Soulforce Responds to Pat Robertson’s Prayer Campaign and Encourages "Active" Participation to Ensure Equality for All People

Press Release, July 17, 2003
For Immediate Release
Contact: Laura Montgomery Rutt
Cell 717-278-0592 email:Laura@soulforce.org

On Monday, July 14, 2003, televangelist Pat Robertson launched a campaign to encourage his audience to pray for the early retirement of several Supreme Court justices. This “prayer offensive” is in response to the recent decision by the United States Supreme Court overturning both the Texas sodomy law in Lawrence v Texas and the 1986 Supreme Court decision in the Bowers v Hardwick case that upheld Georgia sodomy laws.

Soulforce, a national interfaith movement committed to ending spiritual violence perpetuated by religious policies and teachings against gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) people issued the following statement:

“Asking people to pray for the retirement of Supreme Court justices after the Court overturned the Texas sodomy law, Pat Robertson is, in fact, fueling anti-gay religious bigotry that leads to discrimination, prejudice and spiritual violence.

In the Lawrence v. Texas ruling, the Supreme Court justices awarded to all people what was rightfully theirs to begin with, as the government never belonged in anyone’s bedroom in the first place.

Obviously, Pat Robertson and other religious right conservatives feel they need the US Supreme Court to be able to implement their interpretation of Biblical law in the United States, despite the fact that the laws of the United States are based on the Constitution – not the Bible.

The “miracle” Pat Robertson seeks is, in essence, hoping his God will interfere to undermine equality for people that do not agree with him. And now, Pat Robertson’s anti-gay bias and prejudice not only extends to gays and lesbians, but to Supreme Court justices as well.

We believe this “prayer offensive” is Pat Robertson’s way to continue to fuel anti-gay bigotry disguised as religion. GLBT people and allies should be concerned about conservatives’ attempts to undermine equality and fuel anti-gay bigotry, whatever form it takes.

We believe that the best way to counter this anti-gay bigotry is to take an ACTIVE role to ensure equality for all people, such as getting involved in local Soulforce or PFLAG groups, calling congress people about legislation, contacting elected officials to hold them accountable for their stand on equality, donating to organizations and churches that support GLBT rights, and refusing to be complicit in one’s own oppression.

And despite what Pat Robertson believes, we know that God loves GLBT people just the way we are and that equality for all people will someday be realized.”

For more information, see www.soulforce.org. For media interviews, call 717-278-0592.

——————
Laura Montgomery Rutt
Director of Communications
Soulforce, Inc
Laura@soulforce.org
www.soulforce.org

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.

A Solidarity Plan to Bring Truth to Roberson and FOX in Your Town

March 24, 2000

On March 24 we march on the FOX FAMILY CHANNEL once again. If you can join us in Los Angeles, you are invited. Sign up for the journey. But if you can’t be with us in person, be with us in spirit. You can make a huge difference in your town by working in solidarity with us.

Here’s what the Fox Family Channel says about itself. (Note the number of homes in America that have access to Mr. Robertson’s anti-GLBT rhetoric three-times-daily.)

The Fox Family Channel launched on Saturday, August 15, 1998 in over 72 million homes nationwide. It is a family-targeted basic cable network with a dynamic mix of original movies, specials and series in prime time — and a fun-filled daytime lineup of newly produced and classic series for children. (THEY DON’T MENTION HERE .and 180 minutes daily of Mr. Robertson’s false and inflammatory rhetoric.)

Remember, the Fox Family Channel is different from The FOX NETWORK. The Fox Family Channel is a cable provider and is probably broadcast on the cable system(s) in your town. If you or your group wants to help us end Mr. Robertson’s tragic misinformation campaign, there are all kinds of things you can do:

BEFORE YOU ACT!

Check our "Beware the Fox" Action Page before you do anything. You need to really understand why this is so important before you act. From that page, you will find the history of this campaign, important questions and answers, and samples of Mr. Robertson’s false and inflammatory rhetoric. Quote them when you write.


THE EMAIL RESPONSE! (J) (One J for doing Justice)
Email your complaint directly to the Fox Family Channel:
http://www.foxfamilychannel.com/entryframe.htm
(Pull down COMMENTS from the SITE INDEX. On the FORM that appears, pull down 700 CLUB from the GENERAL COMMENTS field. Write your complaints and submit them.)


THE TELEPHONE RESPONSE! (JJ)
Telephone Fox and tell them your complaints directly. Ask that Mr. Cronin meet with Mel White and The Committee to Bring Truth To Fox.
(The Main Office Line) 1-310-235-5100
(The Complaint Line) 1-877-98-FAMILY


THE POST OFFICE RESPONSE! (JJJ)
Write a personal letter (use letterhead if you have it) expressing your complaints and asking him to meet with Mel White and the Committee to Bring Truth To Fox:
Richard Cronin, President/CEO The Fox Family Channel
10960 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90024
Fax It ALSO: Main Office Fax: 310-235-9560


THE FULL MONTY! Organizing locally to make a difference nationally! (JJJJ)
If you really want to have an impact on the Fox Family Channel, respond in all three ways above (on your own) and then organize your group (or create a group) to do the following:

  1. Find the local cable company that carries the FOX FAMILY CHANNEL in your town.
  2. Find the name, address, phone, fax, email, web page of that cable company.
  3. Find the manager or program manager’s name of that cable company.
  4. Go to our web page, www.soulforce.org and click on "Beware the Fox".
  5. At our web page you will find helpful background information, questions and answers, and a list of quotes illustrating Mr. Robertson’s rhetoric.
  6. Using the material from our Soulforce web page, phone, fax, or write a letter to your cable manager (or even better, a petition signed by many) saying the following:

    • You want to meet with your local Cable Company management to discuss the rhetoric of Pat Robertson. (We’ll provide you videos, transcripts, and all the material you need to make your case.)
    • You want to protest Pat Robertson’s rhetoric of intolerance (seen three times daily on the 700 Club on the Fox Family Channel).
    • You want him/her to write a letter to Richard Cronin, Fox Family President, to support a meeting with Mel White and the COMMITTEE TO BRING TRUTH TO FOX, to discuss this rhetoric as they have requested.
    • You want time locally and nationally to respond to Mr. Robertson’s rhetoric.
  7. Send copies of that letter to:

    • Richard Cronin, President/CEO, the Fox Family Channel, 10960 Wilshire Blvd.,
      Suite 2200, Los Angeles, CA. 90024.
    • Pat Robertson, CBN, 977 Centerville Turnpike, Virginia Beach, VA 23463.
    • Mel White, Soulforce, PO Box 4467, Laguna Beach, CA 92652
  8. If the Cable Manager will meet with you and your group, do it. We’ll send you all the resources you need including video tape samples and transcripts.
  9. If he/she refuses to meet with you, prepare a Soulforce Direct Action at the local Cable Company offices on March 24 to coincide with our March on Fox.
  10. Notify your local media of your direct action and its solidarity with our Soulforce action on March 24. (We can provide you a complete press kit to copy and distribute).
  11. We’ll also provide you talking points for the direct action, copy for signs and banners, guidelines for a nonviolent direct action, etc.
  12. If you have other ideas or suggestions, be creative. We need to help end this tragic campaign of misinformation before more reputations are ruined, more families destroyed, more churches divided, more lives lost.

Whatever you do, THANKS!


Soulforce, Inc.

Link to FOX Soulforce Action Page

FOXFAMILY Executives Agree to Negotiate

March 24 Protest and Civil Disobedience Postponed

Soulforce News Alert, Wednesday, March 15, 2000

(Los Angeles) On Friday, March 3, the Soulforce Committee to Bring Truth to Pat Robertson and to the Fox Family Channel received an email from Mel Woods, President and C.O.O. of FOXFAMILY Worldwide, parent company of Fox Family. "I have visited your Internet site," Mr. Woods wrote, "and would be very happy to meet with you and discuss your issues."

"We were elated," admits Rabbi Denise Eger of Congregation Kol Ami. "We had tried for eighteen months to get the Fox Family Channel to take seriously our concerns about the tragic effects of Mr. Robertson’s anti-homosexual campaign. To give negotiations a chance, we have postponed our direct action (and possible civil disobedience) scheduled for 12Noon, March 24, at FOXFAMILY’S headquarters."

March 8, Rabbi Eger and the Revs. Ed Bacon and Mel White sat down with Mr. Woods and Ms. Donna Cunningham, FOXFAMILY’S Executive VP, for a discussion of the anti-homosexual campaign of Pat Robertson’s 700 Club (seen three times daily on the Fox Family Channel.)

"We have good news," reported the Rev. Ed Bacon, Rector, All Saints Episcopal in Pasadena. "FOXFAMILY took us seriously. We met with management of the company. They listened attentively. They agreed to consider some of our requests and confirmed that the company does offer domestic partnership health benefits. The dialogue is ongoing and we thank FOXFAMILY for that opportunity."

"Our next meeting is March 24, the day we had scheduled for the protest," added Mel White, Co-Chair of the Committee and a Founder of Soulforce, Inc. "Instead of risking arrest on the outside, we’ll be negotiating on the inside. And though we oppose Mr. Robertson’s anti-homosexual campaign, we aren’t there to censor Mr. Robertson or to deny him his First Amendment rights.

"Our goal is to help Pat, his viewers, and our friends at FOXFAMILY to understand the truth about sexual minorities and to help end Robertson’s tragic misinformation campaign against us. This has proven to be a long process but we’re willing to take it one step at a time. However, if negotiations stall, we will be forced to take direct action and even civil disobedience to jump-start them once again. Stay tuned!"

Contact:
Rev. Frank Wulf (310) 208-6869
Rev. Nancy Wilson (310) 854-9110
Rev. Ed Bacon (626) 796-1172
Rabbi Denise Eger (310) 248-6320

OK TO FORWARD, PRINT, OR PUBLISH WITHOUT PERMISSION

Link to FOX Soulforce Action Page

Clergy Close Down Fox Family Headquarters, Demand TV Time to Respond to Anti-Gay Rhetoric

A Soulforce Press Release, February 24, 2000

Seen Three Hours Daily on the Fox Family Channel, Pat Robertson’s 700 Club Targeted By Clergy Protest

(Los Angeles, CA.) Refusing to be intimidated by a rare winter thunderstorm, twenty-six Christian ministers and Jewish rabbis waded through the flooded streets of West Los Angeles on their cold, wet march to the international headquarters of the Fox Family Channel.

"We’re seeking justice for God’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered children," said a smiling Frank Wulf, the United Methodist Chaplain at UCLA who hosted a pre-march luncheon at the University Religious Conference. "A little rain won’t stop us."

With police and curious spectators looking on, uniformed security guards blocked all entrances to the high rise glass and marble headquarters of Rupert Murdoch’s Fox Family Channel and its partner, Saban Entertainment at 10960 Wilshire Boulevard.

"For eighteen months we’ve tried to get an appointment with Fox Family executives to discuss our serious concerns about Pat Robertson’s anti-homosexual rhetoric on their channel," explained Ed Bacon, the Rector of All Saints Episcopal in Pasadena, California. "Now they would rather close down the entire business than meet with us to work out a solution that would satisfy everyone including Mr. Robertson."

With guards blocking all entrances to the public lobby there was no way for the clergy protestors to access the elevators that would carry them to their uninvited meeting with Richard Cronin, the President and CEO of the Fox Family Channel, in his offices on the eighth floor.

"If they want to close down their business, then let’s help them," said Dr. Mel White, a Co-Chair of the Clergy Committee to Bring Truth to Fox and the founder of Soulforce, a network of people of faith seeking justice for sexual minorities.

Immediately, the clergy formed two groups, locked arms at both entrances to the building, and began to sing "We shall overcome" led by Rabbi Denise Eger of Congregation Kol Ami. Security guards, surprised and enraged by the turn of events, unlocked the doors and began to shove and curse the clergy.

"We were stunned by their violent response to our nonviolent protest. They were thugs," said the Rev. Nancy Wilson, an elder in the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches and pastor of MCCLA. "We are only asking two things of Fox," she explained. "We want a meeting with Mr. Robertson (which he refuses) and we want TV time on Fox Family to respond to Mr. Robertson’s misinformation campaign."

Carrying "Beware the Fox" signs and singing songs of the civil rights movement, the clergy closed down the Fox Family headquarters for more than one hour. Police were in place to arrest the demonstrators. Police vans arrived to carry them away. But Fox Family officials decided to leave the building closed rather than suffer the negative publicity that would follow the arrest of two dozen respected pastors, priests, and rabbis protesting Pat Robertson’s anti-family rhetoric on their "family" channel.

"They’re hoping that we’ll just go away," Mel White said quietly to a Canadian reporter. "But Gandhi and King teach us that our ‘soul force’ search for justice must be relentless. On Friday, March 24, we shall return and we’re inviting our friends and allies to join us. We’re going to train hundreds of nonviolent demonstrators to close down the Fox Family Channel once a month until they take us seriously. Pat Robertson’s anti-homosexual misinformation campaign leads to terrible suffering for families all across the nation. We must help cut off that suffering at its source."

To Contact Mel White or The Committee Offices:
Phone: (949) 455-0999
Fax: (949) 455-0959
Email: BewareTheFox@soulforce.org

Contact:
Rev. Frank Wulf (310) 208-6869
Rev. Nancy Wilson (310) 854-9110
Rev. Ed Bacon (626) 796-1172
Rabbi Denise Eger (310) 248-6320

OK TO FORWARD, PRINT, OR PUBLISH WITHOUT PERMISSION

Link to FOX Soulforce Action Page

Hero of the Civil Rights Movement to Lead March on Fox Family Channel

Soulforce Press Release February 22, 2000

James Lawson, Dr. King’s "Soul Mate in Nonviolence" Heads Clergy Protest of Anti-Homosexual Rhetoric

(LOS ANGELES, CA.) The hero of THE CHILDREN, David Halberstam’s prize-winning history of the civil rights movement, is convinced that seeking justice for sexual minorities is "the next civil rights frontier." The Rev. Dr. James Lawson, Co-Chair with Mel White of the Committee to Bring Truth to Pat Robertson and the Fox Family Channel, believes that "Gay and lesbian Americans face an even more difficult struggle than we African-Americans faced. We had our families and our churches to support us. They have neither."

Dr. Lawson, one of King’s closest associates, trained the young people who revolutionized the civil rights movement in the 1960s with their sit-ins, freedom rides, and nonviolent marches. "The principles of Gandhian nonviolence helped us end segregation in the 60s," Lawson explains. "Now it’s time to apply those principles on behalf of justice for sexual minorities."

"Dr. Lawson’s decision to support our GLBT struggle for justice is a gift from God," states Mel White, Co-Chair of Soulforce, Inc., a network of people of faith determined to apply the principles of nonviolence to the liberation of sexual minorities. "Jim Lawson’s lifetime experience as a civil rights activist, his committment to Gandhi’s ‘soul force,’ his gifts as speaker and teacher, his connections with other justice and peace movements around the globe, and his deeply held faith that our Creator seeks justice for all could renew and redirect our entire GLBT movement."

At a 12Noon luncheon and a 1:30 press conference, Wednesday, February 23, in Westwood, Dr. Lawson will explain why he’s leading dozens of interfaith clergy in protesting the anti-homosexual rhetoric of Pat Robertson’s 700 Club, seen three times daily on the Fox Family Channel. Following the press conference, Lawson will lead the clergy on a march to the Fox Family world headquarters to present their case against Robertson’s "rhetoric of intolerance."

"For eighteen months Fox executives have refused to meet with us," Lawson explains. "It’s too bad. We’re only trying to help them understand why (with Pat Robertson featured three hours daily) their ‘family channel’ is no longer safe for America’s families. We aren’t trying to embarrass or censor Fox Family or Mr. Robertson. We just want them to hear the truth, that homosexuals are God’s children, too. Mr. Robertson’s anti-homosexual campaign is not only untrue, it leads to discrimination, suffering, and even death."

Dr. Lawson is convinced that "Mr. Robertson’s uses anti-homosexual rhetoric to raise money and mobilize volunteers. He misquotes the Bible to support his false and divisive views. It’s nothing new. Southern preachers like Robertson were misusing the Bible to demean and demonize black Americans in the 1960s just like they’re misusing the Bible to demean and demonize gay Americans today."

Members of the Press are invited to lunch with Dr. Lawson and the other concerned clergy 12Noon, February 23, at the University Religious Conference at UCLA, 900 Hilgard Ave., Westwood, CA. The Press Conference is at 1:30 followed immediately by the four block march to Fox Family headquarters at 10960 Wilshire Blvd. If Fox executives continue to refuse to meet with the clergy, the clergy have promised an immediate nonviolent direct action against Fox and a nationwide campaign to boycott Fox Family and its sponsors.

Contact: MEL WHITE, Co-Chair (949) 455-0999 or RevMel@aol.com.

PLEASE FORWARD, POST, PRINT, CELEBRATE!!!

Link to FOX Soulforce Action Page

FOXFAMILY Worldwide Condemned by Christian, Jewish, Muslim Clergy

FOXFAMILY WORLDWIDE CONDEMNED BY CHRISTIAN, JEWISH, MUSLIM CLERGY
Press Release, February 17, 2000

Press Conference and March on Fox Headquarters Announced To Protest the "Anti-Family Rhetoric" of Fox Co-Chair, Pat Robertson

(Los Angles, CA.) On February 23, 2000, interfaith clergy from across Southern California will announce a national campaign against "FOX-ANTI-FAMILY programming." After a press conference at UCLA, the clergy will attempt to present their case to Fox executives in an uninvited visit to FOXFAMILY headquarters.

"For two years we’ve tried to get Fox executives to hear our case against the false and inflammatory rhetoric of Pat Robertson and his 700 Club," explains Dr. James Lawson, Pastor-Emeritus of Holman United Methodist Church and Co-Chair of the Committee to Bring Truth to FOXFAMILY Worldwide. "They have refused. We wanted to settle this quietly. Now, we feel a moral obligation to warn parents that programming on the Fox Family Channel is dangerous to the spiritual and moral health of their children."

In 1997, Pat Robertson, a Christian talk show host and founder of the Christian Coalition, sold his "Family Channel" to Rupert Murdoch’s Fox Kids Worldwide for $1.9 billion. In 1998, Fox partnered with Saban Entertainment to launch the Fox Family Channel. Terms called for Robertson to remain as co-chairman of the Fox Family Channel and for Robertson’s 700 Club to continue airing 2-3 times daily.

"With all the good things Mr. Robertson has to say, his 700 Club still leaks toxic moral waste into the minds and hearts of America’s families," claims Dr. Mel White, another Committee Co-Chair. "We are afraid that Fox executives (contract bound to keep Mr. Robertson on the air) are not monitoring his dangerous rhetoric. We have two years of evidence in print and in video that Mr. Robertson’s attacks on people who disagree with his fundamentalist views are dangerously un-American and anti-family."

At the 1:30 Press Conference the Committee will provide media representatives a complete archive of Robertson’s "rhetoric of intolerance" in video and in print. At 2PM, the clergy will walk together to the FOXFAMILY headquarters at 10960 Wilshire carrying their case against Robertson and their specific demands to Fox. Although Fox executives have refused to meet with the clergy, the COMMITTEE hopes that this march will prove their sincere concern for America’s families and motivate Fox officials to discuss ways to resolve this matter amicably.

Media, other clergy, and Fox executives are invited to join The Clergy Committee at 12Noon, February 23 for a catered lunch at the University Religious Conference at UCLA, 900 Hilgard Ave., Westwood, CA. The case against Mr. Robertson’s "rhetoric of intolerance" will be reviewed at that time. The Press Conference is scheduled for 1:30 at the same location. At 2PM the clergy invite the media to join them on the three block walk to FOXFAMILY Worldwide at 10960 Wilshire Blvd.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO JOIN THE COMMITTEE FOR LUNCH OR WOULD LIKE MORE INFORMATION OR A PRESS KIT WITH VIDEOS IN ADVANCE CONTACT: DR. MEL WHITE
Ph: (949) 455-0999
Email: revmel@aol.com

Link to FOX Soulforce Action Page