Defrocked Minister Endorses Soulforce Methods of Civil Disobedience to End Spiritual Violence Against Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Individuals
PRESS RELEASE October 9, 2000
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Laura Montgomery Rutt, Media Coordinator
Cell: 717-951-7712 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Laguna Beach – Rev. Jimmy Creech, the minister who was defrocked from the United Methodist Church a year ago for performing a same sex union, has officially joined Soulforce as the Chairperson of the Board of Directors. Soulforce is an interfaith network of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender (GLBT) individuals and their family, friends, and allies, committed to applying the principles of nonviolent resistance as taught by Gandhi and King to the liberation of sexual and gender minorities.
The announcement was made in Atlanta on September 23, when the newly formed twenty-one member Soulforce Advisory Board met to continue planning Stage Two in their campaign to STOP SPIRITUAL VIOLENCE. Rev. Creech is also the Chairperson of the Advisory Board. Karen Weldin of Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Bill Carpenter of St. Petersburg, Florida, were selected as Vice Chairpersons for Soulforce National.
Soulforce supporters staged a non-violent civil disobedient protest against the United Methodist Church last year just before Creech’s trial in Nebraska. Dozens of people were arrested. The United Methodist Church had charged him with "Violating the Order and Discipline" of the church by performing a union ceremony for two men.
Then, Soulforce supporters held a weeklong vigil and civil disobedience outside of the United Methodist General Conference, where 191 people were arrested, including Rev. Creech. Similar protests took place during the Presbyterian General Assembly, the Southern Baptist Convention, and the Episcopal Convention. Creech participated in several of these actions.
Rev. Creech plans to take a leading role in the Soulforce actions taking place November 12 – 14 in Washington DC during the National Conference of Catholic Bishops. Vigils and Protests will be taking place outside the National Basilica.
"You don’t need to be a United Methodist to hold the United Methodist Church accountable for the Spiritual Violence against Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender people. I don’t need to be a Catholic to hold the Catholic Church accountable. The Catholic Church hurts millions of people through financially supporting anti-gay legislation and initiatives that deny GLBT people of their civil rights," declared Rev. Creech. "I have decided to officially become part of Soulforce because I believe in the goals of this movement, to use relentless non-violent resistance to end Spiritual Violence."
"Unfortunately, Spiritual Violence against GLBT people originates from all parts of Christ’s body. As people of conscience, we need to hold churches accountable for their bigotry and their contribution to Spiritual Violence against God’s children," Creech continued.
"We are thrilled to have Rev. Creech as our Chairperson," said Rev. Mel White, Co-founder of Soulforce. "Soulforce is working to challenge the structures in the churches that perpetuate bigotry and work against equality for GLBT people both within the churches and society at large. Rev. Creech truly understands the principles of non-violence and how they apply to the GLBT movement for equality and what Soulforce is doing to stop Spiritual Violence."
Rev. Creech has become a folk hero among progressive religious and GLBT individuals and organizations, and has received many awards, including: the Triangle (NC) Business and Professional Guild Award (1997) for advocacy on behalf of gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender persons; the Heart of Freedom Award (1998) presented by ANGLE/Omaha (Achieving New Gay, Lesbian, Bi and Transgender Endeavors); the 1998 NC Pride Inc. Award; 1998 Saint award presented by Metropolitan Community Church, San Francisco; one of OUT Magazine’s 100 for 1998; The Human Rights Campaign Equality Award, 1999; The American People Award from People for the American Way "for challenging bigotry and promoting tolerance within the church (1999); 1999 Dignity Award (Council of Churches, Santa Clara County, California); and, 1999 Pride Interfaith Coalition Award (Boston, Massachusetts).
All people of faith on any spiritual journey are invited to join Soulforce and take part in the DC Action November 12-14. People can register at the Soulforce web site.