Who We Are: Purpose, Vision, Values
Soulforce is a national non-profit that works nonviolently to end the religious and political oppression of LGBTQ people.
We envision a world in which social justice movements are inclusive and collaborative as we help make it possible for all people, regardless of chosen or inherent identities, to have access, opportunity and security.
While we are not ourselves a faith-based organization, we are driven by our assessment of the gravity, structure, and oppressive agenda of the Religious Right. Within that framework, we understand that our work is necessarily a feminist and anti-racist project. Soulforce works in schools, faith communities, parachurch organizations, media organizations, and a variety of creative social settings.
Our roots are in challenging religion-based oppression because the Religious Right is a powerful cultural and political agent with financial force underpinning its work. The beliefs, actions and rhetoric of the Christian fundamentalism lead to the loss of jobs, healthcare, educational access, financial security, and social inclusion for LGBTQ people. When we challenge the political platform of the Religious Right from our LGBTQ context, we are also engaged in challenging other forms of oppression including sexism, racism and classism.
We value the power of the individual activist and building an intergenerational movement centered in intersectional explorations of the world.
Since our inception, we have implemented our work with a dedication to the principles of nonviolence, many of whom defined violence as war, poverty, racism, sexism, and colonization both old and new.
As such, we are called to work with mindfulness to both process and product: honoring that people are at the heart of politics and recognizing that how we work is as important as what we are working towards. This dedication includes a commitment to racial and economic justice because we understand that systems of oppression are interwoven; as we progress towards one element of justice, we strive to make other forms of oppression visible and uproot them them.
The legacies of many nonviolence practitioners point to this intersectional justice approach. It is a matter not only of ethics and principles but also of efficacy for the success of the movement. Therefore, through programming, internal structuring, education and collaboration, Soulforce seeks to challenges systems of injustice, within and without the LGBTQ movement.
Our core values and beliefs are:
LGBTQ people have a right to be free of political and religious oppression.
We believe in the practice of nonviolence as a means of supporting the power of the individual activist.
We believe that a queer challenge to religious fundamentalism is necessarily a feminist, anti-racist project.
We honor that for many activism is a spiritual journey.
We are dedicated to cultivating emerging leaders and collaborating with experienced leadership and wisdom.
What Makes Us Unique and Necessary
- We understand that religion-based LGBTQ discrimination comes out of a history of gender bias and sexism in the church and is influenced by histories of slavery, racism, and exploitative economic systems.
- We invest in projects and campaigns that allow for transformative personal interactions and cross-movement alliances.
- We train people of all ages, particularly youth, to organize and engage directly with conservative, politically powerful, rural and religious institutions and people.
- We train advocates of all ages in nonviolent activism, which provides a framework for creative, accessible, and grassroots forms of direct action.
- We provide experiential learning through campaigns for leadership development.
- We do our work in locations many of the larger LGBTQ organizations do not go.
- In accordance with nonviolent principles, we work to become what we also ask of our adversaries: compassionate, educated and just.