Withholding Tithes/Offerings Strategy Announced on Dr. King’s Birthday
Soulforce Press Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Laura Montgomery Rutt
Laguna Beach – In a declaration made today to its members, Soulforce announced its intention to mobilize thousands of people of faith to withhold tithes and offerings from churches that oppress gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people through anti-gay policies and teachings. The project, called Stage II of the Soulforce Campaign to STOP SPIRITUAL VIOLENCE is based upon the words of Martin Luther King, Jr.: "It is as much our obligation NOT to cooperate with evil as it is to cooperate with good."
In the past twelve months more than a thousand Soulforce volunteers have mobilized to seek equality for sexual and gender minorities at national religious meetings in Cleveland, Orlando, Long Beach, Denver, Washington, DC, and Rome. More than 500 have been arrested in carefully planned nonviolent acts of spiritual resistance during Stage I of the Soulforce Campaign to STOP SPIRITUAL VIOLENCE.
"These deeply moving vigils and symbolic arrests are just the beginning of our efforts to confront the teachings and actions of the Protestant and Catholic churches against gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender individuals," explains Jimmy Creech, Soulforce Board Chair. "Stage II is the next step to empower people to stand up against oppression and spiritual abuse."
According to the Soulforce web site, gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people and those who support them, are being encouraged to withhold their tithes and offerings to anti-gay churches and to place cards in offering plates stating that they will no longer take part in their own oppression. The campaign further encourages people to donate their time and talent to organizations that seek justice and work against oppression.
"The antigay teachings and actions of the Protestant and Catholic churches lead directly and indirectly to discrimination, suffering, and even death," says Dr. Mel White, Executive Director, Soulforce. "And yet year after year we continue to support our own oppression with our tithes, offerings and special gifts. We are hoping that thousands of people of faith will join us by withholding their financial support from the churches that oppress us until that oppression ends."
Homosexuals have been labeled "incompatible with Christian teaching" by the United Methodists, "sick" and "sinful" by the Baptists, and "objectively disordered" and "intrinsically evil" by the Roman Catholics. Most churches refuse to ordain or marry homosexuals.
"Withholding financial support is NOT meant to punish the churches," explains Karen Weldin, a Soulforce Vice-Chair. "Our tithes and offerings may not even make a dent in the church budget anyway. This act of spiritual resistance is for those of us who resist!"
Details of this next step in the Soulforce Campaign to STOP SPIRITUAL VIOLENCE can be found on the Soulforce web page: www.soulforce.org