Soulforce News Alert
June 5, 2000
There are rumors circulating about our Soulforce presence at the Southern Baptist Convention, June 14, in Orlando. We promise you this: We will not disrupt, anger, or embarrass the SBC or your delegates in any way. Whatever you have heard, we will not block, impede or attempt to enter. We are coming to bring you truth (as we understand it) lovingly and relentlessly.
We are committed to the principles of nonviolence (in thought, word, and deed) as taught by Jesus, Gandhi and King. A large percentage of our delegation is made up of Southern Baptists or former-Southern Baptists with long and loving ties to the SBC. We are all people of faith coming to Orlando in search of reconciliation, not conflict. See the full details of our Orlando visit.
On Wednesday, June 14, we will be standing in prayerful vigil at the Orlando Convention Center. Stop and get acquainted on your way into the Arena. Meet and greet your sisters and brothers who are lesbian or gay, bisexual or transgendered. Meet our parents, friends, and special guests as well. You’ll never really change your minds about us until you know from personal experience that we, too, are people of faith serving the SBC and the wider community of faith with courage, creativity, and commitment.
That morning when you begin the "Introduction of Motions and Resolutions" on the inside of the Convention Center, we will be on the outside facing arrest, fines, possible jail time and a police record. We are committed to this nonviolent, non-disruptive act of civil disobedience (again in the spirit of Jesus, Gandhi, and King) because your official policies against sexual and gender minorities lead to discrimination, suffering, and even death.
You have made it clear that sexual and gender minorities are not welcome in your churches. Your stated belief that homosexuals in loving committed relationships are both sick and sinful supports acts of intolerance and bigotry against God’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered children and gives license to harass, bash, and even kill us. And now, your decision to prohibit women from entering the clergy sends another clear signal to the world that women, too, are a kind of outcast in the SBC. We come to warn you that your decisions endanger the future of the Southern Baptist Church. How can the Spirit of Christ remain where all God’s children are not welcome and equal at the foot of the cross?
On Wednesday, June 14, we will block one small exit to the Convention Center in a symbolic act of protest. Our banners will read, NO EXIT UNTIL JUSTICE! We are praying that God will keep you in the Convention Center until Christ’s Spirit brings revival and renewal to the Southern Baptist Church and in the process opens your blind eyes to the truth that WE ARE GOD’S CHILDREN, TOO. Until that day when you welcome us home, we will bring you truth in love RELENTLESSLY no matter what it costs us. We are being arrested even as you conduct business-as-usual to demonstrate how determined we are to see the SBC open its doors (and its positions of leadership) to all God’s children once again.
Mel White, Co-Founder, Soulforce