The Repent Campaign
I want to use a good old fashioned word to tell you how I am feeling. The word is repent. I think you agree with me that it is time for the church and the state to repent of their crimes against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. For the last fourteen years, Soulforce has issued this prophetic call to denominational leaders, ministers and members of churches who have excluded queer people from full participation in their communities. We’ve stood in silent vigil to honor the lives of people who have killed themselves rather than live with the oppression within the church and their families. We have stood in solidarity with ministers who have been stripped of their credentials for “daring” to marry same-sex couples. We have been arrested on the floors of denominational meetings for singing hymns about unity in the church. And, you have stood with us. We need you to stand with us now as we call upon the church and the state to repent of their collusion in the criminalization of the lives of lesbian, gay, transgender and bisexual people around the world.
Over the last few years of my tenure as Executive Director at Soulforce, we have worked very diligently to “connect the dots” between the activities of religious leaders lobbying the state for sanctions against queer people in the United States and other nations.
Soulforce team members and volunteers are working in more places and in more ways than we ever anticipated because the stakes are even higher. As you know, many LGBT rights organizations will not even attempt to intervene in denominations or churches. Yet, we must. This is the essential work that we have been called to do.
Rev. Mel White, co-founder of Soulforce with his partner, Gary, always said, “Soulforce works on the roots not the shoots.” Bottomline, unless we continue to push back on the spirit-defeating rhetoric of fundamentalism within the church as well as the state, we all lose.
Fundamentalism and its complement, criminalization of the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, are expanding outside the U.S. borders while our own political leaders in the US have made queer lives into a bargaining chip.
Even though the criminalization of people based on their sexual orientation contravenes international and regional human rights treaties, ministers like Scott Lively and Lou Engle freely participate in the drafting of “Kill the Gays” legislation outside the US borders. Where sodomy laws persist, homophobic and transphobic individuals or groups take these laws as permission to target lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, organizations and events.
Let’s make our voices loud and clear. We call for decriminalization of homosexuality where such legislation remains in our own country and in the 76+ others around the world, including a review of all legislation which could result in the discrimination, prosecution and punishment of people solely for their sexual orientation or gender identity.
- “Sodomy” laws or similar provisions outlawing sexual conduct between people of same-sex or transgender individuals;
- Discriminatory age-of-consent legislation;
- Public order legislation used as a pretext for prosecuting and punishing people solely for their sexual orientation or gender identity;
- Laws banning the “promotion” of homosexuality which can be used to imprison lesbian, gay, bisexual, same-sex practicing and transgender individuals and human rights defenders.
We call for an end to all legislation under which a person may be killed by the state on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity and we call for our elected leaders in the United States and in the United Nations to make this demand around the world.
And, we call for the church to repent of its homophobia, transphobia, AIDSphobia and its blatant oppression of women and queer people.
Will you add your voice to ours today? We need your help in this last quarter of 2013 to finish the work that we have started. We are $75,000 short of our revenue goal. Can you give a little more so we can do more?
Thank you for your support of Soulforce and all of us.
Dr. Cindi Love