10 Anti-Gay Myths Debunked

Graphic which reads '10 MYTHS'"Ever since born-again singer and orange juice pitchwoman Anita Bryant helped kick off the contemporary anti-gay movement more than 30 years ago, hard-line elements of the religious right have been searching for ways to demonize homosexuals — or, at a minimum, to find arguments that will prevent their normalization in society. For the former Florida beauty queen and her Save Our Children group, it was the alleged plans of gays and lesbians to "recruit" in schools that provided the fodder for their crusade. But in addition to hawking that myth, the legions of anti-gay activists who followed have added a panoply of others, ranging from the extremely doubtful claim that homosexuality is a choice, to unalloyed lies like the claims that gays molest children far more than heterosexuals or that hate crime laws will lead to the legalization of bestiality and necrophilia. These fairy tales are important to the anti-gay right because they form the basis of its claim that homosexuality is a social evil that must be suppressed — an opinion rejected by virtually all relevant medical and scientific authorities. They also almost certainly contribute to hate crime violence directed at homosexuals, who are more targeted for such attacks than any other minority in America. What follows are 10 key myths propagated by the anti-gay movement, along with the truth behind the propaganda."

Read the article by Southern Poverty Law Center

Soulforce Recognizes Service of Jeff Lutes

Soulforce Board Chair Chuck Phelan and Interim Executive Director Bill Carpenter presented retired Executive Director Jeff Lutes with a recognition award on January 10 at Metropolitan Community Church-Austin, where Jeff is a member. The award recognized Jeff’s leadership over the past four years and his program achievements, including:

  • Nonviolent Direct Actions at Focus on the Family, 2005 and 2006.
  • The Ex-Gay Survivors Conference, 2007.
  • Seven Straight Nights for Equal Rights, 2007 and 2008.
  • The American Family Outing, 2008.
  • The Anti-Heterosexism Conference, 2009
  • Writing “What the Science Says-And Doesn’t Say-About Homosexuality”
  • Helping birth Soulforce Q and their first three Equality Rides

Chuck also pointed out that "behind every great man in our community is a great man" and recognized Jeff’s husband, Gary Stein, and their three children, who were also in attendance. The presentation took place during the training for the 2010 Equality Riders and Soulforce staffers Andi Gentile, Caitlin MacIntyre, and a number of Equality Riders were present as Jeff was honored.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Soulforce Executive Director Search

Soulforce, Inc. is an 11-year old national civil rights organization. Our mission is to end religionbased discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning people. Our method is persistent, non-violent resistance, with a commitment to the strategies and principles employed by Mohandas Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. (for more details please visit our web site at: www.soulforce.org)

Our core values are strong and we are welcoming to people of all colors, faiths, orientations and identities. The organization has just completed a process of identifying its Strategic Plan Objectives. Programs implementing the objectives are underway. The most prominent of which is the Equality Ride, led by a strong group of young adult staff members. The ride will take off for the fourth time in March 2010.

The organization was founded by the Rev. Dr. Mel White in 1998. The organization grew under his leadership until 2006, when Mel retired from fulltime leadership and moved into a role as “founder”. A new, part-time Executive Director position was approved. Jeff Lutes was hired for that role and served Soulforce well for nearly four years. In June 2009 the Board of Directors authorized the Executive Director position to expand to full time. Jeff has stepped back to have more time to pursue his private counseling practice and to spend more time with his family. In the interim, Bill Carpenter, the Soulforce Director of National Actions, has agreed to lead the organization. Bill remains heavily involved in the Equality Ride as well.

The Interim Executive Director will serve until May 2010. The full-time Executive Director position will be officially posted and applications accepted by the Board of Directors on the schedule shown below. Please watch for more details and share this announcement with people who may have a sincere interest in serving as Soulforce’s Executive Director.

ANTICIPATED SCHEDULE:

  • Formal request for submission of Executive Director Applications will be posted January 2010
  • Applications will be accepted through mid-February 2010
  • Reviews, interviews, vetting and selection throughout March 2010
  • New Executive Director to begin April 15, 2010

McCormack & Associates, well-known diversity search consultants, have been selected to manage the recruitment process for the new Soulforce Executive Director. McCormack is the nation’s first gay-owned retained search practice, and is a Certified LGBT Business Enterprise by the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. The firm is based in Los Angeles, California. Since 1993, McCormack has filled over 200 CEO, COO and board level searches for LGBT, HIV/AIDS, health care, education and social justice organizations nationally. The firm was named one of the Top 50 executive recruiting firms by independent industry publication Executive Recruiter News.

All correspondence about this position should be addressed to search@mccormackassociates.com.

 


Soulforce is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability, or any other basis of discrimination prohibited by law.

Soulforce: A Brief History, 1999-2006

Cover of the Soulforce History Book
Order

This 76-page book covers the beginning of Mel White and Gary Nixon’s dream of Soulforce through the fall of 2006. Included are many voices and hundreds of photos of Soulforce events.

Free Download
You can download a PDF file of Soulforce: A Brief History, 1999 – 2006.

Order Hard Copies Online
You can order hard copies of Soulforce: A Brief History, 1999 – 2006 at the cost of $10.00 per copy from the Soulforce Store.

Order Hard Copies by Mail
Indicate the number of copies needed and send a donation of $10.00 per book 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.

Soulforce Turns 10!

******************************************
SOULFORCE PRESS RELEASE: March 27, 2008
For Immediate Release

Contact: Paige Schilt, 
Media Director
Cell: 512-659-1771
paige@soulforce.org
******************************************

(Austin, TX) This spring, Soulforce celebrates 10 years of relentless nonviolent activism for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) freedom. In keeping with Soulforce’s "take it to the streets" ethos, a mix of formal events and grassroots action will mark the milestone anniversary:

  • On Saturday, April 5, Equality Virginia will present the Fifth Annual Commonwealth Award to Soulforce Co-founders Rev. Dr. Mel White and Gary Nixon.
  • On Friday, April 25th at 7:30pm, Soulforce hosts a 10th Anniversary Gala and Reunion at the Marriott Dallas/Fort Worth Airport South.
  • On Saturday, April 26th, at 7:00 am, Soulforce invites all who care about justice for LGBT people to gather in downtown Fort Worth’s General Worth Square for a training in nonviolence and a vigil outside the United Methodist General Conference.

Looking Back

Ten years ago, Rev. Dr. Mel White and his partner Gary Nixon began laying the groundwork for a new social movement. Under the auspices of "Soulforce," a name adapted from the teachings of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Mohandas K. Gandhi, White and Nixon began to organize lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans to study the principles of nonviolent direct action. This course of study led to the first Soulforce direct action, a historic 1999 dialogue between 200 members of Soulforce and the congregation of Jerry Falwell’s Thomas Road Baptist Church in Lynchburg, Virginia.

Selected Soulforce Timeline

1998: White and Nixon convene the first Soulforce Board of Directors.

1999: In Lynchburg, Virginia, 200 Soulforce members attend an unprecedented meeting with 200 members of Rev. Jerry Falwell’s Thomas Road Baptist Church; later that year, 74 are arrested for blocking the entrance to the United Methodist church where Rev. Jimmy Creech is being tried for marrying same-sex couples.

2000: In Cleveland, Arun Gandhi and Yolanda King lead civil disobedience inside the United Methodist General Conference to protest the denomination’s anti-gay policies. Arun Gandhi, grandson of Mohandas, is among the 191 arrested.

2001: In Rome, Soulforce and Dignity/USA bring photographs representing the gifts of faithful LGBT Catholics to the Vatican for The Epiphany.

2002: In St. Louis, Soulforce activists disrupt business at the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention to call attention to the suffering caused by the denomination’s anti-gay teachings.

2005: In Colorado Springs, more than 1,000 people join Soulforce outside Focus on the Family headquarters to hold James Dobson accountable for his ant-gay rhetoric. The Reitan family is arrested for trespassing, as documented in For the Bible Tells Me So.

2006: Nationwide, the first Soulforce Equality Ride bus brings hope and truth to 18 colleges that silence or exclude LGBT students. Soulforce Q, the young adult division of Soulforce, is born.

2007: In Irvine, California, 200 ex-gay survivors come together for the first Ex-gay Survivor Conference, a powerful rebuttal to the annual meeting of Exodus International. Three former Exodus leaders issue a formal apology for the harm caused by ex-gay programs.

Looking Ahead with Hope

As Soulforce prepares to celebrate its tenth anniversary, the landscape of religion-based bigotry is shifting. Recent research by the Barna group suggests that young Christians are increasingly uncomfortable with church-sanctioned hostility toward LGBT people. But in spite of these positive changes, an old guard of radical right-wing organizations continues to use sexual orientation and gender identities as wedges to divide mainline denominations and our nation. In April 2008, the Soulforce Vigil for Justice at the United Methodist General Conference will stand up to these divisive voices, encouraging the United Methodist Church to live up to its slogan "Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors," by including LGBT people in marriage rites, ministry, and membership.

Then, between Mother’s Day and Father’s Day 2008, delegations of LGBT families will initiate dialogue with a new generation of Christian leaders. The American Family Outing will ask nationally known pastors, including Joel Osteen and T.D. Jakes, to exercise positive leadership in ending physical and spiritual violence against LGBT people.

In fall 2008, the Third Annual Equality Ride will visit the American South. The itinerary will include seminaries and several faith-based Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Through education, outreach, and direct action, these courageous young activists will illuminate the destructive effects of religion-based bigotry and sow the seeds of a more inclusive campus culture. A true youth movement, the Equality Ride is empowering a new generation to challenge tradition and secure a brighter future for everyone.


Soulforce is 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.
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What the Science Says – And Doesn’t Say – About Homosexuality

by Jeff Lutes, MS, LPC, Executive Director of Soulforce

Order

"A concise, accurate, and readable summary of scientific knowledge about homosexuality and gay people. This lucid resource calmly and effectively demolishes the hateful myths and slurs spread by anti-gay forces in U.S. society."

–Simon LeVay, PhD, neuroscientist, teacher, author, and pioneer in the study of brain structure and sexual orientation

"This is a current, comprehensive, and rigorous review of literature taken from our most well-respected social science and medical journals. Backed by all the major health, education, and mental health professional associations, Lutes makes an airtight case for ending the cruel and pejorative stereotype against gay and lesbian persons that continue to persist in our homes, institutions, and churches."

–Marsha McDonough, PhD, Psychologist and Family Therapist, Clinical Member of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy

"Not content to allow religious dogma to discredit scientific inquiry, or for scientific observation to dismiss spiritual insight, Lutes systematically loosens the death grip of obsolete and discredited pseudo-science on homosexuality. This amazing booklet brings a breath of fresh air, exposing toxic religious misinterpretations, shedding new light on the complexities of human sexuality, and offering new hope to gay and lesbian men and women, their families, and friends. A must-read for anyone seeking to know the truth!"

–Paul W. Dodd, DMin, LPC, American Association of Pastoral Counselors (AAPC) Fellow

"What the Science Says is a wonderfully concise, entirely accurate, and balanced presentation of the research on gay and lesbian issues. I especially recommend it for people who are in the process of coming out or still struggling with their basic love orientations, as well as for heterosexual readers."

–Robert-Jay Green, PhD, Executive Director, Rockway Institute, Co-Author, Lesbians and Gays in Couples and Families

Free Download
You can download a PDF file of What the Science Says, and Doesn’t Say, about Homosexuality.

HTML Version
What the Science Says, and Doesn’t Say, about Homosexuality is available as a HTML version.

Order Hard Copies Online
You can order hard copies of What the Science Says, and Doesn’t Say, about Homosexuality at the cost of $3.00 per copy from the Soulforce Store.

Order Hard Copies by Mail
Indicate the number of copies needed and send a donation of $3.00 per booklet to:

Soulforce
PO Box 3195
Lynchburg, VA 24503

Bulk Orders
For inquires about discounted bulk orders (more than 50 copies) please send an email to gary@soulforce.org.

Year End Gift Ideas

Year-end giving helps Soulforce continue to fight Spiritual Violence and helps you save on taxes.

The tax laws intentionally encourage charitable giving. Because of the income tax charitable deduction, individuals who make their gifts by December 31 and itemize can significantly reduce their income taxes for the year.

Example: If you make a charitable gift of $10,000 in 2009, you can save $3,300 in taxes if you are in the 33% tax bracket. And the higher your tax bracket, the more money you save with a charitable gift. (A gift of $10,000 fully covers the cost of one National Direct Action.)

Giving is, of course, much more than tax brackets and charitable deductions. Philanthropy provides the meaningful difference in what we can do. As people of (any) faith, we need to give and work for a better tomorrow for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people everywhere.

Please discuss your year-end tax planning with your accountant or other professional advisor.

Gifts of Cash

There is no easier way to obtain a charitable deduction and support Soulforce at the same time than by simply writing a check. Make sure your envelope is postmarked by December 31; if it is, your gift will qualify as the current year gift even if it is not received by Soulforce until the first week of the new year. Mail your check to Soulforce, P.O. Box 2499 Abilene, Texas  79604.

If you itemize, your outright gifts of cash are fully deductible for federal income tax purposes up to 50% of your adjusted gross income. If your total gifts should exceed this limitation, the excess may be carried forward for tax purposes for up to five additional years.

Gifts of Stock

Year-end is an excellent time to consider a gift of stock. Giving longterm appreciated stock offers you two-fold tax savings. First, you avoid paying any capital gains tax on the increase in value of your stock. In addition, you receive a tax deduction for the full fair market value of the stock on the date of the gift. For income tax purposes the value of such gifts may be deducted up to 30% of adjusted gross income, with an additional five-year carry forward.

Example: If you purchased stock many years ago for $1000, and it is now worth $10,000, an outright gift of that stock to us would result in a charitable deduction of $10,000. In addition, you permanently avoid paying capital gains tax on the $9,000 of appreciation.

Gifts of Real Estate

If you have owned your home, a vacation home, acreage, or a farm for many years, a charitable gift of that real estate can be especially tax-advantageous. The property may have so appreciated in value over the years that its sale would result in a sizeable capital gains tax. If given to Soulforce instead, you avoid the tax and realize a charitable deduction for the full fair market value of the real estate.

You may also wish to consider a gift of your personal residence or farm, reserving the right to continue to live in the house for life (and, the lifetime of your surviving partner). Through such an arrangement, you will be entitled to a current income tax deduction for a portion of the fair market value of the property. See your tax advisor for details.

Gifts of Life Insurance

If you own a life insurance policy that is no longer needed, consider it as the perfect vehicle for a year-end charitable gift!

To receive a charitable deduction, name us as both the owner and the beneficiary of the policy. If the policy has a cash value, you can take a charitable deduction approximately equal to the cash value at the time of the gift. In addition, if annual premiums are still to be made and you continue to pay them, those premiums will become tax deductible each year. It’s easy to contribute a life insurance policy to us. Just check with your life insurance agent for details on which forms to complete.

Life Income Gifts

If you are considering a major gift, your gift of cash or stock in the form of a "life income gift" can significantly increase your income.

A life income gift allows you to transfer assets now, and yet continue to receive income from the cash, stock, or other property contributed. A life income gift can allow you to: increase your income for life; receive a generous charitable contribution deduction this year; and if you contribute stock, avoid any capital gains tax on the appreciation.

A life income gift is often made through a trust arrangement called a "unitrust" or an "annuity trust." with a unitrust, you and/or your spouse or other beneficiary receive annually a fixed percentage of the fair market value of the assets in the trust. The income received will vary from year to year, based on how the trust’s investments preform. With an annuity trust, you and/or your spouse or other beneficiary receive a fixed amount from the trust each year. This amount is agreed upon when you create the trust; it stays constant, no matter what happens with the stock market or interest rates.

If you have already considered a provision for us in your will, please note that a life income gift can often be preferable. Such a gift allows you to accomplish your goals during your lifetime and in a tax-advantaged way.

Bequests

While you’re considering your income tax savings, this may also be a good time to consider long-term tax savings, The federal estate tax can still take approximately 50% of one’s estate at the time of death. It pays to do some advance planning with your attorney and other professional advisors. Soulforce hopes you will consider a charitable bequest in your will to benefit the GLBT community while you save estate tax dollars at the same time

For more information

Be sure to check with your accountant, tax attorney, or other tax advisor for additional information on how these general rules apply to your situation. See which year end gift opportunities will be most advantageous for your particular situation.

Thank you for your support at year-end, and throughout the year!

Discrimination Against Sexual Minorities In Scouting

 

  1. Judge a Scout on His Actions
    Los Angeles Times

  2. The California Supreme Court Rules The Boy Scouts Are Not Covered By California Civil Rights Laws and Can Exclude Gays, Agnostics and Atheists.

  3. California Court Backs Boy Scouts’ Ban


[ Return to Top ]

1. Judge a Scout on His Actions
LOS ANGELES TIMES, August 6, 1999

For nearly nine decades, the Boy Scouts of America has instilled in youngsters 11 to 17 some of the qualities that society values most: trustworthiness, loyalty, friendliness, bravery, concern for others. By the group’s own standards, James Dale, now 29, was a model Boy Scout, earning a chest full of merit badges and becoming an assistant scoutmaster. But the organization expelled him nine years ago when it found out he is homosexual. The New Jersey Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that Dale’s expulsion was illegal.

We would add it was wrong. The Scout leadership changed its judgment of Dale based on his sexual orientation, not because he became less brave, honorable, considerate or loyal.

Here is the oath 87 million American boys have taken over the years: "On my honor, I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout law; to help other people at all times; to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight." Dale took that pledge, earned 30 merit badges and became an Eagle Scout. After he became an assistant scoutmaster, there was no accusation that he did anything to promote homosexuality or in any way compromise the values fostered by the Boy Scouts. He was thrown out for what he was, not for what he did. With no dispute on that point, the Scouts sought legal shelter in the argument that it is a private group that does not have to comply with laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual preference. The New Jersey court did not buy the argument.

The Boy Scouts is a congressionally chartered group–as is the Girl Scouts–that has earned a special status in American life for public service, from flood relief to war bond drives. The 1916 charter entitles the organization to "make and adopt bylaws, rules, and regulations not inconsistent with the laws of the United States of America, or any state thereof." Yet lawyers argued that the Scouts could discriminate against gays under private-association laws that could also be used against racial or ethnic minorities. Surely this is not what Scouting, whose image has come to be one of inclusion and diversity, wishes to convey.

Thinly veiled in the Scouts’ attempts to fight this ruling–officials say they will take it all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court–is an unfounded fear that homosexual Scout leaders would prey on children. There simply is no evidence that homosexuals are any more likely to molest children than heterosexuals, be they Scout leaders, camp counselors or teachers.

The Boy Scouts of America is an organization dedicated to doing what is right and honorable. It is time for the Scouts to acknowledge that it is a member’s deeds, not who he is, that bring honor upon himself and the organization.

Los Angeles Times
Times Mirror Square, Los Angeles, CA, 90053
Fax 213-237-7679
E-MAIL: letters@latimes.com
www.latimes.com


[ Return to Top ]

2. THE CALIFORNIA SUPREME COURT RULED TODAY THE BOY SCOUTS ARE NOT COVERED BY CALIFORNIA CIVIL RIGHTS LAWS AND CAN EXCLUDE GAYS, AGNOSTICS AND ATHEISTS.
SAN FRANCISCO – March 23, 1998

The California Supreme Court ruled today the Boy Scouts are not covered by California civil rights laws and can exclude gays, agnostics and atheists.

In a pair of unanimous decisions, the court said the Scouts are free, like any private club, to set their own membership policies because they are not a business.

The rulings upheld a decision by a Contra Costa County Scout organization in 1981 to reject an 18-year-old former Eagle Scout as an assistant scoutmaster after learning he was homosexual. Also affected were 9-year-old twin brothers who were barred by an Orange County Cub Scout den in 1990 after they refused to declare a belief in God.

TJ Walker, an Eagle Scout and spokesman for Americans for Religious Liberty, responded:

"The Boy Scouts of America should do a ‘good turn daily’ by ending their discriminatory ways. How can a Boy Scout claim to ‘Be Prepared’ if he doesn’t know how to get along with people of differing beliefs and practices? The California State Supreme Court failed to take into consideration how much the Boy Scouts are accommodated by public tax dollars and public institutions. Why should the Boy Scouts be given the quasi-public status that allows them to recruit in public schools, work with public police departments, meet in public buildings, and receive extra compensation benefits in the armed forces, yet systematically thumb their noses at American principles of fair play?"

Americans for Religious Liberty, founded in 1982, is a public interest educational organization devoted to preserving the American tradition of religious, intellectual, and personal freedom. The organization has published 22 books on religious liberty and is a frequent resource to journalists researching church/state issues. ARL has 5000 members from all 50 states.

Call 212-961-1468 to interview TJ Walker or book him as a talk show guest.


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3. CALIFORNIA COURT BACKS BOY SCOUTS’ BAN
By BOB EGELKO

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – The Boy Scouts are not covered by California civil rights laws and can exclude gays, agnostics and atheists, the state Supreme Court ruled today.

In a pair of unanimous decisions, the court said the Scouts are not a business and therefore are free, like any private club, to set their own membership policies.

One ruling upheld a decision by a Contra Costa County Scout organization in 1981 to reject Timothy Curran, an 18-year-old former Eagle Scout, as an assistant scoutmaster after he disclosed in an interview that he was gay.

The other ruling involved 9-year-old twin brothers, Michael and William Randall, who were barred by an Orange County Cub Scout den in 1990 after they refused to declare a belief in God.

The twins were allowed into the Scouts by lower-court rulings and recently qualified to become Eagle Scouts, Scouting’s highest honor, subject to approval by the national organization. They and their father, James G. Randall, who is also their lawyer, say the boys are agnostics who haven’t yet worked out their religious beliefs.

Both suits were brought under California’s Unruh Civil Rights Act, which forbids discrimination by business establishments on various grounds, including sexual orientation and religion.

The justices said today that the Boy Scouts are a private, selective organization, not a business.

"Scouts meet regularly in small groups (often in private homes) that are intended to foster close friendship, trust and loyalty," said the lead opinion by Chief Justice Ronald George.

"The Boy Scouts is an expressive social organization whose primary function is the inculcation of values in its youth members."

Although the Scouts sell goods to members of the public, George said, "nonmembers cannot purchase entry to pack or troop meetings, overnight hikes, the national jamboree or any portion of the Boy Scouts’ extended training and educational process."

Greg Shields, spokesman for the Boy Scouts of America, said the organization was pleased the court recognized it as a "voluntary association," not a business.

"For 88 years, we’ve taught the moral values of the Scout oath and law to American boys," he said. "Those who meet the standards of this membership organization are welcome to belong."

The ruling contrasts with a decision March 2 by an appellate court in New Jersey that said the Boy Scouts and their local councils were "places of accommodation" with open membership and were covered by the state’s civil rights law. That ruling, in favor of a gay scoutmaster, was the first by any appellate court in the nation against the Scouts’ anti-gay policy.

The Boy Scouts say homosexuality violates their concept of traditional moral values, embodied in a provision of the Scout oath in which members pledge to be "morally straight."

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