Soulforce Releases Video of Visit to New Life Church

Survivors of Ex-gay Ministries Visit Ted Haggard’s Former Church to Tell of the Harm Caused by Message that Gays Should Must Change

******************************************
SOULFORCE PRESS RELEASE: July 9, 2007
For Immediate Release
Contact: Paige Schilt, Director of Public Relations and Media
Cell: 512-659-1771
paige@soulforce.org
******************************************

(Colorado Springs, CO) — Today Soulforce released video of an action outside New Life Church. To view the video, go to: www.soulforce.org/article/1281

On Sunday, July 8, three survivors of "ex-gay" ministries and counseling — Christine Bakke, Daniel Gonzales, and Peterson Toscano — traveled to New Life Church to speak out about the emotional, financial, and spiritual harm caused by the message that lesbians and gays can and should change their sexual orientation. They told their stories just outside the west entrance of the church and then walked to the church’s World Prayer Center to present framed collages depicting their experiences.

Once inside the World Prayer Center, the three former ex-gays spoke with two New Life pastors who greeted them cordially, listened to their concerns, and indicated a willingness to engage in further discussions.

"I think that things really shifted when we explained that this is not about politics, this is about pastoral care," said Toscano.

In November 2006, former New Life pastor Ted Haggard was dismissed from church leadership after allegations that he purchased drugs and engaged the services of a male escort. At that time, the church’s board of overseers recommended that Haggard submit to Dr. James Dobson, and megachurch pastors Tommy Barnett and Jack Hayford for a program of "healing and restoration." Dobson demurred and was replaced by H.B. London, Assistant Vice President at Focus on the Family.

The New Life board’s prescribed treatment reinforced the message that gays and lesbians can and must change their sexual orientation.

In her Sunday statement, Bakke, a Colorado resident, explained how similar messages motivated her to try to change her sexual orientation.

"I believed I had to change my orientation so that I could be considered holy and acceptable by God and those in church communities just like the one here," she said.

For seven years, Bakke single-mindedly pursued change. She tried prayer, support groups, reparative therapy, and pastoral counseling. She even attended a weekend seminar at New Life Church and met with two women in Colorado Springs who attempted to heal her by casting out demons.

In the end, Bakke "felt betrayed by the knowledge that many of the people who had talked about change actually meant a change in behavior but not in orientation….I walked away feeling damaged and broken."

As part of her healing process, Bakke co-founded beyondexgay.com with Toscano. The site, which went live this April, provides a space for ex-gay survivors to connect and share their experiences.

Twenty-six year old Gonzales spoke about his experiences with secular "conversion therapy." His experiences underscore the position of the American Psychological Association, which warned in 1998 that reparative therapy puts patients at risk for "depression, anxiety, and self-destructive behavior," because "therapist alignment with societal prejudices against homosexuality may reinforce self-hatred already experienced by the patient."

Sunday’s press conference was organized by Soulforce and is part of a national campaign to highlight the stories of "ex-gay survivors" — men and women who believe that attempts to change sexual orientation did more harm than good.


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.

Video from the Press Conference Outside New Life Church

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

Survivor’s Initiative – New Life Church Action – Part 1 of 2

[youtube=Wyl6X9hyQdU] 

Survivor’s Initiative – New Life Church Action – Part 2 of 2

[youtube=SXTGMOKMZpo] 

Survivor’s Initiative Explained

[youtube=Zqpaq39u4dc] 

Get Flash Player (required to play)

"Survivor’s Initiative – New Life Church Action" video by Daniel Gonzales.

Young Adults Arrested at Focus on the Family

Couple Faces Charges to Publicize Dobson’s Divisive Politics on Fostering and Adoption

******************************************
SOULFORCE PRESS RELEASE: May 11, 2007
For Immediate Release
Contact: Paige Schilt, Director of Public Relations and Media
Cell: 512-659-1771
paige@soulforce.org
******************************************

(Colorado Springs, CO) — At 11:00 a.m. on May 11, 2007, Amanda Harris, 22, of Conway, Arkansas, and Kourt Osborn, 21, of Kanab, Utah, entered Focus on the Family headquarters during a regularly scheduled tour. Once inside, they spoke to fellow visitors about their experiences as a queer woman and a transgender man, and they held a sit-in to raise public awareness about the organization’s defamation of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Americans. They were arrested for trespassing at approximately 12:30 p.m., processed at a nearby facility, and then released.

The sit-in, which is the third action in an ongoing campaign called "Focus on the Facts," coincided with Focus on the Family’s summit on orphan care. Although summit materials speak of "unity in the Body of Christ for the sake of the orphan," the organization’s politics on adoption and foster care have historically been more divisive than uniting. Most recently, in his April 19 broadcast, Dobson urged Colorado citizens to pressure the governor to veto HB 1330, the Second Parent Adoption Bill.

James Dobson and his colleagues have consistently misrepresented LGBT families and individuals as dangerous, sinful, and undeserving of equal protection under the law. These dehumanizing portrayals are often bolstered by misleading references to social science research. In recent months, several social scientists — including Dr. Carol Gilligan of New York University and Dr. Kyle Pruett of Yale — have publicly rebuked Dobson for mischaracterizing their research conclusions.

"The misinformation that Focus on the Family employs does not create a stronger family and does not defend it, but creates barriers and breaks apart families across the country, including my own" says Osborn, who recently completed the 8-week Soulforce Equality Ride.

Focus on the Facts calls on Dobson to take a step toward reconciliation with the LGBT community by ceasing his misleading statements about social science research on LGBT families.

Focus on the Facts aims to intervene in Dobson and Focus on the Family’s representations of lesbian and gay families through an ongoing campaign of civil disobedience modeled on Gandhi’s nonviolent "Satyagraha" movement. In the words of Nelson Mandela, Gandhi "believed in the efficacy of pitting the soul force of the Satyagraha against the brute force of the oppressor and in effect converting the oppressor to the right and moral point."


The Focus on the Facts campaign is coordinated by Soulforce, a national LGBT social justice organization founded on principles of nonviolence. For more than a decade, members and allies of Soulforce have confronted Focus on the Family’s anti-gay rhetoric and publicized its harmful impact on the lives of individuals, parents, and children. For more information go to www.soulforce.org.

Soulforce Releases Video of "Focus on the Facts" Campaign; Citizens Bring Roses and Reality Check to Dobson’s Headquarters

******************************************
SOULFORCE PRESS RELEASE: May 1, 2007
For Immediate Release
Contact: Paige Schilt, Media Director
Cell: 512-659-1771
paige@soulforce.org
******************************************

(Colorado Springs, CO) — Soulforce has posted video documenting an ongoing campaign called "Focus on the Facts," which asks Focus on the Family founder James Dobson to cease his misleading statements about research on lesbian and gay parents.

At approximately 10:30 a.m. on April 28, 2007, Christopher Hubble and Leigh Lyon of Denver, Colorado, were arrested and removed from Dr. James Dobson’s ministry headquarters in police custody. The two entered the campus after an earlier vigil during which participants silently prayed for Dr. Dobson’s wholeness and then read aloud numerous inflammatory and dehumanizing statements that Dobson and his associates have published over the years regarding lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people and their families.

During the first Focus on the Facts action on February 19, Soulforce was challenged to document Dr. Dobson’s and his colleagues’ negative bias toward LGBT people. Later, in an interview with Reuters, Dobson claimed that he has never made a hateful statement about lesbians and gays.

At the April 28 event, Soulforce members provided ample evidence to belie Dobson’s claims.

Video of the vigil and the recitation of the statements is available at: www.soulforce.org/article/1257

This is the second action in the Focus on the Facts campaign, which is modeled on Gandhi’s Satyagraha campaigns in South Africa and India. In the words of Nelson Mandela, Gandhi "believed in the efficacy of pitting the soul force of the Satyagraha against the brute force of the oppressor and in effect converting the oppressor to the right and moral point."


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.

Focus on the Facts: April 28, 2007

[googlevideo=-809226073899638175]

Get Flash Player (required to play)

On April 28, 2007, Soulforce conducted a vigil during which participants silently prayed for Dr. Dobson’s wholeness and then read aloud numerous inflammatory and dehumanizing statements that Dr. Dobson and his associates have published over the years regarding lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people and their families. Afterwards Christopher Hubble and Leign Lyon of Denver, Colorado walked onto the campus of Focus on the Family and refused to leave until the organization’s founder, Dr. Dobson, takes a step toward reconciliation with LGBT communities by ceasing his misleading statements about research on lesbian and gay parents. The two were charged with trespassing, processed at a nearby facility, and released.

The "Focus on the Facts" campaign is coordinated by Soulforce, a national LGBT social justice organization founded on principles of nonviolence. For more than a decade, members and allies of Soulforce have confronted Focus on the Family’s anti-gay rhetoric and publicized its harmful impact on the lives of individuals, parents, and children.

"Focus on the Facts" video produced by Kate Burns.

Focus on the Facts Returns to Dobson’s Headquarters

Two Arrested Holding Dobson Accountable for Anti-gay Statements

******************************************
SOULFORCE PRESS RELEASE: April 28, 2007
For Immediate Release
Contact: Paige Schilt, Media Director
Cell: 512-659-1771
paige@soulforce.org
Local Soulforce Contact: Christopher Hubble, Soulforce Colorado State Organizer
Cell: 720-226-8291
cahubble05@yahoo.com
******************************************

(Colorado Springs, CO) — At approximately 10:30 a.m. on April 28, 2007, Christopher Hubble and Leigh Lyon of Denver, Colo., were arrested and removed from Dr. James Dobson’s ministry headquarters in police custody. The couple entered the campus after an earlier vigil during which participants silently prayed for Dr. Dobson’s wholeness and then read aloud numerous inflammatory and dehumanizing statements that Dr. Dobson and his associates have published over the years regarding lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people and their families. After entering the campus, and being confronted by ministry officials, Hubble and Lyon refused to leave until the organization’s founder, Dr. Dobson, takes a step toward reconciliation with LGBT communities by ceasing his misleading statements about research on lesbian and gay parents.

The two were charged with trespassing, processed at a nearby facility, and released.

"The goal of this direct action campaign of civil disobedience is not to embarrass or shame Dr. Dobson–but to open his heart," said Hubble. "I sincerely hope that this ‘nonviolent conversation’ will persuade him and his associates to finally end their partisan campaign of untruthful rhetoric which causes so much suffering for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people."

On February 19, during the first Focus on the Facts action, Soulforce was challenged to document Dr. Dobson’s and his colleagues’ negative bias toward LGBT people. More recently, in a Reuters article, Dr. Dobson claimed that he has never made a hateful statement about lesbians and gays, in spite of ample evidence to the contrary.

Hubble and Lyon attempted to present Dr. Dobson with two dozen yellow roses and evidence of his anti-LGBT statements. The Soulforce booklet "A False Focus on My Family" and open DVD letter "Dear Dr. Dobson" comprise exhaustive documentation of Dr. Dobson’s and his associates’ hurtful and misleading statements about lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities.

"As a mother, I am here to stand against the condemnation that Dr. Dobson and his colleagues heap on gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgendered people and the parents that raise them–because it results in suicides and alienation from God. I want to see this end and I am here to say NO MORE! God loves us all," said Lyon.

Dr. Dobson and associates frequently attempt to discredit LGBT parenting with references to "more than 10,000 studies that have showed that children do best when they have a mom and a dad." According to the American Psychological Association (APA), such claims rely on "studies that simply do not address gay and lesbian parents and their children."Moreover, "no credible evidence shows that children raised by lesbian or gay parents differ in any important respects from those raised by heterosexual parents." In recent months, several social scientists — including Dr. Carol Gilligan of New York University and Dr. Kyle Pruett of Yale — have publicly rebuked him for mischaracterizing their research conclusions.

Focus on the Facts is an ongoing campaign of civil disobedience modeled on Gandhi’s Satyagraha campaigns in South Africa and India. In the words of Nelson Mandela, Gandhi "believed in the efficacy of pitting the soul force of the Satyagraha against the brute force of the oppressor and in effect converting the oppressor to the right and moral point."

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.

For more information about Dr. Dobson’s misrepresentation of social science research and other Soulforce resources, visit:

CO-SPONSORS INCLUDE:

LGBT Caucus of the Douglas County Democrats: supports the DC Dems and their candidates, and advocates for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered (LGBT) issues in Douglas County, Colorado; provides a forum in which lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender citizens and supporters may gather and discuss issues and advise the county Party on matters of interest to the LGBT community; promotes activities in support of the LGBT community in Douglas County and Colorado.

Pikes Peak Gay & Lesbian Community Center: Proudly serving the interests of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in the Pikes Peak region since 1978. (www.ppglcc.org/)

Pikes Peak Metropolitan Community Church in Colorado Springs: fully supports and sponsors Soulforce in its endeavors to fight for social justice and against all forms of oppression towards the LGBT community.

Just Spirit: A Center for People of all Faiths to Work for Justice…
Founded in 2006 and based in the conservative Christian stronghold of Colorado Springs, CO, Just Spirit is dedicated to fighting the overwhelming influence of the Religious Right and the onslaught of its ultraconservative agenda for the lives of all Americans.
(www.justspirit.org)

Dobson’s and Associates’ Quotes Read During April 28 Vigil

"The homosexual agenda is a beast…It wants our kids…" Focus on the Family Citizen Magazine, January 2003.

"Communities do not let prostitutes, pedophiles, voyeurs, adulterers, and those who sexually prefer animals to publicly celebrate their lifestyles, so why should homosexuals get such privileges?" James Dobson’s War On America, Gil Alexander-Moegerle, Prometheus Books, 1997.

"The opposite of homosexuality is not heterosexuality, it’s holiness." Love Won Out Director, Mike Haley, in an interview for The Jesus Machine: How James Dobson, Focus on the Family, and Evangelical America Are Winning the Culture War, Dan Gilgoff.

"Saying there’s a constitutional guarantee for two homosexuals to marry is just a few steps away from saying there’s a constitutional guarantee to marry more than one person, or for relatives to marry, or even for people to marry their pets," Dr. James Dobson, Cybercast News Service, May 18, 2004.

"Solid, irrefutable evidence proves that there are lethal consequences to engaging in the defining features of male homosexuality — that is, promiscuity." Straight Answers, Exposing the Myths and Facts About Homosexuality, Focus on the Family’s "Love Won Out" series, p. 12.

"Lesbian relationships are equally unhealthy and just as life-threatening as gay male relationships." Straight Answers, Exposing the Myths and Facts About Homosexuality, Focus on the Family’s "Love Won Out" series, p. 21.

"Moms and dads, are you listening? This movement is the greatest threat to your children. It is a particular danger to your wide-eyed boys, who have no idea what demoralization is planned for them." Dr. James Dobson, Bringing Up Boys, "The Origins of Homosexuality," p.125.

"Just as the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 by the empire of Japan served to energize and mobilize the armed forces of the United States, it would appear that the vicious assault on marriage and the church in recent months has begun to reinvigorate people of faith. I see indications that the church is marshalling its forces and preparing to meet the challenge. Evil has a way of overreaching, and that appears to have happened regarding the blatant lawless attack on marriage and biblical morality," Marriage Under Fire: The State of our Union, Focus on the Family’s website.

"Any incident that happens to place a particular strain on the relationship between a child and parent of the same sex is potentially causative," The Truth Comes Out: The Roots and Causes of Male Homosexuality, Focus on the Family’s "Love Won Out Series," P. 10.

"They don’t just want marriage. They want to destroy marriage and the family as we know it." Focus on the Family, CitizenLink Q&A: The Homosexual Agenda, July 25, 2003.

"Traditional marriage between one man and one woman can not co-exist with homosexual marriage. It will destroy the family." The Battle for Marriage, television simulcast to over 700 churches, May 23, 2004.

"What do we know about this disorder? Well first, it is a disorder, despite the denials of the American Psychiatric Association." Dr. James Dobson, Bringing Up Boys, "The Origins of Homosexuality," P. 115.


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.

Listen Here to Today’s Press Teleconference on LGBT Parenting Research


Today, Soulforce convened a national press teleconference to speak out against an alarming disinformation campaign in America by those who oppose equality for gay and lesbian people and their families.

Social scientists and representatives from the American Psychiatric Association, American Counseling Association, American Psychological Association, and the National Association of Social Workers joined the call to review the reputable mainstream research on children raised by same-gender parents. They also described specific examples of how that research is distorted by James Dobson and others to justify discriminatory public policy and encouraged the media to fact-check such false claims in the future before they report them.

Soulforce was joined by Wayne Besen and Truth Wins Out, who today announced a new website, www.RespectMyResearch.org, which includes a collection of videos, created by both organizations, that show social scientists refuting James Dobson’s dishonest claims. For complete bios of the social scientists on today’s press teleconference call, go to www.soulforce.org/article/1186.

Download MP3 file

Here is the direct link to the audio file if you want to download and listen to it offline.

Read the transcript

A transcript of the Press Teleconference on LGBT Parenting Research is available at www.soulforce.org/article/1198.

Lesbian Couple Arrested for Peaceful Protest at Focus on the Family: Soulforce Campaign Asks Dobson to Take Steps Toward Reconciliation with LGBT Community

******************************************
SOULFORCE PRESS RELEASE: February 19, 2007
For Immediate Release
Contact: Paige Schilt, Media Director
Cell: 512-659-1771
paige@soulforce.org
******************************************

(Colorado Springs, CO) — At approximately 1:30 p.m. on February 19, 2007, Dotti Berry and Robynne Sapp of Blaine, Wash., were arrested and removed from Focus on the Family headquarters in police custody. The couple entered the building earlier in the day and refused to leave until the organization’s founder, James Dobson, takes a step toward reconciliation with lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) communities by ceasing his misleading statements about research on lesbian and gay parents.

They have been charged with trespassing and have not yet been released.

"I am here today because I believed Dr. Dobson’s teachings for many years, and it almost led to my suicide. My healing came from my acceptance of myself and my acceptance that God loves me exactly as I am," said Sapp. Sapp and Berry have toured Focus on the Family twice before to dialogue with visitors and staff about LGBT individuals and families.

Dobson has consistently misrepresented LGBT families with misleading references to social science research. In recent months, several social scientists — including Dr. Carol Gilligan of New York University and Dr. Kyle Pruett of Yale — have publicly rebuked him for mischaracterizing their research conclusions.

Dobson and other Focus spokespeople frequently discredit LGBT parenting with references to "more than 10,000 studies that have showed that children do best when they have a mom and a dad." According to the American Psychological Association (APA), such claims rely on "studies that simply do not address gay and lesbian parents and their children." Moreover, "no credible evidence shows that children raised by lesbian or gay parents differ in any important respects from those raised by heterosexual parents."

Berry and Sapp are the first participants in an ongoing campaign called "Focus on the Facts," which is modeled on Gandhi’s Satyagraha campaigns in South Africa and India. In the words of Nelson Mandela, Gandhi "rightly believed in the efficacy of pitting the soul force of the Satyagraha against the brute force of the oppressor and in effect converting the oppressor to the right and moral point."

"I am here to mirror Dr. Dobson’s human essence, so that the reflection will cause him to fully understand why it is important to begin telling a new and true story, one that empowers all of us," says Berry.

Berry and Sapp will speak to the media outside Focus on the Family headquarters when they are released later this afternoon.

The Focus on the Facts campaign is coordinated by Soulforce, a national LGBT social justice organization founded on principles of nonviolence. For more than a decade, members and allies of Soulforce have confronted Focus on the Family’s anti-gay rhetoric and publicized its harmful impact on the lives of individuals, parents, and children.


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.

Focus on the Facts: Robynne Sapp and Dotti Berry

[googlevideo=-8003306472349571226] 

Get Flash Player (required to play)

On February 19, 2007, Dotti Berry and Robynne Sapp of Blaine, Washington were arrested and removed from Focus on the Family headquarters in police custody. The couple entered the building earlier in the day and refused to leave until the organization’s founder, James Dobson, takes a step toward reconciliation with lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) communities by ceasing his misleading statements about research on lesbian and gay parents.

The "Focus on the Facts" campaign is coordinated by Soulforce, a national LGBT social justice organization founded on principles of nonviolence. For more than a decade, members and allies of Soulforce have confronted Focus on the Family’s anti-gay rhetoric and publicized its harmful impact on the lives of individuals, parents, and children.

Read Dotti and Robynne’s report.

"Focus on the Facts" video produced by Kate Burns.

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

******************************************
SOULFORCE MEDIA ADVISORY: February 19, 2007
For Immediate Release
Contact: Paige Schilt, Media Director
Cell: 512-659-1771
paige@soulforce.org
******************************************

(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.