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the Dove of Peace calls all compassionate Souls to gather as Onethe Dove of Peace calls all compassionate Souls to gather as One
 

Bringing Truth and Love to the World
A Soulforce Invitation to Help End the Anti-Homosexual Wars

Full Story follows, but here is the LATEST:   N-E-W-S

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HERO OF THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT
LEADS MARCH ON FOX FAMILY CHANNEL

Soulforce Press Release February 24, 2000

CLERGY CLOSE DOWN FOX FAMILY HEADQUARTERS
DEMAND TV TIME TO RESPOND TO ANTI-GAY RHETORIC

Seen Three Hours Daily on the Fox Family Channel,
Pat Robertson's 700 Club Targeted By Clergy Protest

(Los Angeles, CA.) Refusing to be intimidated by a rare winter thunderstorm, twenty-six Christian ministers and Jewish rabbis waded through the flooded streets of West Los Angeles on their cold, wet march to the international headquarters of the Fox Family Channel. "We're seeking justice for God's lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered children," said a smiling Frank Wulf, the United Methodist Chaplain at UCLA who hosted a pre-march luncheon at the University Religious Conference. "A little rain won't stop us."

With police and curious spectators looking on, uniformed security guards blocked all entrances to the high rise glass and marble headquarters of Rupert Murdoch's Fox Family Channel and its partner, Saban Entertainment at 10960 Wilshire Boulevard. "For eighteen months we've tried to get an appointment with Fox Family executives to discuss our serious concerns about Pat Robertson's anti-homosexual rhetoric on their channel," explained Ed Bacon, the Rector of All Saints Episcopal in Pasadena, California. "Now they would rather close down the entire business than meet with us to work out a solution that would satisfy everyone including Mr. Robertson."

With guards blocking all entrances to the public lobby there was no way for the clergy protestors to access the elevators that would carry them to their uninvited meeting with Richard Cronin, the President and CEO of the Fox Family Channel, in his offices on the eighth floor. "If they want to close down their business, then let's help them," said Dr. Mel White, a Co-Chair of the Clergy Committee to Bring Truth to Fox and the founder of Soulforce, a network of people of faith seeking justice for sexual minorities.

Immediately, the clergy formed two groups, locked arms at both entrances to the building, and began to sing "We shall overcome" led by Rabbi Denise Eger of Congregation Kol Ami. Security guards, surprised and enraged by the turn of events, unlocked the doors and began to shove and curse the clergy. "We were stunned by their violent response to our nonviolent protest. They were thugs," said the Rev. Nancy Wilson, an elder in the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches and pastor of MCCLA. "We are only asking two things of Fox," she explained. "We want a meeting with Mr. Robertson (which he refuses) and we want TV time on Fox Family to respond to Mr. Robertson's misinformation campaign."

Carrying "Beware the Fox" signs and singing songs of the civil rights movement, the clergy closed down the Fox Family headquarters for more than one hour. Police were in place to arrest the demonstrators. Police vans arrived to carry them away. But Fox Family officials decided to leave the building closed rather than suffer the negative publicity that would follow the arrest of two dozen respected pastors, priests, and rabbis protesting Pat Robertson's anti-family rhetoric on their "family" channel.

"They're hoping that we'll just go away," Mel White said quietly to a Canadian reporter. "But Gandhi and King teach us that our 'soul force' search for justice must be relentless. On Friday, March 24, we shall return and we're inviting our friends and allies to join us. We're going to train hundreds of nonviolent demonstrators to close down the Fox Family Channel once a month until they take us seriously. Pat Robertson's anti-homosexual misinformation campaign leads to terrible suffering for families all across the nation. We must help cut off that suffering at its source."

For information go to: www.soulforce.org
Click on "Beware the Fox"

To contact:   Mel White or The Committee Offices,
Phone: (949) 455-0999, Fax: (949) 455-0959
Email: BewareTheFox@soulforce.org

To Contact:   Rev. Frank Wulf (310) 208-6869; Rev. Nancy Wilson (310) 854-9110;
Rev. Ed Bacon (626) 796-1172; Rabbi Denise Eger (310) 248-6320

OK TO FORWARD, PRINT, OR PUBLISH WITHOUT PERMISSION

Soulforce Press Release February 22, 2000

James Lawson, Dr. King's "Soul Mate in Nonviolence"
Heads Clergy Protest of Anti-Homosexual Rhetoric

(LOS ANGELES, CA.) The hero of THE CHILDREN, David Halberstam's prize-winning history of the civil rights movement, is convinced that seeking justice for sexual minorities is "the next civil rights frontier."
The Rev. Dr. James Lawson, Co-Chair with Mel White of the Committee to Bring Truth to Pat Robertson and the Fox Family Channel,
believes that "Gay and lesbian Americans face an even more
difficult struggle than we African-Americans faced. We had our families
and our churches to support us. They have neither."

Dr. Lawson, one of King's closest associates, trained the young people who revolutionized the civil rights movement in the 1960s with their sit-ins, freedom rides, and nonviolent marches. "The principles of Gandhian nonviolence helped us end segregation in the 60s," Lawson explains. "Now it's time to apply those principles on behalf of justice for sexual minorities."

"Dr. Lawson's decision to support our GLBT struggle for justice is a gift from God," states Mel White, Co-Chair of Soulforce, Inc., a network of people of faith determined to apply the principles of nonviolence to the liberation of sexual minorities. "Jim Lawson's lifetime experience as a civil rights activist, his committment to Gandhi's 'soul force,' his gifts as speaker and teacher, his connections with other justice and peace movements around the globe, and his deeply held faith that our Creator seeks justice for all could renew and redirect our entire GLBT movement."

FLASH!   At a 12-Noon luncheon and a 1:30 press conference, Wednesday, February 23, in Westwood, Dr. Lawson will explain why he's leading dozens of interfaith clergy in protesting the anti-homosexual rhetoric of Pat Robertson's 700 Club, seen three times daily on the Fox Family Channel. Following the press conference, Lawson will lead the clergy on a march to the Fox Family world headquarters to present their case against Robertson's "rhetoric of intolerance."

"For eighteen months Fox executives have refused to meet with us," Lawson explains. "It's too bad. We're only trying to help them understand why (with Pat Robertson featured three hours daily) their 'family channel' is no longer safe for America's families. We aren't trying to embarrass or censor Fox Family or Mr. Robertson. We just want them to hear the truth, that homosexuals are God's children, too. Mr. Robertson's anti-homosexual campaign is not only untrue, it leads to discrimination, suffering, and even death."

Dr. Lawson is convinced that "Mr. Robertson uses anti-homosexual rhetoric to raise money and mobilize volunteers. He misquotes the Bible to support his false and divisive views. It's nothing new. Southern preachers like Robertson were misusing the Bible to demean and demonize black Americans in the 1960s just like they're misusing the Bible to demean and demonize gay Americans today."

FLASH!   Members of the Press are invited to lunch with Dr. Lawson and the other concerned clergy 12-Noon, February 23, at the University Religious Conference at UCLA, 900 Hilgard Ave., Westwood, CA. The Press Conference is at 1:30 followed immediately by the four block march to Fox Family headquarters at 10960 Wilshire Blvd. If Fox executives continue to refuse to meet with the clergy, the clergy have promised an immediate nonviolent direct action against Fox and a nationwide campaign to boycott Fox Family and its sponsors.

Contact: MEL WHITE, Co-Chair (949) 455-0999 or
Email: RevMel@aol.com

PLEASE FORWARD, POST, PRINT, CELEBRATE!!!

Prior Postings:

from Rev. Mel White: "Until last Tuesday (Aug.17), Jerry Falwell
had refused to negotiate an end to his anti-homosexual campaign. We were preparing a Soulforce Direct Action on October 22-24, 1999, to demonstrate our commitment and to convince him to negotiate seriously.
Gathering has been set for Oct.23,
at Liberty University, where Falwell is chancellor.

On Tuesday, Aug. 17, Gary, Diana Westbrook, and I visited with Jerry
and his team in Lynchburg, VA. Now, our Direct Action has taken
a whole new turn. Jerry has invited 200 of us to dine
with him and 200 of his leaders in Lynchburg.

Once again, Gandhi is proven right. Just the promise of a powerful but nonviolent direct action can create a new spirit of dialogue. I'm getting e-mail from people all over the country who are convinced that Jerry will sabotage our meeting or "use us" for his own homophobic purposes. I think Jerry is as concerned about lowering the rhetoric as we are and that he will use our time together to seek new understanding for both sides.

However, if he doesn't, we will begin planning another Direct Action.
Either way, it is important to know the Soulforce rules for Direct Action.
They follow. In the meantime, remember those
who dared to act on behalf of justice in ages past.

...Queen Esther:   A closeted Jew, married to the most powerful man
in the world, risks her marriage, her financial security, and her reputation
in the court to "come out" to her husband King Ahasuerus
to save her people from holocaust.

Esther's direct action? She broke a law (civil disobedience)
that was punishable by death - to approach the King in his chambers
without an invitation. And in breaking the law
(and risking her life) she saved her people.

...Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego   (In youth camp we called them "my shack, your shack and a bungalow." Ah, youth.) These three young Jews refused to worship a gold image of King Nebuchadnezzar (the King of Babylon whose armies had occupied Israel). They risked their lives in this act of civil disobedience and were thrown into a fiery furnace for their trouble.

...Daniel   Another young Jew, appointed by King Darius
as the second most powerful person in the land, risked his
position and his life by refusing to obey a law he found unjust.
For his civil disobedience he ended up in the lion's den.

...Jesus   Entered the Temple that had been defiled by men who had turned religion into big business and drove them out. During his lifetime, he disobeyed the authorities, acted against traditions, and broke laws to bring justice to the poor and the oppressed.

...Gandhi   Refused to pay the British salt tax, walked 245 miles to the sea, made a handful of salt from the Indian Ocean, sold it for a penny, and in this simple, elegant act of civil disobedience helped bring down the British Empire. (I wonder if he got the idea from the Boston colonists who dumped British tea into the harbor to protest another British tax.)

...Martin Luther King, Jr.   Broke the laws that kept injustice in place and by his acts of civil disobedience (and by their boycotts, marches, strikes, sit-ins, pray-ins, sing-ins, freedom rides, voter registration drives, fasts, and countless other courageous and creative direct actions)
ended legal segregation in America.

IT IS TIME FOR US TO JOIN THEM
IN DIRECT ACTION TO SAVE OUR PEOPLE
How many more lives will be ruined, how many more
families will be destroyed, how many churches divided,

how many more loved ones will die
before we have the courage to ACT?

HERE ARE THIRTEEN RULES
FOR NONVIOLENT DIRECT ACTION

(From the writings, speeches, diaries, and letters of Gandhi and King.)

1. The primary goal of any direct action is reconciliation, not victory.

2. Any direct action must be planned and conducted to win the heart
and mind of our opponent, not to terrorize, overwhelm,
embarrass, shame or force him into submission.

3. A direct action is taken when we know no other way
to end the impasse and to revive the discussion
that will lead us to a third position we both can accept.

4. Although one individual alone may enter into a direct action
against an opponent's untruth, a greater good comes
by making our case clear to the public.

5. Often just in the act of recruiting/ training allies,
the opponent is moved to reconciliation.

6. The primary principles of 'soul force'
(truth, love, volunteer redemptive suffering)
must guide our relationships with our allies
as it guides our confrontation with our adversary.

7. Any direct action(s) we take
must be as pure and as loving as the end we seek.

8. We refuse to participate in any direct action
that involves physical violence.

9. We refuse to participate in any psychological
or spiritual violence as well.

10. We will accept/absorb any suffering to ourselves
that results from our direct action without anger or retaliation.

11. We will do our best to prevent any suffering
to our adversary from our direct action.

12. We will complete every direct action that we begin.
And we will NOT begin a direct action that we can't
or aren't willing to carry through to its conclusion.

13. We will not fear (or seek) our own death, but
if death comes to us out of our quest for justice,
we will accept it as a gift from God and know
"that death is not the end, but the beginning of life."
[Dietrich Bonhoeffer's last words before being hanged by the Nazis.]

You may respond to: RevMel@aol.com

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from Mel White, February 22, 1999

My nonviolent response to the Tinky Winky wars
("Bashing Jerry Falwell Hurts Our Cause")
set loose an Internet avalanche of anger. A lot of you hate
Mr. Falwell. Who can blame you? His anti-homosexual rhetoric
leads to wasted lives, ruined relationships, and broken families.
I wasn't defending Jerry. I am committed to ending his flow of toxic words
and anti-gay political actions. I just believe that Jesus,
Gandhi and King show us a better way to do it.

Sandy's note:  Please take the time to read this article,
        but if you don't, here's the postscript first:

On March 1, 1999, (and ongoing) the "Friends of Soulforce" are gathering on the Internet for an eight-week experiment in learning and applying the principles to Jerry Falwell and the others.
          NEWS FLASH ~ New Journey begins June 1.
Twice a week we will send you an E-mail sharing step-by-step what we are learning about the "soul force" journey. If you would like to join us on this complimentary journey into "soul force" e-mail us at Soulforce1@aol.com. Forward this message to your friends. Post it on a bulletin board. Spread it around. We're looking for just a handful of people who will consider seriously the "soul force" guidelines for renewing our spirits and reconciling with our "enemies." That handful of people, committed to truth, love (nonviolence), and voluntary redemptive suffering, could change the world.

By the way, if you agree with Jerry that homosexuals are sick and sinful, you can join us, too. "Soul force" is a way to bring understanding between adversaries. It is a safe place to be while we are working out our differences. You'll get a rare opportunity to see and hear exactly what Jerry is saying about homosexuals (not just about Tinky Winky). You'll hear our replies based on the latest scientific, historic, personal, and even biblical evidences. Wherever you are on your journey to Truth, you are welcome!

At this moment, Jerry Falwell and the other leaders of the anti-homosexual movement, are as important to us as we are important to them. Institutions need "enemies" to survive. We use each other to raise funds and mobilize volunteers. It wouldn't be in our best interest to end Jerry Falwell's tirades. It would hurt our fund-raising efforts. Just as his fund-raising appeals would weaken if he ever lost us.

In the meantime, it's a rather impolite stand-off. We delight in bashing each other in clever and provocative sound bites. Our supporters see us in the papers or on television. They send us donations. We use every opportunity to gain more air time and column inches. Jerry gets his by "outing" Tinky Winky. We get ours by treating Jerry like the village idiot. They hold their press conferences. We hold ours. They organize their marches and rallies. We organize ours. Protest becomes a way of life. Bashing becomes an art form.

In the meantime, no one is listening to the other. We are convinced that Jerry has chosen to be "evil." They think the same of us. We use every tinky winky thing to escalate (not end) the conflict. Both sides use the victims of our wordy war to mobilize support. Janet Folger and D. James Kennedy use "ex-gays" who have been "wounded by the gay community" to raise funds with full page newspaper ads and TV spots. We use pictures of a bloody fence post on a frozen dirt road in Wyoming. In the process, anger and frustration increase on both sides. Isn't it time to look seriously for a way to end this war of words? What might happen if we don't?

During the 1960s, Dr. King's call to "soul force" was shouted down by cries for "black power." Stokely Carmichael grew impatient with Martin's nonviolent method and called for a black revolution. "We have no alternative," he said, "but to use armed violence." Anger and frustration boiled over into civil war in our streets. Race riots raged across the country. Watts burned. Heroes died: Medger Evers, Jack Kennedy, Chaney, Schwerner, and Goodman, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Bobby Kennedy. Violence prevailed.

At that moment when violence seemed the only way, our community began this new era in the age-old struggle for "gay rights." On June 28, 1969, during a police raid on the Stonewall Inn, a handful of angry transvestites shrieked, shoved, and shouldered their way into a well-deserved place in our community's history. For almost thirty years we have honored these sheroes for fighting back without thinking. Three decades later, we need to do some serious thinking about our ways of fighting back.

Here's where Gandhi and King come in. Gandhi developed and refined his Satyagraha or "soul force" principles while leading justice movements in South Africa (1893-1915) and India (1915-1948). Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. discovered Gandhi's "soul force" rules and used them to shape his own nonviolent civil rights movement in America (1955-1968). "While the Montgomery boycott was going on," King writes, "India's Gandhi was our guiding light

...Nonviolent resistance emerged as the technique of the movement, while love stood as the regulating ideal. Jesus furnished the spirit and motivation, while Gandhi furnished the method."

Now it is time for us to rediscover and apply those "soul force" principles in our response to Jerry Falwell (and the others). It begins by seeing Jerry as a "fallen brother", a victim of misinformation as we have been. Our task is not to demonize, defeat, or destroy him but to help him see the truth without violence against him "of our hearts, our tongues, or our fists." We cannot give up on Jerry. That would be an act of violence. We must not question Jerry's motives either. Sincere or insincere, they do not pertain. But we dare not allow Jerry to continue being a victim of untruth or to continue victimizing others. Too many have suffered already.

At the heart of "soul force" is this rule: Peaceful "negotiations" to reconcile with our adversary must always proceed nonviolent "direct actions" to persuade him. We've tried to negotiate with Jerry, but he has chosen to ignore the scientific, historic, personal, and even the biblical evidences that counter his false and inflammatory rhetoric. Now, it is time to launch a nonviolent "direct action" campaign that will show Jerry and the nation that we are genuinely committed to our cause and willing to take on voluntary, redemptive suffering to achieve it.

A significant "direct action" (that will change the minds and hearts of those looking on) is not a one day parade or an enthusiastic rally. Think about Gandhi's 245 mile march to the sea or King's 383 day bus boycott in Montgomery. People looking on were moved by their voluntary suffering. "Soul force" calls us to this far more difficult and yet far more powerful way.

You know about Gandhi's work. You saw the movie. And TV specials during "Black History" month remind you how Dr. King applied Gandhi's ideas to his own nonviolent struggle for civil rights. But have you ever taken their "soul force" principles seriously yourself? Our angry words and colorful marches won't end their fear of us. Why not give nonviolence a chance?

On March 1, 1999, the "Friends of Soulforce" are gathering on the Internet for an eight-week experiment in learning and applying the principles to Jerry Falwell and the others.
          NEWS FLASH ~ New Journey begins June 1.
Twice a week we will send you an E-mail sharing step-by-step what we are learning about the "soul force" journey. We will introduce you to people who actually worked with Gandhi and King. We will attempt to apply the principles in designing a powerful direct action against Jerry Falwell's anti-homosexual campaign. If a plan is generated from our consensus, we will organize and train to carry out that "direct action." If we don't come up with a plan, we will at least have learned enough about "soul force" to apply the principles where we live. Gandhi only asks us to take the first step. Open your hearts to "soul force", he says, and the Spirit of Truth and Justice will lead you the rest of the way.

-- OK to Forward, Print, or Publish --

Mel White and Gary Nixon, Partners in Soulforce,
P.O. Box 4467, Laguna Beach, CA. 92652.
Fax: (949) 455-0959 e-mail: Soulforce1@aol.com
http://www.melwhite.org   http://www.soulforce.org

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