Soulforce Mourns the Murder of Kenneth Cummings Jr. and Demands Accountability for Purveyors of Religion-based Hate

For Immediate Release
Contact: Paige Schilt, Director of Public Relations and Media
Cell: 512-659-1771

(Austin, TX) — Today Soulforce mourns the senseless death of Kenneth Cummings Jr., a Houston-area man who was murdered on June 4, 2007.

According to this Sunday’s Houston Chronicle, Terry Mark Mangum of Cypress, Texas, has been charged with murdering Cummings in his home after the two met at a Houston gay bar. Magnum reportedly claims that God commanded him to "carry out a code of retribution" because "sexual perversion" is the "worst sin."

Soulforce founder Mel White, author of Religion Gone Bad: the Hidden Dangers of the Christian Right, reacted by asking citizens, religious leaders, and journalists to demand accountability from the purveyors of religion-based hate:

"This death is just one more smoking gun found at the scene of another crime caused directly by fundamentalist Christian leaders whose obsessive anti-homosexual campaign leads to tragic consequences they will not admit," says White.

"Soulforce has been saying for years that their rhetoric leads to suffering and death, and now-once again-we have the sickening evidence to prove it."

According to a story in the Brazosport Facts, Mangum cited "my belief of God judging him" as justification for stabbing and murdering Cummings.

"This Bible-based fear and loathing of homosexuals was shaped in Magnum’s mind — just as it is being shaped in the minds of tens of millions of Americans — by the anti-homosexual teachings of the radio and television fundavangelists, the Southern Baptists, Elders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Ladder Day Saints, fundamentalist leaders in every Protestant denomination and priests, bishops, and cardinals of the Roman Catholic Church," says White.

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