Who We Are: Mission, Vision, Analysis
Soulforce is a national non-profit that works nonviolently to end the religious and political oppression of LGBTQ people. While we are not ourselves a faith-based organization, we lead from the understanding that oppressive religious beliefs, civil rights abuses and anti-feminist attitudes that oppress LGBTQ people are interrelated. 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.
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 religious right 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 challenging other forms of oppression including sexism, racism and classism.
Since our inception, we have implemented our work with a dedication to the nonviolent principles of M.K. Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 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 Gandhi and King both point to this intersectional justice approach. It is a matter not only of ethics 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.
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.
- 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 the nonviolent principles of Gandhi, we work to become what we also ask of our adversaries: compassionate, educated and just.