Phoenix Clergy, Gay Southern Baptists, and Soulforce to Hold Press Conference Outside Southern Baptist Convention – Monday, June 16, 2003 at 6:00PM

Booklet to be released comparing quotes by Southern Baptist leaders to anti-gay minister Fred Phelps

Soulforce Press Release, 06/11/03
For Immediate Release
Contact: Laura Montgomery Rutt
Cell 717-278-0592 email:soulforcemedia@aol.com

(Phoenix, AZ) – For the fourth year in a row, Soulforce, Inc. will be on the front lines of the Southern Baptist Convention’s (SBC) annual meeting trying to dialogue with SBC messengers, handing out educational materials, and giving Southern Baptists the opportunity to meet out and proud gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) persons. Also present will be members of “No Longer Silent”, allies and ministers from the Phoenix area, and dozens of pro-GLBT supporters from all across the United States.

Soulforce, Inc. is a national interfaith movement committed to ending spiritual violence perpetuated by religious policies and teachings against gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) people. Soulforce was also present at the SBC meetings in Orlando in 2000, New Orleans in 2001, and St. Louis in 2002. This year’s SBC annual meeting is being held at the Convention Center in downtown Phoenix.

WHAT: PRESS CONFERENCE

WHO: Representatives from SOUFORCE, NO LONGER SILENT, P-FLAG (Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) and COMMUNITY CHURCH OF HOPE, as well as Gay and Lesbian Southern Baptists and others.

WHEN: MONDAY, JUNE 16, 2003 at 6pm

WHERE: AT THE PHOENIX CONVENTION CENTER at 3rd and MONROE

WHY: To promote a PRO-GAY RELIGIOUS MESSSAGE to counter the Southern Baptist anti-gay rhetoric and release plans for the protests and vigils.

Soulforce will also be releasing a booklet entitled, “Southern Baptists may not say ‘God Hates Fags’, but the Effect is the Same,” comparing quotes by Southern Baptist leaders to anti-gay minister Fred Phelps, best known for his pickets at funerals of hate crime victim Matthew Shephard and casualties of AIDS.

Also on Monday, June 16, beginning at 6:30pm, a training in nonviolence based on the principles of Gandhi and King will be held at the Days Inn, 3333 Van Buren in Phoenix. Those planning to participate in the vigils are required to participate in the training designed to “bring truth and justice” to the Southern Baptists.

Vigils will take place Tuesday and Wednesday, June 17-18 in front of the Convention Center starting at 8:15am, where gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and ally Soulforce volunteers will greet Southern Baptists. Soulforce is encouraging Southern Baptists to take the time to talk with Soulforce supporters.

MEDIA VISUALS: The press conference will provide visuals of pro-gay banners, clergy, and protesters in pro-gay T-shirts, standing in front of the Convention Center, where the anti-gay Southern Baptist Convention’s meeting begins the next day.

For more information, see www.soulforce.org. For media interviews, call 717-278-0592.

——————
Laura Montgomery Rutt
Director of Communications
Soulforce, Inc
Laura@soulforce.org
www.soulforce.org

Soulforce is a national interfaith movement committed to ending spiritual violence perpetuated by religious policies and teachings against gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people. Soulforce employs the nonviolent principles of Gandhi and King to the liberation of sexual and gender minorities.

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