Jazz Funeral Planned During Southern Baptist Annual Meeting

Soulforce to Mourn For Gay Southern Baptists

Protests and Vigils Against Southern Baptist Teachings to Take Place in New Orleans June 11 – 13, 2001

"Because Southern Baptist teachings turn even our friends and families against us, we weep when their gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender children are born." Mel White, Executive Director – Soulforce, Inc.

Soulforce Press Release, May 7, 2001
For Immediate Release
Contact: Laura Montgomery Rutt
Cell: 717-951-7712 soulforcemedia@aol.com

Laguna Beach, CA – Soulforce has announced specific plans regarding their presence in New Orleans to protest the anti-gay teachings of Southern Baptists at the Southern Baptist Annual Meeting taking place June 12 – 13, 2001. More than ten thousand Southern Baptist "messengers" gathering for their annual meeting at the Superdome will be met by Soulforce supporters holding vigils and non-violent protests at the same location.

Soulforce, an interfaith network of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender individuals and their families, friends and allies, is committed to applying the principles of nonviolent resistance as taught by Gandhi and King to the liberation of sexual and gender minorities.

The culmination of two days of vigils will be a "historic jazz funeral", followed by a press conference and planned civil disobedience and arrests. The Jazz Funeral begins on Wednesday, June 13, 2001, beginning at 11:00 at the North End of the Superdome entry ramp on Poydras, marching around the Superdome until approximately 12:00. A Press Conference will be held in front of the main entrance at 12:00pm on June 13, prior to the planned civil disobedience and arrests "to draw attention to the anti-gay teachings of the Southern Baptists."

"Southern Baptist teachings are a primary source of misinformation about sexual and gender minorities," declared Rev. Mel White, co-founder and Executive Director of Soulforce. "Their teachings lead to discrimination, suffering, and even death. That’s why our Soulforce Direct Action in New Orleans includes an historic ‘jazz funeral’. Because Southern Baptist teachings turn even our friends and families against us, we weep when their gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender children are born."

Other Soulforce events in New Orleans include:

  • Sunday, June 10: A Journey to Justice Worship service at 12:15 pm at St. Marks Community Center, 1130 Rampart St., sponsored by the Metropolitan Community Church (MCC) of Greater New Orleans.
  • Monday June 11: The Memorial Celebration & Preparation, including Music, Dance, Red Beans & Rice, Special Guests, Hands-On Justice Training in the non-violent principles of Gandhi and King.
  • Tuesday, June 12: All day "wake" and vigils outside of the Superdome, 6am-8pm.
  • Wednesday, June 13: Vigils begins at 8am. Jazz Funeral at 11:00. Press Conference at 12:00pm followed by civil disobedience and arrests. (see above for specific information on location)

"We are thrilled to have Soulforce coming to New Orleans to challenge the anti-gay teachings of the Southern Baptists," said Rev. Dexter Brecht, pastor of MCC of Greater New Orleans and Co-chair of the Soulforce Host Committee. "We are confident that residents of New Orleans will open their hearts and their homes to Soulforce, and join with them in the non-violent protests against the anti-gay teachings that leads to suffering and death."

For additional information on Soulforce, as well as details about the Jazz Funeral and other New Orleans events, see https://soulforceactionarchives.org.

MEDIA PHOTO OPPORTUNITY: Jazz Funeral provides excellent photo opportunity for TV and Newsprint Photos, press conference to follow. Personal interviews can be pre-arranged by calling 717-951-7712.

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