SOULFORCE MEDIA ALERT: October 31, 2005
For Immediate Release
Contact: Robyn Murphy, 314-712-7431, firstname.lastname@example.org
For the first time in each of their histories, Soulforce Inc., Dignity USA, and the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches (UFMCC) are co-sponsoring a Global Week of Prayer, November 6-12, calling all members and allies to prayer as an effort to restore religious equality.
The Global Week of Prayer is in response to recent Vatican policies of continued scapegoating of gays rather than dealing directly with the pedophile scandal and the abdication of responsibility within the Church. According to a Sept. 19th Catholic World News Brief "The text, which was approved by Pope Benedict at the end of August, says that homosexual men should not be admitted to seminaries even if they are celibate, because their condition suggests a serious personality disorder which detracts from their ability to serve as ministers."
For Dignity USA, the organization dedicated to equality for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Catholics, this represents a molten moment in the church’s history. "We call on all DignityUSA members and all who support our mission to join us in prayer this week. In answering God’s call, LGBT men and women have served your Church well for many centuries. We ask the Spirit to open our Church today to all of God’s children, to all who are embraced by Christ’s love. We bring our hands together in prayer that our Church will follow Christ’s example to love one another. DignityUSA is delighted and proud to pray side by side with Soulforce and UFMCC," said Debbie Weill, executive director of DignityUSA.
By focusing efforts via a Global Week of Prayer, the groups will bring attention to what is being called a new "Inquisition," by the Vatican. "By calling people to prayer, we are calling people to action. We are calling people to join their words and intentions in a mighty chorus of justice," explained Rev. Elder Nori Rost, the UFMCC liaison for this event. "We believe that by doing so we can ultimately drown out the clamor of homophobia and bigotry that has too long been the song the Vatican sings." Prayer vigils are planned in Denver, Detroit, St. Louis, Venice Florida with other locations joining in throughout the world.
According to UFMCC’s new moderator, Rev. Elder Nancy Wilson, "Each organization has as part of their mission, being called to raise our voices in sacred defiance against religious, political or systematic exclusion. Social justice and religious equality are at our core. Through sponsoring events like the Global Week of Prayer, we make real our call to lift up new generations of remarkable, far-reaching spiritual activists."
Soulforce is proud to be joined by these two prestigious organizations, both of whom work diligently towards ending religious violence against GLBT people. "As activists we too often use prayer as a last resort rather than our first strategy in the face of such bigotry. This is a very exciting moment for us in Soulforce to have MCC and Dignity join us in calling their membership to prayer. We’re very hopeful that this will be the beginning of an ongoing collaboration between these three important organizations", says Kara Speltz, Soulforce Catholic Team Chair.
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. Soulforce was founded in 1998 by Rev. Dr. Mel White, author of Stranger at the Gate, and former ghostwriter for evangelists Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson.