Mel White Speaking Engagement in Southern California

Covenant Network : The Future of LGBT Issues."
March 4-6, 2011
St. Mark Presbyterian Church
Newport Beach, CA

The Rev. Dr. Mel White, author of Stranger at the Gate and founder of Soul Force, provides the keynote.  The Rev. Mary Lynn Tobin, pastor of Davis [CA] Community Church and Covenant Network Co-Moderator, preaches the opening worship.

Together we’ll consider such issues as

  • Same-sex marriage
  • Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell
  • Anti-bullying and hate crimes legislation
  • The Employee Non-Discrimination Act
  • Adoption by LGBT persons
  • The Presbyterian Constitution’s paragraph G-6.0106b (the ‘fidelity and chastity’ amendment)

Mel White honored as GLBT Icon

A montage of photographs of famous GLBT people from modern USA history. The text at the top reads 'GLBT History Month October 2010'Our co-founder Mel White was recently honored by GLBT History Month as one of the 2010 Icons. The organization named a different person as an icon for each of the days during GLBT History Month. Mel’s inclusion was accounced this weekend along with Rufus Wainwright and Emanuel Xavier.

To view the full list of 2010 Icons, visit http://www.glbthistorymonth.com/glbthistorymonth/2010/

Soulforce announces Ray Boltz as honorary spokesperson

Ray BoltzThe Board of Directors of Soulforce is deeply honored to announce that Ray Boltz has been named Honorary Spokesperson for our organization effective September 3, 2010.  In this role, Ray will introduce Soulforce to concert audiences around the world and encourage attendees to volunteer and contribute to the mission of Soulforce in the world.  In addition, he will assist with the promotion of the Soulforce Equality Ride 2011 which has been expanded to include a Town Hall meeting in the cities where college campuses are visited by the Ride.  Ray will host a celebration concert in selected cities along the route.  Before Ray came out as a gay man, he served as Spokesperson for Missions of Mercy and raised millions of dollars for orphanages outside the United States.  He developed a very effective witness through music and stories that helped enroll people in these projects.  He plans to use a similar approach in his work with Soulforce. His opening act, Azariah Southworth, was the host of a popular Christian TV series before coming out and went on to be a rider on the 2008 Equality Ride.

Ray Boltz was born in 1953 in Muncie, Indiana, United States) and was a singer songwriter who first came to wide notice in contemporary Christian music. Many of his songs tell stories of faith and inspiration. He was raised by his parents William and Ruth Boltz, and was married to his wife Carol Boltz for over 30 years prior to coming out as gay in 2008. They have four children.  They are now divorced but Carol remains a huge supporter of Ray. 

Boltz wrote "Thank You", which won the Song of the Year prize at the 1990 GMA Dove Awards. After the release of Songs from the Potter’s Field in 2002, and his last tour in 2004, Boltz retired from the music industry and moved to Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

In a September 2008 interview with the Washington Blade, Boltz came out of the closet and announced that he was gay.  Rev. Dr. Cindi Love, then Executive Director of Metropolitan Community Church, co-led a worship service with Ray at MCC Washington D.C. as part of his coming out process. At that same service, Ray introduced the song "Who Would Jesus Love?" at that service.  Ray says the song was inspired by his reading of the book Would Jesus Discriminate? written by Dr. Love. He also stateed that he was further inspired by the work of Rev. Mel White, founder of Soulforce and Rev. Troy Perry, founder of Metropolitan Community Churches. Boltz is also well known for the 1986 song "Watch the Lamb" which has played to millions of people around the world during Easter services.

Biography adapted from Wikipedia
Photo by Howard Zucker

Executive Director to Join Dialogue with Servicemember’s Legal Defense Network

Two weeks ago, Soulforce Executive Director, Dr. Cindi Love and Soulforce Founder, Rev. Mel White, went to Washington, D.C. to meet with eleven LGBTQ advocacy groups, including the Servicemember’s Legal Defense Network.  Dr. Love has been invited to join the conference calls with SLDN to provide insight regarding the influence of fundamentalist religious leaders within and on the armed forces.

We want you to have the background on this dialogue provided in summary by MRFF.  America’s civilian Commander in Chief issued a directive that changes are to occur in the US military. This includes specific expectations of how changes will be put in place to ensure justice and a respect for Constitutional and privacy issues for persons based on sexual orientation. These changes will come about in the future, and it is critical for the military to be ready to understand how this evolution is part of accepting the pluralism of the world in which they function.
Many young and gifted recruits turn to the armed services as a step toward adulthood. Not surprising, many do so with struggles and questions about who they are as a person just as about their spirituality.

Soulforce is grounded in our commitment to ensuring that policies such as Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT) and outdated philosophies regarding sexual and gender orientation do not interfere with any soldier’s free expression of their rights. As you are aware, fundamentalist Christian organizations are fighting the repeal of DADT and we need your help to nonviolently resist the pressure of these organizations.  Please write your representatives in Washington and ask them to repeal DADT now.

Announcing Our New Executive Director: Rev. Dr. Cindi Love

Rev. Dr. Cindi LoveRev. Dr. Cindi Love begins her new duties as Executive Director for USA based nonprofit, SOULFORCE, Inc. on April 22, 2010. Throughout its 12-year history, SOULFORCE has used the principles and practices of Mohandas Gandhi’s and Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King’s relentless nonviolent resistance and direct action to bring attention to and achieve freedom from religious and political oppression of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning people.

Founded by Rev. Dr. Mel White and Gary Nixon in 1998, the first gathering of the SOULFORCE community of volunteers was held in 1999 to protest the anti-gay rhetoric of Rev. Jerry Falwell. Soulforce Equality Riders are currently on a 16-city tour across the south, northeast, and midwest of the USA to bring a message of hope and affirmation to students at colleges with oppressive policies toward LGBTQ students. In July 2010, SOULFORCE will attend the 219th Presbyterian Church (USA) General Assembly and bring its unique witness for truth and justice to the voting members and other attendees.
__________________________________________________________________
Dr. Cindi Love brings a wide range of leadership, management and organizational experience to her new role as SOULFORCE’s Executive Director. From January 2005 until April 2009, she served as the Executive Director of the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches (MCC). Prior to MCC, she served as an Executive Dean in the third largest community college system in the United States, as a Senior Executive of The Toro Company (NYSE:TTC) and CEO and Founder of several award winning corporations, including one named to the INC 500 in 1990. In 1990, Dr. Love was named one of the "Top 50 Entrepreneurs" in North America by Inc. Magazine, the Young Entrepreneur’s Organization, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dr. Love is the creator of the Would Jesus Discriminate? campaign and author of a book by the same name.

"I am really excited that Dr. Cindi Love has accepted the call to serve as Executive Director of SOULFORCE," said the Reverend Dr. Mel White, co-founder of SOULFORCE. "She is the ideal person to continue to lead our non-violent struggle to end misuse of scripture and religion to discriminate against God’s LGBTQ children."

Chuck Phelan, Chair of the Board of SOULFORCE said, "As SOULFORCE transitions from its entrepreneurial stage of development, we are delighted to have Dr. Love in this crucial position of leadership. She brings a unique sensitivity to the issues facing both the LGBTQ rights and civil rights movements. She fully embraces the essential need to engage people in understanding the intersectionality of oppression, particularly within the context of organized religion and its contributions to institutionalized and systemic racism, heterosexism, classism and sexism."

Rev. Gil Caldwell, member of the SOULFORCE Advisory Board, said, "I am convinced as never before that the nation, faith community and beyond needs SOULFORCE! The alienation between and among persons for racial, gender, sexual orientation, political, religious, regional, class, age and other reasons is as great today as I have seen in my 76 years. I am thrilled to hear that Soulforce is committed to challenge anti-black racism as an important component of the fulfillment of its mission. We welcome Rev. Dr. Love to this work and to our SOULFORCE community of activists." Rev. Caldwell is a retired United Methodist Minister who participated in the "Mississippi Freedom Summer" of 1964, the Selma to Montgomery March in 1965, and the March on Washington.

More of Rev. Dr. Cindi Love

Cindi speaks to C-SPAN regarding her book Would Jesus Discriminate?

Rev. Love delivered the 2009 Clergy Call for Justice & Equality in Washington, DC

Cindi with the 2010 Equality Riders
Rev Dr Cindi Love with the 2010 Equality Riders

Leave a message for Cindi

We invite you to welcome Cindi Love into her new role as Executive Director by leaving a comment on our blog.

Press Inquiries

To Arrange Press Interviews,
Phone (888-326-5610)
cindi@soulforce.org

An Open Letter to American Pastors on Uganda’s Anti-Gay Bill by Soulforce Founder Mel White

Soulforce Logo

AN URGENT OPEN LETTER FROM MEL
February 5, 2010

Open Letter from Soulforce to Jan and Paul Crouch, founders of the Trinity Broadcasting Network, and the Evangelical Christian broadcasters who are featured on Lighthouse Television, TBN’s affiliate in Uganda, including:  Matthew Crouch, Joyce MeyerAndrew WommackBenny HinnKenneth CopelandJoel Osteen, T.D. Jakes, and Franklin Graham:

By now you are well aware of the anti-homosexual bill pending before the Parliament of Uganda. We urge you to denounce this bill.  Use your personal friendships with President and Mrs. Museveni, with MP David Bahati (your Christian colleague who proposed this bill) and with Stephen Langa, (the Ugandan Christian organizer behind the bill) to take a public and passionate stand against it.

The media are blaming the visit to Uganda by three of your colleagues for this despicable and truly un-Christian law.  In fact, for years you have used your Lighthouse Television programs, your radio broadcasts and your massive public meetings to warn Ugandans of the so called “threat homosexuals pose to Bible-based values and the traditional African Family.”

In no small part, you are already responsible for the current call by Ugandan leaders to enforce the old law condemning lesbian and gay Ugandans to up to 14 years in prison. This new law increases that sentence to life imprisonment and even death by hanging.  Denounce this new bill or the blood of lesbian and gay Ugandans will be on your hands.

It isn’t just the “liberal media” who are condemning the bill.  In mid-November, Exodus International, the ministry that promises to assist homosexuals in overcoming homosexuality, warned,  "If homosexual behavior and knowledge of such behavior is criminalized and prosecuted, as proposed in this bill, church and ministry leaders will be unable to assist hurting men, women and youth who might otherwise seek help in addressing this personal issue.” While Soulforce does not agree with Exodus that lesbian and gay people need to be "cured," we wholeheartedly agree with their position on this hateful bill.

Warren Throckmorton, a member of the Clinical Advisory Board of the American Association of Christian Counselors warned that this legislation would make their mission “to extend the love and compassion of Christ to all” a difficult if not impossible task.

Your colleague, mega-church pastor Rick Warren, in a very public video appeal to his fellow clergy in Uganda, gives five reasons why Ugandan Christians should not support the bill: (1) it is “unjust, extreme and un-Christian; (2) it would “force pastors to report their pastoral conversations with homosexuals to authorities; (3) “…it would have a chilling effect on your ministry to the hurting… homosexuals who are HIV positive will be reluctant to seek or receive care, comfort and compassion from our churches out of fear of being reported; (4)  “All life, no matter how humble or broken, whether unborn or dying, is precious to God… It would be inconsistent to save some lives and wish death on others…” And (5) “the freedom to make moral choices, and our right to free expression, are gifts endowed by God.” Warren reminds the clergy that Uganda is a democratic country “…and in a democracy everyone has a right to speak up.” Warren concludes by urging them “to speak out against the proposed law.” *

The People of Soulforce urge you to take these warnings seriously.  It is very possible that your silence on this matter will convince the people of Uganda that it is God’s will to condemn homosexuals to life imprisonment or even death by hanging. Your powerful media voices have made you superstars to Ugandans. We implore you to use your power to denounce this bill. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if this time you and the Christian community behaved in the manner of love and justice rather than fulfilling the stereotype of the “liberal media” as ‘hate-filled bigots?

You often ask others, “What would Jesus do?”  This is the perfect time to ask yourselves that question.

The People of Soulforce

Mel White, Founder | Bill Carpenter, Interim Executive Director | Chuck Phelan, Board Chair


* We wish to express our thanks to the Rev. Rick Warren for taking this rather courageous step on behalf of the lesbian and gay people of Uganda. Pastor Warren did everything in his power to avoid meeting with our gay and lesbian parents and their families in 2009 during the Soulforce American Family Outing. We have tried on many occasions to help him understand the tragic consequences of his own teachings about homosexuality and homosexuals. And though we continue hoping that he will meet with a Soulforce delegation to hear the scientific, historic, psychological and personal evidence that homosexuality is one of God’s gifts, we pause in our pursuit just long enough to give him thanks for reaching out to save the lives of our lesbian sisters and gay brothers in Uganda. Thank you, Pastor Warren. We are grateful!

ADDENDUM 1: EXAMPLES OF OTHERS WHO CONDEMN THE BILL

      This bill has been condemned by leaders of Western nations including the Prime Ministers of Canada, Australia, and Great Britain and the President of the United States. The European Parliament passed a resolution against the bill and threatened to cut financial aid to Uganda if it is enacted. They described the bill as “state-legislated genocide.”

      The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch urge Uganda to shelve the bill and decriminalize homosexuality.

      The 16,000 members of the HIV Clinicians Society of South Africa and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS warned that excluding marginalized groups would compromise efforts to stop the spread of AIDS in Uganda where 5.4% of the adult population is infected with HIV.

      The Sunday Times in South Africa warned Uganda that it is in danger of being "dragged back to the dark and evil days of Idi Amin.”
      The New York Times stated unequivocally “that such barbarism (in the bill) is intolerable and will make Uganda an international pariah.”
      The Washington Post labeled the bill "ugly and ignorant", "barbaric", and "that it is even being considered puts Uganda beyond the pale of civilized nations.”
      The Los Angeles Times warned that the bill would cause gay Ugandans to face an "impossible, insulting, historical, cruel and utterly false choice of having to choose between being gay and being African.”

      The Anglican Reverend Canon Gideon Byamugisha said that the Bill "would become state-legislated genocide.”

      The Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams has said in a public interview that he did not see how any Anglican could support it: "Overall, the proposed legislation is of shocking severity and I can’t see how it could be supported by any Anglican who is committed to what the Communion has said in recent decades. Apart from invoking the death penalty, it makes pastoral care impossible – it seeks to turn pastors into informers."

      The Vatican legal attach塚ィヘ妺ィヘ塚蔘_妺見 to the United Nations stated that "Pope Benedict is opposed to ‘unjust discrimination’ against gay men and lesbians.”

ADDENDUM 2: AS IN THE U.S., PAUL CAMERON IS THE PRIMARY SOURCE OF THE HALF-TRUTH, HYPERBOLE AND LIES ABOUT HOMOSEXUALITY AND HOMOSEXUALS UPON WHICH THE BILL IS BASED

      Stephen Langa, the March 2009 workshop organizer, specifically cited an unlicensed conversion therapist named Richard A. Cohen who states in a book that was given to Langa and other prominent Ugandans,

“Homosexuals are at least 12 times more likely to molest children than heterosexuals; homosexual teachers are at least 7 times more likely to molest a pupil; homosexual teachers are estimated to have committed at least 25 percent of pupil molestation; 40 percent of molestation assaults were made by those who engage in homosexuality.”

      These statements were based on faulty studies performed by Paul Cameron who has been expelled from the American Psychological Association, the Canadian Psychological Association and the American Sociological Association. Cohen, himself, confirmed the weaknesses of these studies, stating that when the book will be reprinted, these statistics will be removed.

ADDENDUM 3: OUR SOURCES

Jeffrey Gettleman, writing for theNew York Times, January 4, 2010, reported on “Americans’ Role in Uganda Anti-Gay Push.”
      http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/04/world/africa/04uganda.html

Erin Roach, posted on Baptist News, November 18, 2009, the news that “Exodus Opposes Uganda’s Proposed Anti-Gay Law.”
      http://www.bpnews.net/bpnews.asp?id=31715

Baptist Press, December 13, 2009, announced that “Mega-Church Pastor Rick Warren Condemns Uganda Anti-Gay Bill.
      http://www.opposingviews.com/i/mega-church-pastor-rick-warren-condemns-uganda-anti-gay-bill

The editors of Wikipedia have assembled the best history of this bill and the world’s response:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uganda_Anti-Homosexuality_Bill

YouTube carries the complete video of Rick Warren’s Open Letter to the Clergy of Uganda*
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1jmGu9o4fDE

 

ADDENDUM 4: CONTACT INFORMATION

Trinity Broadcasting Network 
http://www.tbn.org
Business Office: (714) 832-2950
Trinity Broadcasting Network
P. O. Box A
Santa Ana, CA 92711

Matthew Crouch
matthewcrouch@matthewcrouch.com &
mwc@8c.com

Joyce Meyer  
P.O. Box 655
Fenton, MO 63026
Phone: 1-800-727-9673
(636) 349-0303 (outside the U.S.)

Andrew Wommack
850 Elkton Drive
Colorado Springs, CO 80907
Admin. Phone: (719) 635-2111
Fax: (719) 635-1777 ,  Andrew Wommack Ministries, Inc.
awommack@aol.com

Benny Hinn Ministries Headquarters
P.O. Box 162000
Irving, TX, 75016-2000
1-800-433-1900
  
Kenneth Copeland
Kenneth Copeland Ministries
Fort Worth, TX 76192-0001
Telephone: 800-600-7395
Fax: 817-252-3499
http://www.kcm.org

Joel Osteen, 1-888-567-JOEL
PO BOX 4600
Houston, TX 77210
http://www.joelosteen.com

T. D. Jakes Ministries, Inc.
The Potters House

http://www.tdjakes.com
P. O. Box 5390
Dallas, TX  75208

1.800.BISHOP.2   

Franklin Graham:
Samaritan’s Purse
P.O. Box 3000
Boone, NC 28607
Phone (828) 262-1980
Fax (828) 266-1056
http://www.samaritanspurse.org/


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