Soulforce Launches Civil Disobedience Campaign at Focus on the Family Headquarters in Colorado Springs

Lesbian Couple Refuses to Leave Until Dobson Takes Steps Toward Reconciliation With LGBT Community

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SOULFORCE MEDIA ADVISORY: February 19, 2007
For Immediate Release
Contact: Paige Schilt, Media Director
Cell: 512-659-1771
paige@soulforce.org
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(Colorado Springs, CO) — Soulforce, a national civil rights and social justice organization, has launched an ongoing campaign called "Focus on the Facts," which aims to intervene in James Dobson and Focus on the Family’s representations of lesbian and gay families through an ongoing campaign of civil disobedience modeled on Gandhi’s philosophy of nonviolent social change.

What: Lesbian couple enters Focus on the Family headquarters to engage in dialogue and civil resistance: they seek an end to anti-gay propaganda.
When: Monday, February 19, 2007 at 11:00 a.m. MST
Where: Focus on the Family, 8605 Explorer Dr., Colorado Springs, CO

 

At approximately 11:00 a.m., Dotti Berry and Robynne Sapp of Blaine, Wash., entered Focus on the Family headquarters to join a regularly scheduled tour. Once inside, the two women will attempt to speak with visitors and staff about the organization’s defamation of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Americans. They will not leave voluntarily until Focus on the Family (FotF) and James Dobson promise to cease their misleading statements about research on lesbian and gay parents. Arrests are possible.

Berry and Sapp, who have entered FotF twice before, are the first participants in the "Focus on the Facts" campaign.

Dobson and his staff at FotF have consistently misrepresented LGBT families as dangerous and undeserving of equal protection under the law. These dehumanizing portrayals are often bolstered by misleading references to social science research. In December 2006, two prominent researchers–Dr. Carol Gilligan and Dr. Kyle Pruett–publicly rebuked Dobson for mischaracterizing their research in his TIME Magazine editorial about Mary Cheney’s pregnancy.

For more information about James Dobson’s misrepresentation of social science research, visit: www.soulforce.org/article/899.


Focus on the Facts is a project of Soulforce, a national civil rights and social justice organization. Our vision 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.

"It’s Like They’re Allergic to the Truth:" Focus on the Family Answers Soulforce Criticism by Taking More Research Out of Context

Day three of march continues from Colorado state capitol to Focus on the Family headquarters

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SOULFORCE PRESS RELEASE: July 19, 2006
For Immediate Release
Contact: Richard Lindsay, Interim Media Director
Cell: 646-258-7193
richard@soulforce.org
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(DENVER, CO) — Responding to comments from NYU sociologist Dr. Judith Stacey that Focus on the Family had twisted her research about the children of same-sex parents to justify anti-gay discrimination, Focus on the Family twisted the conclusions of another researcher. In an Associated Press report published on Tuesday in newspapers across the nation, Focus on the Family spokesperson and Bush administration advisor Glenn T. Stanton cited an article by Mary Parke from the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) which he said shows that children need a mother and a father.

Parke’s article, "Are Married Parents Really Better for Children? What Research Says About the Effects of Family Structure on Child Well-Being," was published in 2003, and consolidates social science research comparing the outcomes of children raised by married biological parents with children raised by single or divorced parents and step parents. The article does not compare children raised by committed same-sex couples to children raised by committed heterosexual couples. The use of studies on the children of divorced or single parents to justify the claim that children fare better with heterosexual parents was the chief criticism Dr. Stacey leveled against Focus on the Family. Parke no longer works with CLASP and was not available for comment.

"They’re sticking to their game plan," said Jeff Lutes, executive director of Soulforce, "They have Judith Stacey on record as saying their references to her work don’t match the conclusions of her research so they just move on down the line and misquote another researcher." Lutes continued, "It’s like they’re allergic to the truth on this issue."

Lutes also objected to Stanton’s claim that "We have not said anything about sexual orientation" (suggesting that Focus on the Family had not made any claims about fitness for parenting based on a parent’s sexual orientation). Lutes has documented dozens of published instances in which Focus on the Family has claimed that gay and lesbian people are harmful to children, or attempting to destroy the American family. (www.soulforce.org/article/false-focus-family) "Focus on the Family says that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are sick and sinful, a danger to children and a threat to the American family. They have dressed their bigotry up in the language of faith and social science to make it more palatable. It’s time for them to stop because they are hurting our families."

The 1000 Watt March from the Colorado state capitol to Focus on the Family headquarters continued today, with the marchers braving temperatures that neared 100 degrees.

Among the marchers were Ken Lewis and Jamieson Allen and their four sons, including a set of triplets. As they set up a large, three-seat stroller with a canopy so the three year-old triplets could ride in style, Lewis said they were marching to Focus on the Family because religious issues were of growing importance in American society. "It’s important for us to march because it’s important for our kids. It’s important to tell the truth." Allen added, "Religion is about love not hate." Clearly a family that buys in bulk, Lewis and Allen pulled out an entire bunch of bananas and distributed them to their children before setting off along the road.

Laurin Foxworth and Lewis Thompson said their relationship was arranged by a higher power. After their initial meeting the two exchanged letters for seven years. Their correspondence had dwindled when they met again at a "Gay and Gray" conference and knew they were meant for each other. Foxworth, who is 80, and Thompson, who is 60, hammed in front of a documentary camera before their leg of the march began. Asked if they were ready for the harsh temperatures, the senior member of the couple made a muscle and said in a fractured accent, "We are strong like bulls." Asked why they were marching, Foxworth responded, "We’re marching because nothing feels as empowering after a lifetime in the closet."

This Saturday July 22 at 6 PM, actor Chad Allen and Judy Shepard, executive director of The Matthew Shepard Foundation, will lead a final 2-mile march from Rampart Park in Colorado Springs to the headquarters of Focus on the Family. The crowd will encircle James Dobson’s headquarters, joining hearts and hands in vigil as they peacefully call on him to cease his defamation of the LGBT community. At 8:30 PM Broadway star Billy Porter will protest in song outside Focus on the Family, with an electrifying jazz concert that celebrates the lives of all people and loving relationships that seek the American dream. The entire community – lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, their families, friends and supporters, are invited to the final march and concert.

To find out more about the Soulforce 1000 Watt March, Vigil and Concert, please see: www.soulforce.org/1000wattmarch.

Consistent with the first step in the principles of nonviolence taught by Gandhi and King, Soulforce researched and documented false claims by Focus on the Family about LGBT people, couples and families. That research is compiled in a booklet, entitled "A False Focus on My Family" and a DVD, entitled, "Dear Dr. Dobson." This powerful and eye-opening booklet is available free online at www.soulforce.org/article/false-focus-family and the DVD is available free to press upon request.


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.

NYU Sociologist Denounces Focus on the Family蔘サs Misuse of Her Research on Development of Children of Same-Sex Couples

Dr. Judith Stacey makes statement as Soulforce begins 1000 WATT MARCH, VIGIL & CONCERT to peacefully confront Focus on the Family’s blatant anti-gay bigotry and discrimination.

Nine families begin 65-mile relay march from Colorado state capitol to Focus on the Family Headquarters.

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SOULFORCE PRESS RELEASE: July 17, 2006
For Immediate Release
Contact: Richard Lindsay, Interim Media Director
Cell: 646-258-7193
richard@soulforce.org
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(DENVER, CO) — Wearing orange t-shirts that glowed brightly in the hazy mountain sun, nine Soulforce families gathered today to kick off the 1000 Watt March, Vigil and Concert, confronting the anti-gay misinformation of political power broker James Dobson and his multi-million dollar organization, Focus on the Family.

Joining the families for a press conference to kickoff the 65-mile relay march from Denver to the headquarters of Focus on the Family in Colorado Springs was Dr. Judith Stacey, a professor of sociology from New York University. Stacey’s research on the children of same-sex parents has been misquoted by Focus on the Family to justify discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people and their families.

Stacey reiterated for the assembled families and news media the basic conclusion of her research: "The sexual orientation or gender combination of the parents raising children does not have much impact on children’s development; the quality of the parents’ relationship and the quality of their parenting does." Stacey concluded that although there can be slight variations, even advantages, to the development of children of same-sex parents, these were "differences, not deficiencies."

Stacey contradicted the argument most often made in denying same-sex couples the equal rights and responsibilities of marriage: that children do better in families headed by heterosexual couples. "Whenever you hear Focus on the Family, legislators or lawyers say, ‘studies prove that children do better in families with a mother and a father,’ they are referring to studies which compare two-parent heterosexual households to single-parent households. The studies they are talking about do not cite research on families headed by gay and lesbian couples." Stacey said the tragedy of this inaccurate quoting of legitimate research is that it has real negative effects on same-sex couples and their children. She cited the recent New York state superior court decision that used this unproven argument to deny same-sex couples and their children the rights and benefits of marriage.

"The bottom line is there is no research-based reason to deny rights to same-sex couples and their children. We should be passing laws and making policies that make life easier for all families — not harder."

Soulforce executive director Jeff Lutes, a family therapist and father of two sons with his partner Gary Stein, led the first leg of the relay march from Denver to Colorado Springs.

"We are marching from the Denver state capitol building to Focus on the Family’s headquarters because James Dobson’s lies make it into state houses and legislatures like this one all across the country and effect the lives of families like mine" Lutes said.

Referring to his 1 year-old and 9 year-old sons, who had joined their dads for the march, Lutes said, "And more importantly, James Dobson’s lies make it to children like mine, who are told their parents are sick, sinful and second-class. As a father who loves his family, that has to stop."

Lutes continued, "Over the years, Americans have discriminated against people of color, against women, against mixed-race couples, against different religious groups — all in the name of religion. Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are just the latest group of Americans to be discriminated against on this basis. James Dobson, Focus on the Family and all Americans need to learn from history and put an end to religion-based discrimination once and for all."

The families then descended the state capitol steps and headed through downtown Denver towards the southern suburbs to begin the 13-mile first leg of the 65-mile relay march, carrying a banner that read, "Learn from history; end religion-based discrimination against our families." In total, 34 families will take part in the march, each walking around four and a half miles.

This Saturday July 22 at 6 PM, actor Chad Allen and Judy Shepard, executive director of The Matthew Shepard Foundation, will lead a final 2-mile march from Rampart Park in Colorado Springs to the headquarters of Focus on the Family. The crowd will encircle James Dobson’s headquarters, joining hearts and hands in vigil as they peacefully call on him to cease his defamation of the LGBT community. At 8:30 PM Broadway star Billy Porter will protest in song outside Focus on the Family, with an electrifying jazz concert that celebrates the lives of all people and loving relationships that seek the American dream. The entire community – lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, their families, friends and supporters, are invited to the final march and concert.

To find out more about the Soulforce 1000 Watt March, Vigil and Concert, please see: www.soulforce.org/1000wattmarch.

Consistent with the first step in the principles of nonviolence taught by Gandhi and King, Soulforce researched and documented false claims by Focus on the Family about LGBT people, couples and families. That research is compiled in a booklet, entitled "A False Focus on My Family" and a DVD, entitled, "Dear Dr. Dobson." This powerful and eye-opening booklet is available free online at www.soulforce.org/article/false-focus-family and the DVD is available free to press upon request.


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.

Dr. Judith Stacey of NYU, Third Social Scientist in One Month to Call for an End to James Dobson蔘サs Purposeful Misuse of Scientific Research

Stacey will kick off the Soulforce 1000 WATT MARCH, VIGIL & CONCERT in Denver, peacefully confronting Focus on the Family’s anti-gay bigotry and discrimination.

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SOULFORCE PRESS RELEASE: July 12, 2006
For Immediate Release
Contact: Richard Lindsay, Interim Media Director
Cell: 646-258-7193
richard@soulforce.org
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PRESS CONFERENCE at Colorado State Capitol Building

When: Monday, July 17, 2006
Time: 10 AM, MDT
What: Kick-off of Soulforce 1000 Watt March, a 65-mile relay march to Focus on the Family headquarters
Who:
  • Dr. Judith Stacey, professor of sociology, New York University
  • Jeff Lutes, LPC, executive director of Soulforce, family therapist and parent
  • Families beginning the 1000 Watt March to Focus on the Family headquarters
Where: West steps of the Colorado state capitol building, facing Broadway, 14th Avenue and Broadway, Denver, CO
Why: Focus on the Family, headed by political power broker James Dobson, has consistently misrepresented the research of legitimate social scientists to support its anti-gay political agenda. Among the most harmful misrepresentations, which have been quoted in recent debates on same-sex marriage at federal and state levels, is the false claim that social scientists “agree” that children fare better in households headed by heterosexual couples.

This Monday, Dr. Judith Stacey, professor of sociology at New York University and a prominent researcher on children raised by same-sex couples, will join the growing chorus of psychologists and social scientists denouncing Focus on the Family’s twisting of their research to prop up unscientific claims about lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. Stacey will speak out at the kick-off to the Soulforce 1000 Watt March, Vigil and Concert on the steps of the State Capitol building in Denver, CO.

Stacey says, "I am deeply troubled by the ways in which Focus on the Family willfully misrepresents my research on lesbian and gay parenthood to support their ideological opposition to homosexuality. This politically motivated distortion of social science contributes to serious harm to lesbian and gay parents and their children."

Stacey joins Dr. Robert Spitzer of Columbia University and Dr. Elizabeth Saewyc of the University of British Columbia in taking Dobson to task for his distortion of their work in support of a political agenda that seeks to deny civil rights to LGBT people.

Stacey’s comments will kick off a week-long justice action, as families headed by same-sex couples, LGBT individuals and their supporters participate in a 65-mile "relay" style march from the state capitol building in Denver to the headquarters of Focus on the Family. The purpose of the march is to help America connect the dots between the defamatory rhetoric that flows from Focus on the Family and the legislative assault on the civil liberties of LGBT people and their families.

The march will culminate on Saturday, July 22, when actor Chad Allen and Judy Shepard, executive director of The Matthew Shepard Foundation, will lead a final 2-mile march from Rampart Park in Colorado Springs to the headquarters of Focus on the Family. The marchers will encircle James Dobson’s headquarters, joining hearts and hands in vigil as they peacefully call on him to cease his defamation of the LGBT community. Afterwards, Broadway star Billy Porter will protest in song outside Focus on the Family, with an electrifying jazz concert that celebrates the lives of all people and loving relationships that seek the American dream.

To find out more about the Soulforce 1000 Watt March, Vigil and Concert, please see: www.soulforce.org/1000wattmarch.

Consistent with the first step in the principles of nonviolence taught by Gandhi and King, Soulforce researched and documented false claims by Focus on the Family about LGBT people, couples and families. That research is compiled in a booklet, entitled "A False Focus on My Family" and a DVD, entitled, "Dear Dr. Dobson." This powerful and eye-opening booklet is available free online at www.soulforce.org/article/false-focus-family and the DVD is available free to press upon request.


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.

Actor Chad Allen and Activist Mom Judy Shepard to Join Soulforce Protest of Focus on the Family

The Soulforce 1000 WATT MARCH, VIGIL & CONCERT will bring about awareness and peacefully confront Focus on the Family’s homophobic rhetoric.

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SOULFORCE PRESS RELEASE: July 11, 2006
For Immediate Release
Contact: Richard Lindsay, Interim Media Director
Cell: 646-258-7193
richard@soulforce.org
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(Denver, CO) – Next week, dozens of families from across the country will come together with Soulforce to confront the homophobic rhetoric of James Dobson and Focus on the Family. The event, called The 1000 Watt March, Vigil, and Concert: Shedding the Powerful Light of Truth on the Anti-Gay Dishonesty of Focus on the Family will be a week-long justice action, as gay and lesbian families with children, heterosexual allies, and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people from across America participate in a 65-mile "relay" style march from the state capitol building in Denver to the headquarters of Focus on the Family in Colorado Springs.

Leading the marchers in the final two-mile walk from Rampart Park in Colorado Springs to the headquarters of Focus on the Family on July 22 will be activists Chad Allen and Judy Shepard. Though they come from different worlds – one is an actor with a lifetime of credits that belie his youth, the other is a mom who came to activism through a devastating family tragedy – they bring a similar message: "Dr. Dobson, please end your vicious attacks on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender families!"

At 32, Chad Allen is an actor with experience beyond his years. His first major role came on TV’s St. Elsewhere at the age of eight. He went on to star on a succession of successful TV shows as a child star, including Webster, Our House, and My Two Dads. As an adult, he was on the long-running series, Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman, and has starred in numerous other roles on the stage and in film, most recently in the missionary story, The End of the Spear.

After coming out publicly in 2001, Allen says that his experiences as a gay man have led to a new understanding of the word, "family."

"The gay community exemplifies the truth of "family" as it learns to walk together through fear to fight prejudice and discrimination with the most potent force in the universe… Love."

Allen continues, "It is with sincere humility, a dose of fear, and extraordinary pleasure that I accepted the Soulforce invitation to lead the final leg of the 1000 Watt March, Vigil, & Concert. I’ve never known such an awesome display of courage as when a community marches together in solidarity for what is right."

Allen adds Soulforce to the long list of organizations which he has supported, including The March of Dimes, Project Angel Food, the Autistic Children’s Foundation, the American Cancer Society, the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, AIDS Project Arizona, and AIDS Project Los Angeles.

(For more information on Chad Allen, see: www.chadallenonline.com)

No one outside her immediate circle of family and friends knew who Judy Shepard was until an unspeakable tragedy forced her into the country’s spotlight nearly eight years ago, when her son Matthew Shepard was brutally murdered because he was gay. After the horrible events of those days in the fall of 1998, it would have been understandable for a parent to withdraw into private grief. But Judy Shepard and her husband Dennis responded to their pain by reaching out, forming the Matthew Shepard Foundation, an organization which honors their son’s memory by supporting educational projects, activities, and documentaries that raise awareness of the issues involving discrimination and diversity. Judy Shepard has become a public spokesperson for ending hate-based violence in America, speaking to dozens of schools, churches and community groups every year. She and her husband have appeared in public service announcements produced by GLSEN and MTV, and the Human Rights Campaign, to end hate speech and bullying in schools and inequality for LGBT people.

Shepard hopes this Soulforce event will be part of a growing movement of people of faith standing up to the religious right’s bigotry toward lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. "It is an honor to take part in the 1000 Watt March, Vigil & Concert and I look forward to being a part of such wonderful expression of hope," Shepard says. "For too long, Focus on the Family, James Dobson, and others who share their narrow views, have used misinformation and intolerance to marginalize the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender community and its allies. People of faith, gay or straight, must now stand up and let everyone know that they will no longer allow those narrow views define their relationship with their God."

(For more information on the Matthew Shepard Foundation, see: www.matthewshepard.org)

After Shepard and Allen lead the final march to the Focus on the Family headquarters, the crowd will encircle James Dobson’s headquarters, joining hearts and hands in vigil as they peacefully call on him to cease his defamation of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. Afterwards, Broadway star Billy Porter will protest in song outside Focus on the Family, with an electrifying jazz concert that celebrates the lives of all people and loving relationships that seek the American dream.

The purpose of the march is to help America connect the dots between the defamatory rhetoric that flows from Focus on the Family and the legislative assault on the civil liberties of LGBT people and their families.

To find out more about the Soulforce 1000 Watt March, Vigil and Concert, please see: www.soulforce.org/1000wattmarch.

Consistent with the first step in the principles of nonviolence taught by Gandhi and King, Soulforce researched and documented false claims by Focus on the Family about LGBT people, couples and families. That research is compiled in a booklet, entitled "A False Focus on My Family" and a DVD, entitled, "Dear Dr. Dobson." This powerful and eye-opening booklet is available free online at www.soulforce.org/article/false-focus-family and the DVD is available free to press upon request.


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.

Same-gender Families and Friends to March 65 Miles from Colorado State Capitol to James Dobson’s Focus on the Family – Arrive July 22, 2006

The Soulforce 1000 WATT MARCH, VIGIL & CONCERT seeks to bring about awareness and peacefully confront Focus on the Family’s blatant anti-gay bigotry and discrimination.

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SOULFORCE PRESS RELEASE: June 12, 2006
For Immediate Release
Contact: Richard Lindsay, Interim Media Director
Cell: 646-258-7193
richard@soulforce.org
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"(If same-sex marriage is allowed) barring a miracle, the family as it has been known for more than five millennia will crumble, presaging the fall of Western civilization itself." — James Dobson, Focus on the Family Newsletter, April 2004 (mailed to over two million people and read on his March 24, 2004 radio broadcast).

James Dobson uses fear tactics to spread dishonest claims about gay and lesbian people and to frighten voters into denying families headed by same-sex couples legal rights and protections.

"Among dozens of other harmful lies, James Dobson says that families like mine are destroying the institution of marriage, harming children, and posing a threat to American society," says Jeff Lutes, executive director of Soulforce, an organization that uses nonviolent methods to confront anti-gay religious discrimination. "Because of Dobson’s wealth, power, and direct ties to the Bush administration, those lies are being used to justify legislative discrimination and bigotry at the local, state and federal level."

  • Thanks to the fear mongering of James Dobson and other right wing religious leaders, voters in six states will be voting on constitutional amendments banning both same-sex marriage and legal recognition or benefits of same-sex relationships this November.
  • Several states are considering legislation to ban gay and lesbian couples from adopting, denying needy children loving homes.
  • This year, after threats from James Dobson and other religious right figures, Congress reintroduced the Federal Marriage Amendment. Although this amendment has already failed in the Senate, the anti-gay rhetoric supporting it continues to use families headed by same-sex couples as political tools for turning out conservative voters.

Lutes, who is also a family therapist and father, continues, "James Dobson refuses to acknowledge the joy, comfort and support found in gay and lesbian families. Since all of our requests to meet with Dr. Dobson to ask him to stop his homophobic rhetoric have been denied, my family and hundreds of others are coming to his doorstep to confront him peacefully with the power of our love."

This summer, dozens of families from across the country will come together with Soulforce to confront the homophobic rhetoric of James Dobson and Focus on the Family in an event we’re calling: The 1000 Watt March, Vigil, and Concert: Shedding the Powerful Light of Truth on the Anti-Gay Dishonesty of Focus on the Family.

This July 17, same-gender couples, families with children, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals and straight friends will undertake a week-long justice march which will commence from the steps of the Colorado State Capitol building. A diverse selection of families from across America will participate in the 65-mile "relay" style march; each group of families taking turns walking a 4-mile segment during the week until they reach the headquarters of Focus on the Family.

The purpose of the march is to help America connect the dots between the defamatory rhetoric that flows from Focus on the Family and the legislative assault on the civil liberties of LGBT people and their families.

On July 22, actor Chad Allen and Judy Shepard, executive director of The Matthew Shepard Foundation, will lead the crowd in a final 2-mile march from Rampart Park in Colorado Springs to the headquarters of Focus on the Family. The crowd will encircle James Dobson’s headquarters, joining hearts and hands in vigil as they peacefully call on him to cease his defamation of the LGBT community. Afterwards, Broadway star Billy Porter will protest in song outside Focus on the Family, with an electrifying jazz concert that celebrates the lives of all people and loving relationships that seek the American dream.

To find out more about the Soulforce 1000 Watt March, Vigil and Concert, please see: www.soulforce.org/1000wattmarch.

Consistent with the first step in the principles of nonviolence taught by Gandhi and King, Soulforce researched and documented false claims by Focus on the Family about LGBT people, couples and families. That research is compiled in a booklet, entitled "A False Focus on My Family" and a DVD, entitled, "Dear Dr. Dobson." This powerful and eye-opening booklet is available free online at www.soulforce.org/article/false-focus-family and the DVD is available free to press upon request.


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 Joins CREW in Call for an IRS Investigation of the Political Actions of James Dobson and Focus on the Family

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SOULFORCE MEDIA ALERT: December 1, 2005
For Immediate Release
Contact: Robyn Murphy, 612-965-0838, robyn@soulforce.org
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(Lynchburg, VA) Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed a complaint November 28th, with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) against James Dobson’s Focus on the Family.

Joining CREW in bringing this matter to the country’s attention is Soulforce, Inc. who is circulating a web petition calling for an IRS investigation of James Dobson and Focus on the Family.

"Misusing religion and/or God to support bias against sexual and gender minorities, inappropriately justifies psychological, legal, and physical violence against them. Such abuses must be stopped and can no longer be subsidized via misuse of the tax laws," says Rev. Dr. Mel White, Founder of Soulforce.

Focus on the Family is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization whose stated purpose is "to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ through a practical outreach to homes." In past years, Dr. Dobson has become increasingly shrill about his political beliefs (especially against gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people) on his daily radio program and through his fundraising letters.

Although non-profit status bars him from electioneering, Dr. Dobson continues to use his considerable political muscle to support anti-gay initiatives and to endorse candidates for political office. In early April, 2004, Dr. Dobson endorsed Republican Representative Patrick J. Toomey in his race for Senate in Pennsylvania. In addition, it was reported that Dr. Dobson actively campaigned during a rally for Rep. Toomey. CREW claims some of these violations occurred before James Dobson started "Focus on the Family Action", a 501(c)(4) affiliate.

Other candidates that Dr. Dobson reportedly endorsed in 2004 include North Carolina Republican candidate Pat Ballentine for Governor and Oklahoma Republican candidate Tom Coburn for Senate.

Focus on the Family recently announced that it would end its long time banking relationship with Wells Fargo because of the bank’s "ongoing efforts to advance the radical homosexual agenda."

Earlier this year Dobson promised to dedicate his life to amending the U.S. Constitution with a Federal Marriage Amendment that would make second-class citizens of Lesbian and Gay Americans in committed relationships and deny them their basic civil rights and protections.


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 Announces Dates for 2006 Action in Colorado Springs to Bring the Light of Truth to Dr. Dobson and Focus on the Family

To receive email alerts and stay up to date on the 1000 Watt Walk, Vigil, & Concert, subscribe to the Soulforce email list today!

Past Soulforce Actions:

Soulforce Direct Action in Colorado Springs May 1, 2005

Resources:

A False Focus on My Family: Why every person of faith should be deeply troubled by Dr. James Dobson’s dangerous and misleading words about the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community

Focus on the Family Locks Out Soulforce

Gay son and his parents arrested for trespassing as they try to deliver a letter to Dobson and Focus on the Family

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SOULFORCE PRESS RELEASE: May 2, 2005
For Immediate Release
Contact: Laura Montgomery Rutt
717-278-0592 laura@soulforce.org
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(Colorado Springs) – A family who wanted to deliver a letter to James Dobson or the "next in line" was arrested for trespassing this morning as they crossed onto the property of Dobson’s organization, Focus on the Family. Originally, plans were to distribute 100s of letters written by lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals and families who have been hurt by Dobson’s rhetoric during a public tour during normal operating hours, but Focus on the Family shut down on Monday, May 2, to keep LGBT individuals and families from entering.

Before the arrest, Randi Reitan, mother of Jacob Reitan, a young gay man and Youth Director for Soulforce, read a letter she had written to Dobson explaining how his rhetoric is hurting families like theirs. Holding a bouquet of roses, and struggling to get the words out, Randi stated, "There was never a moment we did not love or accept our dear son. But we struggled with how best to see the day Jake is loved, accepted and understood by society. As parents and Christians, we felt called to work for justice for all in the gay community." The letter is available online at www.soulforce.org.

With his arms around both parents, Jacob stated, "This family is about love, my parents love me as I am, as God created me, and James Dobson is out to destroy loving families like mine!" As the family crossed on to the Focus on the Family property, police immediately handcuffed Jacob Reitan, his mother Randi, and his father Phil, who all had tears in their eyes as they were led to the police van.

Over 125 Soulforce supporters, singing "Amazing Grace," stood by in support of the Reitan family who were released from police custody a short time later.

"We believe that the ministry of Jesus was about opening doors for the marginalized and oppressed, so it is ironic that Focus on the Family is slamming the doors on those very same people that Jesus would have welcomed with open arms, " stated Rev. Nori Rost, pastor of Pikes Peak Metropolitan Community Church.

On May 1, over 1000 people filled the street in front Focus on the Family to celebrate the worth, dignity, and Spirit evident in the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals, couples, and their families, while holding Dobson accountable for his anti-gay rhetoric. Many of the families, with their young children in tow, sang and danced as Jason and DeMarco, the Two Spirit Society, and a myriad of speakers sang and spoke to the crowd. Hundreds of letters explaining to Dobson how his rhetoric has hurt their families were collected and will be distributed to Dobson in the coming days and months.

Soulforce and supporters in Colorado plan to return to Focus on the Family next year.

As with any nonviolent direct action, Soulforce first researched the anti-gay statements made by Dobson which run counter to the psychological and psychiatric evidence regarding LGBT people. Dobson has refused to consider the evidence and has refused or ignored all letter requesting dialogue. The research conducted by Soulforce is published in a booklet entitled "Why Every Family Should be Concerned about James Dobson’s Anti-gay Rhetoric" and is available online at www.soulforce.org. Letters written requesting dialogue with Dobson are also available at the Soulforce website.

Photos from Monday, May 2, 2005


Focus on the Family covering their logo and their eyes to the witness of GLBT families

Soulforce volunteers march to Focus on the Family headquarters

Vigiling in front of Focus on the Family

The Reitan Family attempts to deliver a letter to Focus on the Family

Vigiling in front of Focus on the Family

Vigiling in front of Focus on the Family

Jacob Reitan is arrested

Catherine and Cris stand vigil

Chris and Beth stand vigil

Marching in front of Focus on the Family headquarters

Phil Reitan is arrested

Soulforce debriefing later that morning