We see it as an act of spiritual violence against all God’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered children."

On Tuesday night, Nov. 16, White has invited Rev. Creech (and any other clergy who care to stand in solidarity with him) to conduct a same-gender holy union in Grand Island, Nebraska. Gay and lesbian couples who would like to reaffirm their vows or GLBT folk, their friends and families who can travel to Grand Island are invited to join the celebration as well. "If this is my last act as a United Methodist minister," the Rev. Jimmy Creech says, "I am glad that it is a celebration of God’s love."

In a letter released today (complete text at www.soulforce.org), White reminds Bishop William Grove, the trial’s Presiding Officer, and the jury pool of thirty-five United Methodist clergy that the trial’s coverage by the world’s media will inadvertently inflame the debate about homosexuality once again. He is also concerned that TV preachers and talk show hosts will use the occasion to flood the nation with more false inflammatory anti-gay rhetoric. White invites trial officials to stand outside the courtroom with his Soulforce delegation. "Have the courage to refuse to convene this tragic trial.Refuse to lend your name to a moment that will be condemned by history.Link your arms with our arms and we will celebrate your courage."

"We hope that the United Methodists will realize the historic consequences of this trial before it is too late," White says, "but the minute jury selection begins, we will launch a nonviolent intervention in the spirit of Jesus, Gandhi, and King. The silent, loving, nonviolent vigil that we are currently negotiating with United Methodist leaders and local police officials may be misunderstood and condemned; but when someone we love is being attacked nonviolence calls us to stand between the victim and the assailant. This trial is an attack on our sisters and brothers. We must put our bodies in the way. We are determined to help end this costly and senseless war that religious leaders seem determined to wage against us. On November 17," White adds sadly, "Grand Island, Nebraska, becomes another frontline battlefield in that war and Jimmy Creech cannot be abandoned to fight our battles alone."

Any one who wants to participate in the Wednesday Soulforce Intervention must arrive in Grand Island by 4PM for training in nonviolence. All volunteers must sign the ten vows signed by marchers with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1963. For information or to volunteer, please email Soulforce, Inc. at JCOnTrialAgain@aol.com.

MEDIA NOTES: The Holy Union and Vow Renewal Celebration with Jimmy Creech is open to the media, Tuesday evening, Nov. 16. Inquire below for time and place. If the trial is convened November 17, the Soulforce Intervention will begin immediately at the trial location: Trinity United Methodist Church, 511 North Elm St., Grand Island, NE. For general information or to interview the Rev. Jimmy Creech, contact Laura Montgomery Rutt, Media Coordinator, 717-627-7180 (lmrutt@lancnews.infi.net). To contact Dr. Mel White or members of his Soulforce Team in your area, call: 949-455-0999 or 949-933-3592 or email him at JCOnTrialAgain@aol.com. Checkwww.soulforce.org for on-line updates. Soulforce Team members are available in most areas for media interview.

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