Blogathon 2009 Begins – #1

Support Soulforce!For the next 27 hours, All Facts & Opinions is blogging to raise money and awareness for and of SOULFORCE. This marvelous organization 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?

I first participated in Blogathon in 2003. Life has prevented me from a sequel until now, when we’ll give it the old college try again. Over the course of the next 27 hours, I will post roughly every 30 minutes, offering information on Soulforce; its co-founder, the Rev. Mel White and recaps from its year of Equality Rides; Gandhi and King; Soulforce reminiscences; 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 55 postings between now and 9 am Eastern Time tomorrow. Keep your fingers crossed.

By all means, hang out, comment, share your thoughts on the subjects of LGBT equality, faith communities, and justice. We’ll also be tweeting throughout, so follow us on Twitter: @allfactsandopin — we’re listening. Please give your support to Soulforce by sponsoring this blog. All donations go directly to Soulforce.

It is only through all of us participating that we will make a difference for peace, for justice, and for love. Please help Soulforce in its efforts.

Off to get some coffee — see you in about half an hour or so.

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