SOULFORCE MEDIA ALERT: February 7, 2006
For Immediate Release
Contact: Robyn Murphy, 612-965-0838, firstname.lastname@example.org
Rev. Dr. Mel White, 434-384-7696, email@example.com
(Lynchburg, VA) Today Soulforce, the national justice organization founded by Rev. Dr. Mel White, announced expansion plans by naming Jeff Lutes of Austin, Texas as their new executive director. In addition, Rev. Dr. Mel White was named President of the Board, freeing him to expand his visibility and that of Soulforce. The once ghostwriter for evangelists Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, White will soon be embarking on a speaking tour for his fall book release, Religion Gone Bad: A Call to Resist Fundamentalism (working title).
As an internationally recognized cleric and activist, White will continue as primary spokesperson and fundraiser in Soulforce’s mission to halt homophobia at its source. White asserts that "The evil intent of fundamentalist Christianity is to impose their worldview on all Americans, a worldview that would deny rights and dignity to all gays, lesbians, bisexual, and transgender people. Our new infrastructure will equip us to better equip activists for the critical work of stopping this form of religious violence. Under Jeff’s leadership, we’ll be taking this to the streets like never before."
As Soulforce’s new Executive Director, Jeff Lutes, MS, LPC, will oversee the day-to-day operations of Soulforce. In accepting the position, Jeff said, "I believe the message of Soulforce is visionary in that it has become clear we can not win this battle with legislative actions alone. We must create a critical mass of people who are fed up with bigotry, prejudice and discrimination and who are willing to speak out in the media and engage in other forms of nonviolent resistance. We must be on the offensive in confronting the religious and political assault on our civil rights, and not just in the defensive position of fighting the next anti-gay piece of legislation."
Soulforce also adds two new members to our Board of Directors, prominent civil rights activists Dr. Rodney Powell. M.D. and Rev. Phil Lawson. Powell commented, "I believe Soulforce is the most promising GLBT organization to influence and redirect the enormous energy, intellectual capacity, resources and power that exist among gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender persons, allied persons, organizations, and institutions to resist, oppose and stop the threat of Christian fundamentalism."
Soulforce’s next action includes the Equality Ride, a seven-week bus tour taking 35 GLBT youth to nineteen colleges that have anti-gay enrollment policies.
Jeff Lutes Bio:
Jeff is a licensed professional counselor in Austin, Texas who has supervised over 100 therapists and directed several inpatient and outpatient psychiatric-treatment programs in a variety of clinical settings, including hospitals and nonprofit counseling centers. He has been in private practice for many years, specializing in couples and family therapy. He has written numerous newspaper articles on the issues facing LGBT people and same-gender families and presents research-based workshops on strengthening relationships. He is a member of the American Counseling Association (ACA), the American Association of Pastoral Counselors (AAPC), and the Council on Contemporary Families (CCF). He is a lay worship leader in his church and a community leader able to organize sustained nonviolent resistance to religious and political assaults on LGBT people and their families. He has been a volunteer for Soulforce since the first direct action in 1999. He and his partner, Gary Stein, are the proud parents of a 9-year-old son.
Soulforce’s purpose is freedom for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people from religious and political oppression through the practice of relentless nonviolent resistance. For more information go to www.soulforce.org.