Soulforce, Inc. Launches Two Prong Campaign to Stop Roman Catholic Church Leaders’ Attacks against Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Individuals and Couples

Vigils at Local Catholic Chanceries to take place across the United States in November

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Soulforce Press Release: October 20, 2004
For immediate Release
Contact: Laura Montgomery Rutt
Cell 717-278-0592
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November 9, 2004: Local Catholic Chancery Vigils across the United States – Soulforce National Call to Prayer and Vigils

November 14-17: Soulforce Protest at U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington, DC – 5th year in a row

(Lynchburg, VA) – In response to continued attacks against gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) individuals and couples, Soulforce is implementing a two prong campaign this year to try to change the hearts and minds of Catholic Bishops, and beseech them to stop the spiritual violence perpetuated by Roman Catholic religious policies, teachings and anti-gay rhetoric.

Local Soulforce groups and other supportive groups in a dozen different cities are trying to dialogue with their local bishops through letters and other correspondence. Soulforce’s commitment to the non-violent principles as taught by Gandhi and King dictates that each group first try to dialogue with their local Bishop first. If these attempts fail and Bishops refuse to dialogue, vigils are being planned in front of local chanceries. Local Soulforce groups planning vigils on November 9 include, Cleveland, Philadelphia, New York City, Albuquerque, Washington, DC/Arlington, Orange County (Los Angeles), Atlanta, Detroit, and San Francisco. Additionally, supportive groups in Denver and St. Louisare also planning vigils outside their local chanceries on November 9th. (Call media contact above for specific details on each location)

Soulforce Twin Cities will attend Mass at St. Paul’s Cathedral on Sunday, November 7 wearing rainbow sashes. The bishop in Oklahoma has agreed to dialogue, so no vigils will be taking place.

"We are praying for these bishops to follow in the footsteps of Oscar Romero, who gave his life to stop the violence against the Salvadoran people. Most of these bishops, know the truth of our lives, but they are fearful to speak out,” said Kara Speltz, Chair of the Soulforce Catholic Denominational Team. “They know the gifts we have brought to our church, because they’ve seen them first hand, in their families, parishes and chanceries. On this day we call down the power of the Holy Spirit to transform their fear and temerity into courage and prophecy. As M.L. King, jr. said in his letter from a Birmingham Jail, ‘We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the vitriolic words and actions of the bad people, but for the appalling silence of the good people.’"

On November 14, 2004, Soulforce volunteers will gather in Washington, D.C. to try to continue to speak to the bishops, and vigil outside of the USCCB meetings. If the USCCB persists in ignoring Soulforce’s requests for dialogue, a civil disobedience will be considered.

This will mark the fifth year in a row that Soulforce has had a presence outside of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) annual meeting. This is the first time Soulforce and Soulforce local groups have done vigils at their local Chanceries prior to the USCCB’s annual meeting.

Additionally, Soulforce is encouraging supportive people to individually communicate with their local bishops concerning the devastating effects of their anti-gay rhetoric, their outspoken support of the now-defeated Federal Marriage Amendment, and their involvement in electoral politics. For more information, see www.soulforce.org/denomination/rc/usccb2004/.

Soulforce, Inc. is a national interfaith movement committed to ending spiritual violence perpetuated by religious policies and teachings against gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender individuals. Soulforce teaches and employs the non-violent principles of Gandhi and King to the liberation of sexual and gender minorities. www.soulforce.org

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