A Call to Action From Phil Lawson
Fifty-eight years ago, in 1950, I attended my first non-violent direct action with Bayard Rustin and George Houser who organized the Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR) so that youth and young adults would come to Washington D.C. to confront the discrimination and segregation laws in the nation’s capital.
In April 2008, as a proud Board Member of Soulforce, I will participate in non-violent direct actions at the United Methodist Church General Conference in Ft. Worth, Texas.
In my many years of ministry in the United Methodist Church, from welfare rights organizing, to the Black Panthers in Kansas City, to living wage marches, from jail in Kansas City protesting police injustices, to jail in Oakland for anti-apartheid, to jail in Cleveland at the 2000 United Methodist General Conference, to the 2008 United Methodist General Conference, it has been my great honor to be in solidarity with the pain and suffering of LGBT-Queer communities. The oppression of LGBT-Queer communities by the United Methodist Church through its false Declaration that homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teachings, that such persons are not eligible for membership, or to the rights granted heterosexual persons such as the right to marry and the right to become ministers – indeed, the church denies LGBT-Queer communities the Right to Be!
Christian teachings have been historically wrong about many human conditions, from slavery, to poverty, to drinking strong drinks, to divorced persons being ministers, to women’s rights to be full human beings, from domestic violence, to war. According to Christian teachings, Blacks were not even human beings!
The United Methodist Church is in sin as long as it continues to oppress the LGBT -Queer communities. As long as the church is in sin, I will be in solidarity with my sisters and brothers of Soulforce in non-violent direct action declaring Justice – Not Just Us!
-Rev. Phil Lawson
Photo courtesy of East Bay Housing Organizations (EBHO)