Saturday, July 26, 2003

Blogathon 2003 Under Way!

Support Soulforce in the 2003 Blogathon! Support Soulforce! All Facts & Opinions is blogging to raise money and awareness for and of SOULFORCE; we've been at it since 9 am and we will continue on, goddess and Kinko's 40-cents-per-minute fees willing, until 9 am Eastern Time Sunday. This marvelous organization, of which I am a member, is dedicated to using nonviolent means to win justice for gay, bisexual, lesbian, and transgendered people in religious denominations.

From the group's Web site, here is its mission statement:
"Soulforce is an interfaith movement committed to ending spiritual violence perpetuated by religious policies and teachings against gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) people."
What is spiritual violence? here is how Soulforce defines it: "Spiritual violence is the misuse of religion to sanction the condemnation and rejection of any of God’s children. Misusing religion and/or God to support society’s bias against sexual and gender minorities also inappropriately justifies psychological, legal and physical violence against them. Some zealots blatantly articulate spiritual violence against gay, lesbian, bisexual and trangender people when they scream 'God Hates Fags.' Mainline churches may be less blatant and more sophisticated, but they are no less guilty of spiritual violence. It is just as violent spiritually when pastors and parents—quoting scripture—condemn and reject members of their congregation and their family. When this happens, God’s gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender children also feel condemned and rejected by their Creator as well."

By following the teachings of Mohandas K. Gandhi and the nonviolent civil-rights strategies used by his most noted devotee, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Soulforce hopes to spread a message of Gandhi's 'satyagraha,' which translates roughly into "soul force." The idea is to use the power of love to win over our opponents to the ways of justice, equality, and peace. Not a bad plan, eh?

Over the course of Blogathon 2003, I am posting roughly every 30 minutes -- depending on the vagueries of life and circumstance; I am working catch as catch can from wherever I can, given that I have no phone and can't go online at home -- offering information on Soulforce; its co-founder, the Rev. Mel White and some of the organization's key participants; Gandhi and King; Soulforce reminiscences of my own and from others; stories sad and sweet from churches of many denominations; material on civil disobedience and nonviolence; progressive commentary; pertinent music; some funny stuff; and more. In all, it should total about 49 postings by 9 am Eastern Time tomorrow.

So far, only two people (including myself) have sponsored my efforts. Yes, this disappoints me, but that's life. You can still do a mitzvah to the world by making an online contribution to Soulforce and its work for justice. I pray -- please, please, please do so -- that you will. It is only through all of us participating that we will make a difference for peace, for justice, and for love. At the very least, drop by and say hi.

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