Soulforce vs. Dobson & Co.
The following was a press release from Soulforce, the organization which uses nonviolence in the tradition of Jesus, Gandhi, & King to combat political and spiritual discrimination against sexual minorities. I place it here because I support their work. MLW-W
FOCUS ON THE FAMILY LOCKS OUT SOULFORCE
Gay son and his parents arrested for trespassing as they try to deliver a letter to Dobson and Focus on the Family
SOULFORCE PRESS RELEASE: May 2, 2005
For Immediate Release
Contact: Laura Montgomery Rutt
(Colorado Springs) – A family who wanted to deliver a letter to James Dobson or the “next in line” was arrested for trespassing this morning as they crossed onto the property of Dobson’s organization, Focus on the Family. Originally, plans were to distribute 100s of letters written by lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals and families who have been hurt by Dobson’s rhetoric during a public tour during normal operating hours, but Focus on the Family shut down on Monday, May 2, to keep LGBT individuals and families from entering.
Before the arrest, Randi Reitan, mother of Jacob Reitan, a young gay man and Youth Director for Soulforce, read a letter she had written to Dobson explaining how his rhetoric is hurting families like theirs. Holding a bouquet of roses, and struggling to get the words out, Randi stated, “There was never a moment we did not love or accept our dear son. But we struggled with how best to see the day Jake is loved, accepted and understood by society. As parents and Christians, we felt called to work for justice for all in the gay community.” The letter is available online at www.soulforce.org.
With his arms around both parents, Jacob stated, “This family is about love, my parents love me as I am, as God created me, and James Dobson is out to destroy loving families like mine!” As the family crossed on to the Focus on the Family property, police immediately handcuffed Jacob Reitan, his mother Randi, and his father Phil, who all had tears in their eyes as they were led to the police van.
Over 125 Soulforce supporters, singing “Amazing Grace,” stood by in support of the Reitan family who were released from police custody a short time later.
“We believe that the ministry of Jesus was about opening doors for the marginalized and oppressed, so it is ironic that Focus on the Family is slamming the doors on those very same people that Jesus would have welcomed with open arms, ” stated Rev. Nori Rost, pastor of Pikes Peak Metropolitan Community Church.
On May 1, over 1000 people filled the street in front Focus on the Family to celebrate the worth, dignity, and Spirit evident in the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals, couples, and their families, while holding Dobson accountable for his anti-gay rhetoric. Many of the families, with their young children in tow, sang and danced as Jason and DeMarco, the Two Spirit Society, and a myriad of speakers sang and spoke to the crowd. Hundreds of letters explaining to Dobson how his rhetoric has hurt their families were collected and will be distributed to Dobson in the coming days and months.
Soulforce and supporters in Colorado plan to return to Focus on the Family next year.
As with any nonviolent direct action, Soulforce first researched the anti-gay statements made by Dobson which run counter to the psychological and psychiatric evidence regarding LGBT people. Dobson has refused to consider the evidence and has refused or ignored all letter requesting dialogue. The research conducted by Soulforce is published in a booklet entitled “Why Every Family Should be Concerned about James Dobson’s Anti-gay Rhetoric” and is available online at www.soulforce.org. Letters written requesting dialogue with Dobson are also available at the Soulforce website.
The purpose of Soulforce is freedom for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people from religious and political oppression through the practice of relentless nonviolent resistance.
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