Christian Youth: An Important Voice in the Present Struggle for Gay Rights in America

by James Deaton, Jamie McDaniel, and Jacob Reitan

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This 48-page booklet was prepared especially for the Soulforce action at the Southern Baptist Convention. It contains two Bible studies, an article on the failings of ex-gay ministries, open letters to Southern Baptist youth from young Christian leaders in other denominations, and more!

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You can download a PDF file of Christian Youth: An Important Voice in the Present Struggle for Gay Rights in America.

Order Hard Copies Online
You can order hard copies of Christian Youth: An Important Voice in the Present Struggle for Gay Rights in America at the cost of $6.00 per copy from the Soulforce Store.

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Indicate the number of copies needed and send a donation of $6.00 per booklet to:

Soulforce
PO Box 3195
Lynchburg, VA 24503

Bulk Orders
For inquires about discounted bulk orders (more than 20 copies) please send an email to gary@soulforce.org.

Video from the Press Conference Outside The Southern Baptist Convention

The Ex-Gay Survivor’s Conference took place June 29 – July 1 in Irvine, California.

Survivor’s Initiative – Southern Baptist Convention

[googlevideo=5765073255230473421] 

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Rev. Lonnie Latham: Another Victim of the Southern Baptist Lie Regarding Homosexuality

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SOULFORCE MEDIA ALERT: January 6, 2006
For Immediate Release
Contact: Robyn Murphy, Director of Public Relations & Media
612-965-0838, robyn@soulforce.org
*********************************************

(Lynchburg, VA) In response to today’s news that the Rev. Lonnie Latham, a prominent figure in the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) and senior pastor of South Tulsa Baptist Church, was arrested Tuesday for propositioning a male undercover police officer, Soulforce founder Rev. Dr. Mel White says, "No one should have to come out via an undercover sting operation. That is its own evil. Until the Southern Baptist Convention ends their spiritual violence against gay and lesbian people, tragedies like this will continue."

Soulforce exists as an organization to end spiritual violence against LGBT people. "The false anti-gay teachings of the Southern Baptist Convention have claimed yet another victim," said Robyn Murphy, Director of Public Relations and Media, for Soulforce. "Many people are attacking Rev. Latham for his hypocrisy, but instead we should be asking ‘what informs that hypocrisy’? The answer is the SBC’s vicious and non-stop campaign of defamation against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people and same-gender families."

Jamie McDaniel, a spokesperson for Soulforce who works to change the anti-gay polices of the SBC, said, "It’s unconscionable that so many, like Rev. Latham, have never been told the truth that they can live with dignity and express their God-given sexuality in ways that are open, honest, loving, and life-affirming. Trapped by Southern Baptist misinformation, many people of faith think their only option is to live a dark and secretive double-life. The SBC needs to be held accountable for causing this kind of needless suffering."

The Southern Baptist Convention, with over 15 million members, is the 2nd largest denomination in the United States. Southern Baptist teachings are a primary source of misinformation about homosexuality and homosexual people. Southern Baptist leaders also attempt to rally their congregations to defeat nearly every piece of legislation that would help LGBT Americans gain equality. In the past, the Southern Baptist Convention simply condemned homosexuals with anti-gay rhetoric, but in recent years Southern Baptists have stated their intention to "minister" to gays and lesbians by promoting ex-gay programs and so-called "reparative" therapy.


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.

Soulforce Action at the Southern Baptist Convention in Nashville, June 21-22, 2005

Dear Soulforce Friends,Laura Rottman and Gene Hannold distribute Soulforce booklets in Nashville

On Tuesday, June 22, six volunteers with Soulforce worked to distribute over 500 pro-gay Bible studies outside the Gaylord Entertainment Center in Nashville. We arrived at 7:30am and worked until 2:00pm, handing out the booklets and talking with Southern Baptists attending the annual meeting of the SBC. We were interviewed by all four local Nashville TV stations and several newspapers reported on our actions.

On the previous night, the local GLBT community in Nashville organized a "Faithful Witness" where approximately 100 people turned out to march around the Gaylord Entertainment Center seven times while holding candles and singing.

Jamie McDaniel
Soulforce Southern Baptist Team Co-chair


More About the Action in Nashville:

Photos from Tuesday, June 22

Messenger-Inquirer Article: Two Sides of Homosexuality Debate Present at Convention

Oklahoman Article: Caution Urged With Schools

Press Release: Gays Who Grew Up Southern Baptist to Distribute Pro-Gay Bible Studies at 2005 Southern Baptist Convention

Soulforce Booklets Distributed in Nashville:

Christian Youth: An Important Voice in the Present Struggle for Gay Rights in America

What the Bible Says – And Doesn’t Say – About Homosexuality

Messenger-Inquirer Article: "Two Sides of Homosexuality Debate Present at Convention"

Karen Owen
Messenger-Inquirer, 06/25/2005

Outside the Southern Baptist Convention in Nashville this week, one young man in a suit was handing out a Bible study.

There was nothing remarkable about that, except the study argues the Bible does not condemn homosexuality.

Most of the 11,000 Baptists streaming into the Gaylord Entertainment Center Tuesday morning ignored him. After all, other people on the sidewalk were thrusting leaflets at them promoting everything from Christian comedians to vegetarianism.

If they bothered to look at this man’s booklet, many of the church members would have considered it heretical.

Inside the exhibits area, two members of a task force were publicizing efforts to encourage homosexuals to leave the gay lifestyle and churches to be more "compassionate, caring and redemptive."

The man handing out the Bible study was a member of Soulforce, a gay-rights group that is "committed to ending spiritual violence perpetuated by religious policies and teachings."

The group is led by Mel White, a former ghostwriter for the Rev. Jerry Falwell.

The Way Out, the Baptist task force, is made up of ministries affiliated with Exodus International, a group that promotes "freedom from homosexuality through the power of Jesus Christ."

"Exodus is evangelical but nondenominational by nature," said McKrae Game, a Way Out volunteer from Spartansburg, S.C. "The Southern Baptists for a long time, until recently, have not taken a very compassionate approach, and it’s driven people away.

"Not all Southern Baptist churches have been won over to the compassionate approach."

Game and Richard Holloman, an Evansville native who is involved in an ex-gay ministry in Nashville, both say they have left homosexuality.

A Soulforce booklet says there’s no reliable scientific evidence ex-gay ministries succeed in changing an individual’s sexual orientation.

"The reason why ex-gay ministries fail is because God created and loves gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people exactly as they are without reservation," says Christian Youth: An Important Voice in the Present Struggle for Gay Rights in America, a Soulforce publication.

Game said he left homosexuality 14 years ago and married nine years ago. He has two children. "I love my wife more deeply than I ever was able to understand loving a man," he said.

"Everybody wants to define what change looks like." It doesn’t mean a person will no longer be tempted. "Scripture does not promise any Christian to live without temptation."

With Christ’s help some people change instantly, Holloman said, but for most people, including him, it is an ongoing process.

After nine years, his same-sex attractions are only a "flicker," he said.

What the Bible Says — And Doesn’t Say — About Homosexuality, which White wrote, points out that Jesus says nothing about same-sex behavior. Neither do the Jewish prophets.

"There are just six or seven verses out of the Bible’s million verses that refer to same-sex behavior in any way," White writes, "and none of them refer to homosexual orientation as we understand it today."

God’s model in scripture for human sexuality is clear, Holloman and Game said: One man and one woman together for a lifetime. The Bible has nothing to say about how to live a healthy life as a homosexual, the men said. It has plenty to say about healthy heterosexuality.

"We’re either going to believe the word is God-breathed or it’s not," Game said. "That’s where the church is divided."

God would not create someone to live in a way that’s contrary to His word, Holloman said.

Science has not proven genetics program people to be homosexual, even though "openly gay men" conducted the studies, he said.

Soulforce quotes the American Psychiatric Association that reparative therapy like Exodus recommends to change a person’s sexual orientation can lead to depression, anxiety, self-hate and self-destructive behavior.

Such ministries only obscure the true message of the gospel and drive homosexuals "away from Christ rather than to him," the guide for young Christians says.

"Their claim is they don’t have peace and joy because we don’t let them have it," Game said.

If a person is in a right relationship with God, though, "You should be able to have peace and joy, regardless."

"We believe the (homosexual) behavior is contrary to God’s plan," Holloman said. "At the same time, Jesus died for all people. We want to share the love of God without compromising the word of God."

"Exodus is not about seeking out people who do not want to change," Game said. "We spend all our time helping people that want out."

Karen Owen, 691-7304,

kowen@messenger-inquirer.com

www.messenger-inquirer.com/columnists/owen/8584534.htm

 

Nashville Photo Album: June 22, 2005


Jamie McDaniel, Soulforce Southern Baptist Team Co-chair

Gene Hannold talks with the Faith Riders

Blair and Adam

Adam and Laura hand out pro-gay Bible studies

The 2005 annual meeting of the SBC

The 2005 annual meeting of the SBC

Laura Rottman and Gene Hannold hand out Soulforce booklets

Blair and Adam talk with Southern Baptists

Cris Elkins talks with a Southern Baptist messenger

We talk with Southern Baptist young people

We talk with Southern Baptist young people

Laura Rottman and Gene Hannold

Adam and Blair talking with Southern Baptists

Adam and Blair sharing their stories with the next generation of Southern Baptists

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
******************************************

(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.

Soulforce Report on Southern Baptist Action in Indiana – Anti-Gay Rhetoric Continues

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Soulforce Press Release, June 17, 2004
For Immediate Release
Contact: Laura Montgomery Rutt
Cell 717-278-0592 email:Laura@soulforce.org
****************************************************

(Indianapolis) – For the 5th year in a row, Soulforce volunteers stood vigil outside the Southern Baptist Convention’s annual meeting to confront the untruths perpetuated by Southern Baptist resolutions and teachings against gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people. The annual meeting, which took place in Indianapolis, attracted about 80 Soulforce volunteers, who gathered in Indy to try to help change the hearts and minds of the Southern Baptists and empower GLBT people to stand up against their own oppression.

For three days, in the heat and the rain, Southern Baptist messengers encountered Soulforce volunteers at the street corners and sidewalks, handing out literature and booklets, singing songs, and talking about the spiritual violence wrought by Southern Baptist rhetoric and policies.

Southern Baptist Convention passed resolutions supporting the anti-gay Federal Marriage Amendment (FMA), which is intended to write discrimination into the U.S. Constitution against GLBT couples and their children by defining marriage as between one man and one woman. Earlier in the day, President Bush spoke by satellite praising Southern Baptists for their conservative views, and urging them to support the FMA.

In addition, the Southern Baptist Convention pulled out of the Baptist World Alliance (BWA) because the SBC felt the BWA was increasingly anti-American and too tolerant of liberal theology, by accepting the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship as a member in 2003.

On the final evening, Rev. Steve Gaines, pastor of First Baptist Church in Gardendale, Ala., railed against homosexuality, by saying, "God characterized homosexuality as an abomination in Leviticus 18, and He sandwiched it right between adultery, child sacrifice and having sex with an animal." He also urged Southern Baptists to contact their congresspeople to lobby for approval of the Federal Marriage Amendment.

“The SBC continues to be a primary source of spiritual violence against us. It saddens and sickens me that they are so full of fear and condemnation. I know God loves gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people just the way we are, and some day, full equality will happen, and the church will have to apologize to us,” said Karen Weldin, former Southern Baptist, graduate of Oklahoma Baptist University, and Director of Operations for Soulforce. “We will be in Nashville in 2005 for the next SBC annual meeting to continue our relentless confrontation of the shameful untruths.

“Our hope in changing the SBC lies with the youth,” said Jamie McDaniel, co-chair of the Soulforce

Southern Baptist Denominational Team. Soulforce volunteers distributed a 48 page study guide geared toward Southern Baptist youth, entitled: Christian Youth – an Important Voice in the Present Struggle for Gay Rights in America. The guide was written by Soulforce youth and young adults and is available at www.soulforce.org/youthstudy

Pictures taken at the action can be viewed at www.soulforce.org.

A Hundred Soulforce Volunteers Arrive in Indy to Spread Truth to Southern Baptists about Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender People

Plans include Vigils, Signs, Banners, Pictures, Speakers, Youth Study Guide and more, June 14-16, 2004

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Soulforce MEDIA ALERT, June 13 2004
For Immediate Release
Contact: Laura Montgomery Rutt
Cell 717-278-0592 email:Laura@soulforce.org
****************************************************

(Indianapolis) – For the 5th year in a row, Soulforce volunteers will be a presence at the Southern Baptist Convention’s annual meeting to hold Southern Baptist leaders accountable for statements and practices against gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) people. The pastor’s convention and annual meeting is being held at the Indianapolis Convention Center, June 14-16, 2004.

WHO: 100 Volunteers from Soulforce, Inc., a national interfaith organization committed to ending spiritual violence perpetuated by religious policies and teachings against gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) people.

WHAT: Soulforce will be holding vigils, passing out information, and inviting people to hear an evangelical woman speak about the suicide of her lesbian daughter.

WHERE: In front of the Indianapolis Convention Center – Monday – Wednesday, June 14-16

WHEN: Vigils begin each morning by 8am, Mon. – Wed., June 14-16, and follow the times that Southern Baptists will be exiting and entering the Convention Center.

Speaker Mary Lou Wallner will be telling her story Monday, July 14 at 8:30am, 1:00pm, and 5:15pm – outside the convention center on Maryland Ave. at the Capitol Commons Park. She is an evangelical Christian whose lesbian daughter committed suicide.

Soulforce youth will be distributing a 48 page study guide throughout the event geared toward Southern Baptist youth, entitled: Christian Youth – an Important Voice in the Present Struggle for Gay Rights in America.

WHY: The purpose of this action is to empower GLBT people, change the hearts and minds of the Southern Baptists, and to let gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people inside and outside the church know that God loves them just the way they are.

Although no civil disobedience is planned, those who wish to participate must take part in a nonviolent civil disobedience training being held at the Comfort Inn and Suites, 530 South Capitol Avenue, on Monday night, June 14, at 6:30 pm.

MEDIA PHOTO OPPORTUNITY: Vigils will be held with signs, banners, and pictures of Southern Baptist leaders who perpetuate untruths about GLBT people. Media are encouraged and welcomed to attend any of the events.

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

Soulforce to counter Southern Baptist Leaders蔘サ Violent Rhetoric against Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender people with Education and Compassion, June 13 – 16

Southern Baptist women invited to hear evangelical mother speak about losing her lesbian daughter; Youth to receive 48 page study guide.

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Soulforce Press Release, June 9, 2004
For Immediate Release
Contact: Laura Montgomery Rutt
Cell: 717-278-0592 Laura@soulforce.org
****************************************************

(Indianapolis) – For the 5th year in a row, Soulforce volunteers will be present at the Southern Baptist Convention’s annual meeting to hold Southern Baptist leaders accountable for statements and practices against gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) people. The annual meeting is being held in Indianapolis, June 14-16, 2004.

“A hundred Soulforce volunteers will once again be on the front lines of the Southern Baptist Convention’s annual meeting to confront untruths and lovingly challenge Southern Baptists to learn more about GLBT people,” said Jamie McDaniel, co-chair of the Soulforce Southern Baptist Denominational Team. “We encourage Southern Baptist youth and leaders to study the scriptures from more than one perspective, to get to know someone who is gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender, and talk to family members who have lost a child to suicide and thought they were doing the ‘right’ thing by rejecting their child.”

Soulforce volunteers will be distributing a 48 page study guide geared toward Southern Baptist youth, entitled: Christian Youth – an Important Voice in the Present Struggle for Gay Rights in America. The guide was written by Soulforce youth and young adults. Additionally, Soulforce volunteers have been writing to each and every member of the Task Force on Ministry to Homosexuals, asking them to meet and get together during the annual meeting.

In 2003, the Task Force on Ministry to Homosexuals announced a program designed to be a “less hateful” approach to GLBT people, which included reparative therapy and conversion. However, within 6 months of this announcement, Richard Land, a Task Force member who heads the convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberties Commission, was using words like “cultural war”, “spiritual war”, “unnatural and unholy”, and other violent rhetoric.

“This kind of rhetoric is spiritual violence, and hurts people and destroys families,” said Mary Lou Walner, an evangelical Christian whose lesbian daughter committed suicide. “Since my daughter’s death, I have vowed to confront this kind of hurtful language and shameful words, by bringing the truth in love relentlessly to other evangelicals. They need to hear and know that God loves their children exactly as they are – before it is too late!”

Mary Lou Wallner will be speaking outside the convention on Maryland Street on Monday, June 14 at 8:30am, 1:00pm, and 5:15pm. Pastors’ wives and other interested people are invited to come hear Mary Lou speak about God’s love, and the tragic consequences that the rejection of her daughter cost her.

Soulforce will be vigiling and handing out literature outside of the convention center, Sunday through Wednesday. Although no civil disobedience is planned, those who wish to participate must take part in a 2-part nonviolent civil disobedience training to be held at the Comfort Inn and Suites, 530 South Capitol Avenue, Indianapolis, IN , on Sunday and Monday night, June 13 and 14, at 6:30 pm.

Media are encouraged and welcomed to attend any of the events.

Soulforce is a national interfaith organization committed to ending spiritual violence perpetuated by religious policies and teachings against gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people. Soulforce teaches and employs the nonviolent principles of Gandhi and King to the liberation of sexual and gender minorities. For more information, see www.soulforce.org.