Soulforce’s flagship project, the Equality Ride, has made it to round 3 of the Stay Classy Awards, the largest philanthropic awards program in the country. You can read our profile and vote here, aptly titled “Brilliant Young Heretics Travel the Country for Educational Access and Social Justice.”
We’ve made it through two rounds of judging already – we are now in the top 25 in our category for Most Effective Awareness Campaign. Cast your vote today in all 12 categories, and make sure that the Equality Ride can move on to the next stage. Watch this moving video that explains the journey of the Equality these past six years.
Soulforce was featured prominently in a recent LA Weekly article covering the connection between TOMS Shoes founder Blake Mycoskie and the anti-LGBT group Focus On The Family.
Blake Mycoskie, founder of TOMS shoes, landed in a heap of trouble when news broke on Friday that he spoke at a June 30 Focus on the Family event in Orange County.
Focus on the Family’s longtime anti-gay agenda is ugly and widely known.
Soulforce, the gay rights organization that exposes anti-gay religious groups, notes in a special report that FOTF has pushed such ideas that homosexuality is a mental disorder caused by family problems and bad parenting, that gays want to destroy marriage and the family, that same-gender parents are unfit and seek to hurt children, that homosexuality can be prevented by parents and cured through ‘reparative therapy,’ and that gays are sick, ungodly people who want ‘special rights,’ not civil rights.
Mycoskie, who lives on a sailboat in Los Angeles, says he simply didn’t know about these things.
This is the third installment in a series about how we care for one another. As we await the deliberations of our bi-partisan Congress regarding the federal budget and listen to the righteous indignation of our elected officials with one another, I am reminded of the meanings of the words righteousness and righteous in the ancient sacred texts of the Jews and their citations by Jesus Christ as recorded in the Christian Bible.
Since our politicians are invoking these words and sentiments – righteousness and righteous so frequently, I thought it might help to understand what it really means to be righteous.
Although its historical roots are mostly in Northern Europe and North America, evangelical Protestantism is a global phenomenon today. In 1910, by one estimate, there were about 80 million evangelicals, and more than 90% of them lived in Europe and North America. By 2010, the number of evangelicals had risen to at least 260 million, and most lived outside Europe or North America. Indeed, the “Global South” (sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and North Africa, Latin America and most of Asia) is home to more evangelicals today than the “Global North” (Europe, North America, Japan, Australia and New Zealand).
As the evangelical movement has grown and spread around the globe over the past century, it has become enormously diverse, ranging from Anglicans in Africa, to Baptists in Russia, to independent house churches in China, to Pentecostals in Latin America. And this diversity, in turn, gives rise to numerous questions. How much do evangelicals around the world have in common? What unites them? What divides them? Do leading evangelicals in the Global South see eye-to-eye with those in the Global North on what is essential to their faith, what is important but not essential and what is simply incompatible with evangelical Christianity?
To help answer these kinds of questions, the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life conducted a survey of participants in the Third Lausanne Congress of World Evangelization. The congress takes its name from a worldwide gathering of evangelical leaders convened by the Rev. Billy Graham in Lausanne, Switzerland, in 1974.
“Every wall is a door. Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising which tempt you to believe that your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to the end requires courage. –Ralph Waldo Emerson
Today is a red letter day at Soulforce, where I work. We practice relentless nonviolent resistance to religious oppression of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, their families and allies. One of the organizations with whom we have worked, Willow Creek Community Church, has finally ended its formal relationship with Exodus International.
News that the South Barrington megachurch (30,000 members) and its co-founder, Bill Hybels, have severed affiliation with Exodus, the world’s largest ex-gay ministry was under the radar until late June.
Recently, Blake Mycoskie, founder of Tom’s Shoes, issued a public apology for his affiliation with Focus on the Family, the megawatt fundamentalist Christian power brokerage founded by Dr. James Dobson. Blake said he did not know the extent of Focus’s anti-gay beliefs and efforts and that if he had known, he would not have agreed to present at one of their events.
Media reports now indicate that Blake has distanced himself from Focus on the Family and their leaders have responded that it is a shame that he separated from them since all they want to do is help people and win them to Jesus.
And, Blake could have helped them do that but for the interference of a bunch of pesky gay people who called him into account for the company he was keeping.
I appreciate Blake’s apology and the need for space he has created between Focus and his organization. I hope he takes a break to reflect and then I hope he will take advantage of the media attention he has garnered to go back and help transform Focus on the issue of gay people.
ABILENE, Texas — Bullying based on sexual orientation is getting a lot of attention lately, and one student says Abilene Christian University won’t let her publicize anti-bullying events.
“I thought a letter to the editor might work,” Ruth Riggan said. Her letter to the editor of ACU’s student newspaper expressed her difficulties in organizing a gay and straight alliance on campus and her disappointment in not being able to publicize “Ally Week,” a national program devoted to preventing gay student bullying.
“It’s really important for all the students not just the gay ones,” said Riggan.
“We’re certainly not shying away from conversation around the issue of homosexuality,” said ACU’s Dean of Students Dr. Jean-Noel Thompson.
We encourage productive dialogue which we believe to be a path to healing & reconciliation. We also intend to cultivate a safe space for LGBTQ people, as well as women, people of color, non-Americans, and all other groups & individuals experiencing oppression.