by Brian Murphy
Six months ago, I started working with Soulforce, running our web and media efforts. I have a three year history with Soulforce which started as a 2007 Equality Rider. Soulforce retained me just as the 2010 Equality Ride was setting out and a week into the campaign, I joined them in North Carolina for a visit to Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Some things I remember: the long hours, the instant bond between riders, the unmistakable feeling that we are doing something truly remarkable. Some things were different: the diverse group of riders were even better prepared and more intentional… the ride improves every year.
After our short visit to Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, I spent the entirety of a community picnic speaking with a seminary student. We talked about The Law and Leviticus for three hours. It was grueling and utterly exhausting. During that conversation I also connected, briefly, with another seminary student. The student joined us later that night for conversation in our hotel lobby and for lunch the following day. They shared a bit of their passions and joys, some struggles and theological differences they experienced at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. After talking with young adults about queer issues for three years, I have a pretty good sense of when a person wants to say something but can’t. I got that feeling from this person.
Today, that student, now a graduate, sent me a message. They shared a brief update on their life and then, almost in passing, mentioned that they are now in a queer relationship and could not be happier. They are starting to come out, they might lose their job at a Baptist church, but all will be well.
That is all I have to share today: that six months ago I spent three hours talking about Leviticus in a park in rural North Carolina and today a Southern Baptist told me that they are beginning to love themselves. The Equality Ride never really ends. And thank goodness it doesn’t.
Please help us ensure the future of the Equality Rides be making a donation toward the next ride today.
by Guest Author
This guest post is from Unfinished Lives which is a place of public discourse which remembers and honors LGBT hate crime victims.
Out Impact, the Gay Online Magazine, has a feature news article on the work of the Unfinished Lives Project and its Director, Dr. Stephen V. Sprinkle, in its latest issue. Chrishelle Griffin, a graduate of Spelman College, carried out the interview with Dr. Sprinkle for Out Impact.
In a portion of the Q & A, Griffin asked Dr. Sprinkle what he believes are the most glaring misconceptions about hate crimes against LGBTQ people. “Let me share two with you,” Sprinkle responded.. ”The first is that LGBTQ hate crimes victims were engaging in ‘risky’ behaviors that contributed to their deaths. This is nothing but an internalized version of the old ‘gay panic defense’ that says we are somehow responsible for the victimization we suffer. I never met a gay hate crimes survivor who had a death wish,” Sprinkle said. ”These women and men were simply trying to live what is normal for them. They were looking for love, seeking companionship, or whatever. Straight people do the same sorts of things all the time. We, however, live in a culture that makes our lives vulnerable—all of our lives, for every one of us. That is the message most of us never seem to get. As long as the majority culture permits some of us to be killed and maimed, every one of us is at risk.”
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by Bill Carpenter
Throughout the history of struggle for justice and equal rights, most struggles are multi-pronged. Our struggle for equal and fair treatment for queer people and all of the of the people we are…people of color, differently abled, working poor and All…is no different. Soulforce knew from the beginning that we are an important spoke in the wheel of justice. And, right now, there is an ally organization, Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), that needs our support to bring down the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy of the U.S. military!
Following is an important message from Aubrey Sarvis, SLDN executive director, calling all of us to action RIGHT NOW to call urge our senators to make passage of DADT repeal legislation a top priority the week of September 20th. And, ask them to urge their Joint Leadership (Senators Reid and McConnell) to schedule this vote right away!
Ending DADT is an important step in the work of our movement to challenge the institutional oppression of all people. The more these institutions are challenged and these policies are ended, the sooner we can find reconciliation around this historic inequity.
As a member of the Freedom to Serve Roundtable, Soulforce encourages you to read SLDN’s call to action below and call your Senators right away.
PS if you’d like more information and resources about all of the great work that is being done to end DADT, you can access information here.
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