Clergy Close Down Fox Family Headquarters, Demand TV Time to Respond to Anti-Gay Rhetoric

A Soulforce Press Release, February 24, 2000

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."

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

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

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Link to FOX Soulforce Action Page

Hero of the Civil Rights Movement to Lead March on Fox Family Channel

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."

At a 12Noon 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’s 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."

Members of the Press are invited to lunch with Dr. Lawson and the other concerned clergy 12Noon, 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 RevMel@aol.com.

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Link to FOX Soulforce Action Page

FOXFAMILY Worldwide Condemned by Christian, Jewish, Muslim Clergy

FOXFAMILY WORLDWIDE CONDEMNED BY CHRISTIAN, JEWISH, MUSLIM CLERGY
Press Release, February 17, 2000

Press Conference and March on Fox Headquarters Announced To Protest the "Anti-Family Rhetoric" of Fox Co-Chair, Pat Robertson

(Los Angles, CA.) On February 23, 2000, interfaith clergy from across Southern California will announce a national campaign against "FOX-ANTI-FAMILY programming." After a press conference at UCLA, the clergy will attempt to present their case to Fox executives in an uninvited visit to FOXFAMILY headquarters.

"For two years we’ve tried to get Fox executives to hear our case against the false and inflammatory rhetoric of Pat Robertson and his 700 Club," explains Dr. James Lawson, Pastor-Emeritus of Holman United Methodist Church and Co-Chair of the Committee to Bring Truth to FOXFAMILY Worldwide. "They have refused. We wanted to settle this quietly. Now, we feel a moral obligation to warn parents that programming on the Fox Family Channel is dangerous to the spiritual and moral health of their children."

In 1997, Pat Robertson, a Christian talk show host and founder of the Christian Coalition, sold his "Family Channel" to Rupert Murdoch’s Fox Kids Worldwide for $1.9 billion. In 1998, Fox partnered with Saban Entertainment to launch the Fox Family Channel. Terms called for Robertson to remain as co-chairman of the Fox Family Channel and for Robertson’s 700 Club to continue airing 2-3 times daily.

"With all the good things Mr. Robertson has to say, his 700 Club still leaks toxic moral waste into the minds and hearts of America’s families," claims Dr. Mel White, another Committee Co-Chair. "We are afraid that Fox executives (contract bound to keep Mr. Robertson on the air) are not monitoring his dangerous rhetoric. We have two years of evidence in print and in video that Mr. Robertson’s attacks on people who disagree with his fundamentalist views are dangerously un-American and anti-family."

At the 1:30 Press Conference the Committee will provide media representatives a complete archive of Robertson’s "rhetoric of intolerance" in video and in print. At 2PM, the clergy will walk together to the FOXFAMILY headquarters at 10960 Wilshire carrying their case against Robertson and their specific demands to Fox. Although Fox executives have refused to meet with the clergy, the COMMITTEE hopes that this march will prove their sincere concern for America’s families and motivate Fox officials to discuss ways to resolve this matter amicably.

Media, other clergy, and Fox executives are invited to join The Clergy Committee at 12Noon, February 23 for a catered lunch at the University Religious Conference at UCLA, 900 Hilgard Ave., Westwood, CA. The case against Mr. Robertson’s "rhetoric of intolerance" will be reviewed at that time. The Press Conference is scheduled for 1:30 at the same location. At 2PM the clergy invite the media to join them on the three block walk to FOXFAMILY Worldwide at 10960 Wilshire Blvd.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO JOIN THE COMMITTEE FOR LUNCH OR WOULD LIKE MORE INFORMATION OR A PRESS KIT WITH VIDEOS IN ADVANCE CONTACT: DR. MEL WHITE
Ph: (949) 455-0999
Email: revmel@aol.com

Link to FOX Soulforce Action Page