Getting in ‘Good Trouble’ with the Methodists: Support Soulforce Denominational Work!

When the very first Equality Ride set off in 2006, Congressman John Lewis told us to, ”Go get in trouble, good trouble.

Many of you know Soulforce for our work addressing LGBTQ discrimination in Christian denominations. This was a major focus of    Soulforce’s work during our early years. We identified how critical the pulpit was as a source for the incubation and dissemination of bad theology. And, true to the Soulforce way, we took our case directly to the religious authorities at denominational gatherings and church trials. 

Our calling card was the willingness to get our hands dirty and speak our truth loudly. Soulforce got in “good trouble” then, and we are helping that tradition continue now.

   Here is how Rev. Dr. Julie Todd of the Methodist direct action group Love Prevails remembers those days with
   Soulforce, as she speaks about the need for a resurgence of nonviolent resistance in the denomination:

“I was introduced to Soulforce at the United Methodist General Conference in Cleveland in 2000. I was arrested in a nonviolent witness outside of the convention center with some 190 people that Soulforce had trained and organized. This action led to 14 more people being arrested on the inside the next day. In 2004 in Pittsburgh, Soulforce was responsible for an incredibly moving, mass witness on the plenary floor of the Conference. Despite forty years of resistance in our denomination, the situation for queer people and their allies has only gotten worse. 

   “Despite Soulforce’s clear commitment and effectiveness in nonviolent action, its queer voice and witness has 
   made the mainstream movement for gay inclusion in the church nervous. In all of our United Methodist efforts
   for change over the years, there has often been a fear of messages and actions coming from people that
   seem too radical or disruptive of the status quo.
Sue Laurie (left) and Julie Todd (right) sharing the Love Prevails manifesto.

In the tradition of Soulforce, Love Prevails has emerged within our denomination to work for a more radical witness. We have created a campaign called ‘Disclose. Divest. Disrupt.’ In our manifesto we state, ‘Through our media campaign and our physical presence, we will stand in the way of business as usual.’

“To manifest our desire to disrupt business as usual, we need Soulforce’s experience in strategy and nonviolent resistance. We need alliances and collaboration to broaden our vision for what is possible and to give us strength. I hope that you will support our efforts to forge resistance together.”

Make no mistake, Love Prevails is loving, capable, and radical. They are a force that the chief visioning body of the United Methodist Church, the Connectional Table, has     already reckoned with this week during its meeting in Nashville. Love Prevails managed to shut down the meeting and claim a spot on the agenda for issues of LGBTQ inclusion, when they had formerly been excluded from the meeting schedule. Follow them on Twitter as they continue their push for loving disruption! @LovePrevailsUMC

Soulforce worked with Love Prevails this past weekend to provide training, resources, and action-planning expertise that took a desire for change and directed it into action.

   If continuing helping equip, train, and encourage the next generation of denominational activism is
   important to you, can you sign up today as a monthly donor to help us reach our goal of 40 new
   sustaining supporters? We need just 32 more.

Soulforce must continue this vital work of disclosure, divestment, and disruption, through solidarity and lifting up leaders within the denominations.

Soulforce and Love Prevails begin a week of direct action with honoring Pastor Frank Schaefer who is on trial for presiding over his gay son’s civil union. More on that trial here.

Can you become a supporter at $15 a month today, in honor of our 15 years of service and leadership in the LGBTQ movement?  Click here! 

With your support, we will continue to monitor the denominations, support the power of everyday activists, and press these key social institutions for full LGBTQ inclusion.

Thanks,

The Soulforce Team