Now Let’s Hear from A Soulforce Luminary in Maryland
We want to introduce you to Cris Elkins, a Soulforcer from the very
beginning who, along with his partner Gene Hannold, has been on
more vigil lines, sung more protest songs, and marched more miles
than we can count. As part of our ongoing series focusing on
Soulforce leaders of all ages and sharing the power of their
stories, we asked Cris, “What drives you?”
When you read his fiery, strong words, think about power of your
story and visit us online at www.soulforce.org to participate in
The Repent Campaign this December. Vote and submit your story in
our ongoing effort to call faith leaders away from bigotry. Thank
you Gene for sharing your story and inspiring others!
Insert picture to the right, see attached, with caption “Gene
rallying against the National Organization for Marriage in North
“I live in a world that condemns and punishes me because of who I
am, a gay man. The world hates me for who I love. See the irony!
The world does violence because of the love that exists in my life.
There is something perverted about hating or condemning someone
because of whom they love–persecuting someone for something as
beautiful as the act of love.
Like any unjustly marginalized group, the gay community
continuously deals with oppression and discrimination.
Furthermore, gays deal with people who use the Bible as “evidence”
that being gay is fundamentally wrong. No institution has done
more to create and perpetuate the public disapproval of gay people
than the church.
Words fired like bullets from the pulpits of churches create a
climate of intolerance, rejection, and hate. Some of their
disciples are picking up bats, tire irons, broken bottles, knives,
and guns to rid us of this “threat”. Sometimes these bullet words
are all that are necessary to create a world so hostile, so
hopeless, that a gay person seeks the only peace he or she thinks
is available–the finality of death.
The prejudice, ignorance, and intolerance that we face on a daily
basis take a toll. You have to be strong to withstand it. It may
not kill you but it wounds, it hurts, and it can be a constant
source of emotional, and spiritual pain. Long term effects can be
depression, anxiety, mental breakdown, substance abuse, and other
unhealthy, self-destructive behaviors. The closet is crippling and
destroys your self-esteem.
Those who escape religious abuse carry the scar for the rest of
their lives and experience pain whenever they encounter religious
symbols, language, and people. It’s important that parents who
love their children do not subject them to this emotional and
spiritual abuse. Exposing a child to a church like this shows a
clear choice of dogma over their child’s life.
Researchers at the Family Acceptance Project at San Francisco State
University have shown that gay adolescents who reported high levels
of family rejection were more than 8 times as likely to have
attempted suicide; nearly 6 times as likely to report high levels
of depression; more than 3 times likely to use illegal drugs; and
more than 3 times as likely to be at high risk for sexually
Telling parents that this is an illness and they should force their
child to seek some cure that doesn’t exist is quackery and it’s
malpractice. To teach a child to hate who they were created to be
is child abuse. How much do you love your children? If one of
them comes out to you as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender
(LGBT), how will you respond? Will you keep him or her safe? Do
they know that you accept them for who they are?
The anti-gay messages in much of today’s theology must end. Those
who remain in comfortable silence must speak out. Silence only
serves to support the abuse. Silence is violence! Soulforce has
lead the way to end the oppression, suffering, and death caused by
anti-gay religious teachings and practices. I joined as an
activist and monthly donor 12 years ago.
Our LGBT youth are dying because we are not speaking out for them.
Are you part of the problem (silent) or part of the solution? Does
your church support and welcome LGBT people? Do you support
anti-gay politicians or political parties? What have you done to
make sure LGBT people know that they are loved and supported–that
they know they are God’s children too?”
Let’s check in on our Sustainer Campaign. Cris is a monthly
supporter of Soulforce, has been for years. He participates in all
aspects of Soulforce, from organizing vigils to funding. We always
want to see you at an event, and we want to know if you can join
Cris as a Soulforce Sustainer.
Insert sustainer campaign thermometer to the right.
We are now up to 121 monthly donors, well on our way to our goal of
150! Last we checked in, we were at just under 100. Join as a
monthly supporter today – be “a part of the solution” in this way
too, as Cris says – and you’ll receive five entries in the Ipad
Mini Giveaway on December 15th!
Soulforce has been a leading witness and advocate the nonviolent
struggle to reconcile LGBTQ people and the fundamentalist agenda
since 1998. Your gift today will embolden our organization to stay
at the leading edge of naming the oppression and taking action to
transform it. Thank you for your support.
Click Here to Donate Today!