Gays who Grew up Southern Baptist to Distribute Pro-Gay Bible Studies at 2005 Southern Baptist Convention

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SOULFORCE MEDIA ALERT: June 17, 2005
For Immediate Release
Contact: Jamie McDaniel
Soulforce Southern Baptist Team Co-chair
Cell: 859-230-5625 jamie@soulforce.org
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(Nashville) – The 2005 annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) will take place in Nashville, TN and a select group of gays and lesbians from Soulforce, Inc. who grew up Southern Baptist will be on hand June 21 distributing pro-gay Bible studies and attempting to dialogue with Southern Baptists.

"A lot of gays and lesbians who grew up in Southern Baptist fundamentalism leave the denomination and never look back," said Jamie McDaniel, a gay Baptist who serves as co-chair of the Soulforce Southern Baptist Denominational Team. "But on Tuesday, June 21, we will be present at the annual meeting because we want the next generation of gays growing up Southern Baptist to know that they are ok and that God loves them exactly as they are – despite what their leaders might tell them."

"Southern Baptists leaders fervently promote the belief that homosexuals can and should change into heterosexuals, while gay people of faith testify that we became healthy and whole once we accepted our sexual orientation,” said Adam Riley, a 24-year-old gay male who grew up Baptist, attended ex-gay ministries while in college, and now lives in Nashville. "Southern Baptist leaders also attempt to rally their congregations to defeat nearly every piece of legislation that would help gay and lesbian Americans gain equality," added Riley.

In an attempt to reach the next generation of Southern Baptists, Soulforce volunteers will work to distribute the 48 page study guide geared towards youth and youth ministers entitled Christian Youth: An Important Voice in the Present Struggle for Gay Rights in America. The study is available for download at www.soulforce.org/youthstudy

The other booklet to be handed out is Rev. Dr. Mel White’s What The Bible Says – And Doesn’t Say – About Homosexuality. Mel White is a co-founder of Soulforce who, prior to accepting himself as a gay man, underwent decades of reparative therapy. In 1994 he authored the book Stranger at the Gate: To Be Gay and Christian in America. The booklet What The Bible Says – And Doesn’t Say – About Homosexuality is available for download at www.soulforce.org/biblesays

Soulforce volunteers will be distributing the materials outside the Gaylord Entertainment Center on June 21 from 8:00am – 5:00pm and will be available for media interviews.

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