Soulforce Press Release February 22, 2000
James Lawson, Dr. King’s "Soul Mate in Nonviolence" Heads Clergy Protest of Anti-Homosexual Rhetoric
(LOS ANGELES, CA.) The hero of THE CHILDREN, David Halberstam’s prize-winning history of the civil rights movement, is convinced that seeking justice for sexual minorities is "the next civil rights frontier." The Rev. Dr. James Lawson, Co-Chair with Mel White of the Committee to Bring Truth to Pat Robertson and the Fox Family Channel, believes that "Gay and lesbian Americans face an even more difficult struggle than we African-Americans faced. We had our families and our churches to support us. They have neither."
Dr. Lawson, one of King’s closest associates, trained the young people who revolutionized the civil rights movement in the 1960s with their sit-ins, freedom rides, and nonviolent marches. "The principles of Gandhian nonviolence helped us end segregation in the 60s," Lawson explains. "Now it’s time to apply those principles on behalf of justice for sexual minorities."
"Dr. Lawson’s decision to support our GLBT struggle for justice is a gift from God," states Mel White, Co-Chair of Soulforce, Inc., a network of people of faith determined to apply the principles of nonviolence to the liberation of sexual minorities. "Jim Lawson’s lifetime experience as a civil rights activist, his committment to Gandhi’s ‘soul force,’ his gifts as speaker and teacher, his connections with other justice and peace movements around the globe, and his deeply held faith that our Creator seeks justice for all could renew and redirect our entire GLBT movement."
At a 12Noon luncheon and a 1:30 press conference, Wednesday, February 23, in Westwood, Dr. Lawson will explain why he’s leading dozens of interfaith clergy in protesting the anti-homosexual rhetoric of Pat Robertson’s 700 Club, seen three times daily on the Fox Family Channel. Following the press conference, Lawson will lead the clergy on a march to the Fox Family world headquarters to present their case against Robertson’s "rhetoric of intolerance."
"For eighteen months Fox executives have refused to meet with us," Lawson explains. "It’s too bad. We’re only trying to help them understand why (with Pat Robertson featured three hours daily) their ‘family channel’ is no longer safe for America’s families. We aren’t trying to embarrass or censor Fox Family or Mr. Robertson. We just want them to hear the truth, that homosexuals are God’s children, too. Mr. Robertson’s anti-homosexual campaign is not only untrue, it leads to discrimination, suffering, and even death."
Dr. Lawson is convinced that "Mr. Robertson’s uses anti-homosexual rhetoric to raise money and mobilize volunteers. He misquotes the Bible to support his false and divisive views. It’s nothing new. Southern preachers like Robertson were misusing the Bible to demean and demonize black Americans in the 1960s just like they’re misusing the Bible to demean and demonize gay Americans today."
Members of the Press are invited to lunch with Dr. Lawson and the other concerned clergy 12Noon, February 23, at the University Religious Conference at UCLA, 900 Hilgard Ave., Westwood, CA. The Press Conference is at 1:30 followed immediately by the four block march to Fox Family headquarters at 10960 Wilshire Blvd. If Fox executives continue to refuse to meet with the clergy, the clergy have promised an immediate nonviolent direct action against Fox and a nationwide campaign to boycott Fox Family and its sponsors.
Contact: MEL WHITE, Co-Chair (949) 455-0999 or RevMel@aol.com.
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