Civil Disobedience Planned for Presbyterian Assembly. Join Soulforce Direct Action in Long Beach June 25

A Soulforce Alert, May 15, 2000

Volunteers Needed for Arrest and Non-Arrest Tasks.

(Laguna Beach, May 15) At its 212th General Assembly in Long Beach, California, June 24-July 1, the 2.5 million member Presbyterian Church U.S.A will debate (once again) the role of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered Christians in their churches. Their current discriminatory policies exclude sexual and gender minorities from ordination, marriage, and ministry.

At the opening Sunday morning service, June 25, 9:30 a.m., a nonviolent Soulforce direct action will confront these unjust policies before an estimated 15,000 Presbyterians gathering for worship at the Long Beach Convention Center.

"This debate must end," explains the Rev. Dr. Mel White, Soulforce Chairman. "These tragic and misinformed policies lead to discrimination, suffering and even death. The Presbyterians, like the United Methodists, have had three decades to do justice for God’s GLBT children. Our civil disobedience, June 25, is planned to send a clear message to our Presbyterian sisters and brothers that we cannot wait patiently any longer."

On May 10, in Cleveland, Ohio, 191 Soulforce volunteers were arrested during a peaceful civil disobedience protesting United Methodist anti-homosexual policies at their General Conference. Gandhi’s grandson, Arun, Martin Luther King’s daughter, Yolanda, leaders from the civil rights movement of the 50s and 60s, and hundreds of Soulforce volunteers from 24 states were present to speak and act on behalf of equal rights for sexual and gender minorities. Dignitaries planning to be present June 25 will be announced on June 21st.

"We are inviting people of faith from across Southern California and around the country to join us in this nonviolent act of spiritual resistance," explains Jean Holsten, a Presbyterian attorney who is a Co-Chair of the June 25 event. "We will be training volunteers for this Sunday morning civil disobedience by email, and in person on Saturday, June 24, or early Sunday morning, June 25. You don’t have to be arrested to take part in this event but it would helpful if you are considering joining us to sign up on line."

At the June 25 act of civil disobedience, Soulforce Presbyterians will announce a follow-up plan to take their acts of "spiritual resistance" to anti-GLBT congregations across the country. "Gandhi says, ‘It is as much our moral obligation NOT to cooperate with evil as to cooperate with good,’ White adds. "Even while they’ve called us ‘sick’ and ‘sinful’ we’ve played their organs, lead their choirs, taught their Sunday School classes, and given our tithes and offerings faithfully. Those days are over. By making outcasts of sexual and gender minorities, the Presbyterians have broken Christ’s heart. We come in His name and for His sake to help save the soul of the Presbyterian Church U.S.A."

There will be a half-day training in nonviolence, June 24, 9:00-12 noon, for volunteers interested in being monitors on Sunday, June 25 (or interested in knowing more about the Soulforce approach to nonviolence) at a site in Long Beach to be announced. Others can be trained in 90 minute sessions Saturday afternoon, June 24: 1 p.m., 3 p.m., 7 p.m. or Sunday morning, June 25, 7 a.m. For details, watch the Soulforce web page or call (949) 455-0999.

The Rev. Dr. Mel White, Co-Founder, Soulforce: (949) 455-0999
Jean Holsten, Co-Chair, June 25 Event: (530) 758-6741

Soulforce is an ecumenical people of faith network committed to applying the principles of nonviolent resistance as taught by Gandhi and King to the liberation of sexual and gender minorities. Wherever you are on your own "journey of faith" you are welcome to study and apply the principles with us.

Soulforce, Inc., P.O. Box 4467, Laguna Beach, CA 92652

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