Soulforce American Family Outing Project Mention as CNN investigates Bishop Eddie Long

Soulforce received a mention by CNN’s Anderson Cooper during coverage on his show, Anderson Cooper 360, of the allegations against Bishop Eddie Long.

 

In 2008, Soulforce engaged in the American Family Outing campaign which visited anti-gay megachurches around the US in an attempt to meet with the pastors and congregations. Soulforce visited Eddie Long’s church and Rev. Troy Sanders, interviewed by CNN, participated in that visit. Photos from the visit are available at Other Sheep.

You can donate today to ensure that Soulforce will be able to continue bringing truth and justice to counter misinformation which fuels the oppression of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people.

Symposium dinner & performance announcement

We are pleased to announce that as part of our Soulfroce Symposium Dinner on Saturday, November 6th in Philadelphia – Peterson Toscano will be performing excerpts from his ground breaking one-man shows in a new segment entitled:  

 Doin’ Time with Peterson Toscano – Just When You Thought it was Safe to Laugh

Peterson Toscano performingSome comedy is so hilarious & insightful that it should come with a Surgeon General’s Warning. Presenting scenes from his acclaimed comedies along with outrageous and probing insights, this variety show with Peterson’s brilliant character portrayals promises to thoroughly entertain as it artfully instructs and invites deeper thinking. The creator of such plays as Doin’ Time in the Homo No Mo Halfway HouseI Can See Sarah Palin from My Window! and Transfigurations, a play about gender non-conforming Bible charcters,  comically wrestles with privilege, sexism, gender, homophobia, the environment, foreign policy and family values. He may even slip in a dance number!

This performance is included with the dinner fee of only $35! Also, when you purchase a ticket to the dinner, you gain entry into the rest of the Symposium schedule free! Register for the dinner here!

Our three course meal and dinner theater will be held at the Juniper Ballroom in the Historic Dowtown Courtyard by Marriott. Even if you can’t make it to Philadelphia to attend, please pledge your support to this and other Soulforce programs, by donating here!

Symposium location, speakers, and more!

Soulforce is pleased to announce our primary location, keynote speakers, and other participants for our upcoming symposium to be held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania!

Exterior evening photograph of the Marriott Hotel in downtown PhiladelphiaOn Saturday, November 6th the symposium will take place at the Historic Downtown Courtyard by Marriott. The hotel is adjacent to City Hall and offers some of the best views of the city. Participants of the Symposium may book rooms at the hotel for the rate of $99 per night, which is a nearly 70% discount! To book a room you may either call the hotel directly, at 215-496-3200, or call central reservations at 1-888-236-2427. Be sure to mention our code: SOULFORCE in order to receive the discounted room rental rate. Rooms with a king bed, or two queen beds are available.

 

 We are pleased to welcome Jay Bakker and Daniel Helminiak as our key note speakers for the symposium.

Jay BakkerJay Bakker is a pastor who grew up witnessing both the good and bad of the church. His parents are Jim and Tammy Faye, ministers-turned-TV-hosts, who helped start both the Trinity Broadcasting Network and the 700 Club in the 1970’s, and later founded the PTL (Praise The Lord) Club. At the height of their popularity, they pastored the largest church in the country – until their lives were changed by one of the biggest scandals in American history. For the first time, Jay was exposed to the dark underbelly of religion; an experience that would stay with him to this day. In 1994, Jay, along with Kelli Miller and Mike Walls, started Revolution Church in Phoenix, AZ, to minister to those being ignored and rejected by the Christian church. He started a Revolution Church in Los Angeles, CA, and Atlanta, GA, before moving to New York and starting a church there in 2005. Jay has been an ally and friend to the LGBTQ community.

 

Daniel HelminiakDaniel Helminiak teaches psychology and spirituality as Professor at the University of West Georgia. He is also a psychotherapist, Catholic priest and theologian, author, and lecturer. He holds a PhD in psychology from The University of Texas at Austin and a PhD in theology from Andover Newton Theological School and Boston College, where he was teaching assistant to Prof. Bernard Lonergan, whom Newsweek magazine called the Thomas Aquinas of the 20th Century. He is certified as a Fellow of the American Association of Pastoral Counselors and is licensed as a Professional Counselor in the state of Georgia. His book, What the Bible Really Says about Homosexuality (Alamo Square Press, 1994, 2000), is an international best-seller.

 

Our other presenters and participants include, but are not limited to:

Peterson Toscano
Christine Bakke
Christine Robinson
Darlene Bogle

More information: Bios & photographs of speakers and presenters | Register for the symposium

Even if you are unable to attend our symposium, you can still help Soulforce with this event, and the ability to hold future events: Donate here!

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Vote Delayed: Take action today

Thank you for your support on the attempt to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Senate Republicans blocked the bill that contains the repeal of "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell" from even receiving an up-or-down vote. Not a single one broke ranks.

It’s an outrage. But this doesn’t mean the fight is over. Senate majority leader Harry Reid has committed to bringing the bill back up after the November elections – and we’ll have a fighting chance to get it passed then – so we’ll put everything we have into that effort.

The Human Rights Campaign is collecting signatures on an open letter to the Justice Department asking them to refuse to defend in appeals court. Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was recently ruled unconstitutional and barred its enforcement. If Attorney Justice Eric Holder does not appeal the law, it could soon become a relic of the past.

Add your name to the letter here.

Soulforce to attend Affirmation Conference in San Francisco

Affirmation Conference Logo. Red fields are on the top and bottom with a black field in the center. The text reads, 'Affirmation Gay + Lesbian Mormons Presnet Stand Up! For love, For acceptance, For truth, For compassion, For justice, For integrity, For liberty, For harmony, For respect, For equality, For honesty, For freedom. San Francisco, October 8 - 10, 2010'Soulforce is pleased to announce our advisory role in the upcoming STAND UP! Conference -The Annual conference for the group Affirmation – to be held in San Fransisco on October 8-10. Affirmation’s mission is to provide a forum for gay Mormons to associate with their peers. They seek to meet the needs of persons experiencing frustration or alienation from family, friends, and the Church because of their sexual orientation. In addition to offering assistance during life’s occasional struggles, Affirmation provides a lifelong opportunity for service, fun, friendship, personal enrichment, and spiritual growth. You can learn more about Affirmation at their website: www.affirmation.org.

Soulforce has been asked to provide our Non-Violent resistance training to the STAND UP! Conference staff and volunteers. In addition to training,  the Executive Director for Soulforce – Rev Dr Cindi Love, has been asked to speak at a suicide prevention rally being held on Friday evening, October 8th as part of the larger conference program. She will also be speaking at the dinner held on Saturday evening October 9th. 

Soulforce’s Director of Programs – Jason Conner, will also be in attendance. Jason is a former member of the LDS (Mormon) church and will be helping with the facilitation of the Non-Violent Resistance training, as well as other program initiatives throughout the conference. You can follow Jason through live blog updates here on our website throughout the conference, as well as through the Soulforce twitter handle - @soulforceorg.

If you are interested in finding out more information about the Affirmation Conference, please visit the Affirmation Conference website.

We encourage everyone in the San Fransisco area to attend the Stand Up to Youth Suicide March and Rally being held on Friday, October 8th. You can find out more information about the rally on the Affirmation website listed above, as well as through the Facebook event page.

We look forward to seeing you all at the rally. Even if you can’t attend the rally, please help Soulforce be able to participate in this and future events by donating today.

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