Soulforce Encourages Non-Participation on Controversial "Panel Discussion" Proposed by James Dobson and Focus on the Family on Biblical Text and Homosexuality

Soulforce Extends Fourth Invitation for Private Dialogue and Meeting with Dobson and Focus on the Family, and Invites Them to Meet 1000 LGBT Individuals, Couples, and Families at Picnic in Colorado Springs on May 1, 2005

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SOULFORCE MEDIA ALERT: March 30, 2005
For Immediate Release
Contact: Laura Montgomery Rutt
717-278-0592 laura@soulforce.org
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(Lynchburg, VA) On May 1, 2005, over 1000 lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals, couples, families, and their allies will be standing with Soulforce in Colorado Springs outside of James Dobson’s organizational headquarters at Focus on the Family. According to Soulforce, the purpose of this "MAYDAY" event is to draw attention to the untruths perpetuated by Dobson against LGBT families, and encourage him to "get to know" the children, parents, and friends he condemns with his anti-gay rhetoric.

According to Nori Rost, pastor of the Pike’s Peak Metropolitan Community Church in Colorado Springs, she received a phone call from a Focus on the Family (FOF) staff member, speaking on behalf of the organization, proposing a "panel discussion" on the Bible and Homosexuality for April 25, 2005, only 6 days before the Soulforce MAYDAY event is to take place.

"Dobson is fully aware that this Soulforce MAYDAY event is taking place. Yet, instead of acknowledging this event or answering requests for dialogue, Focus on the Family proposed a ‘debate-style’ panel discussion a few days before our arrival on a few proof-texted Biblical passages they believe address the issue of homosexuality," said Jeff Lutes, Family Therapist and Soulforce co-chair for this action. "It makes me wonder why he would prefer a ‘panel discussion’ than actually meeting with us and our children to see what we are really like."

A statement written and released by Soulforce on March 25, 2004 states, "For Soulforce, the debate about the worth, dignity, and Spirit evident in the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people is over." The statement goes on to say, "If Dobson and Focus on the Family are truly interested in dialogue, we propose, once again, that James Dobson and Jim Daly (new president of FOF) agree to a private dialogue with Soulforce staff, and accept the Soulforce invitation to meet our families at the family picnic right outside the gates of Focus on the Family on May 1."

According to Soulforce, three previous attempts have been made to engage in private dialogue with either James Dobson or Jim Daly, and all attempts have been ignored or refused.

That statement also states, "We also encourage Dr. Dobson to allow our families to tour the Focus on the Family facility on May 2, so our families can meet his staff at Focus on the Family and share lunch with them in the cafeteria. In doing so, James Dobson and the staff at Focus on the Family may come to see that no matter what the structure, a committed and loving family is the greatest gift to society there is."

The full transcript of the statement, a Soulforce booklet documenting anti-gay statements by Dobson, a Soulforce booklet on "What the Bible Says and Doesn’t Say about Homosexuality", as well as documented attempts to dialogue with Dobson and Daly are available on the Soulforce website at www.soulforce.org.

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