Blogathon #23 – Soulforce Background

From the organization itself, here is a little historical background on Soulforce and its spiritual foundations:

During his early years as an attorney in South Africa, M.K.Gandhi, a Hindu, was deeply moved by the teachings of Jesus, Thoreau, Tolstoy, and Ruskin. “The Sermon on the Mount,” says Gandhi, “went straight to my heart.” Determined to reduce “principles into practice,” Gandhi created Satyagraha (or Soul Force): a plan of action (a) for the development of our inner lives and (b) for the nonviolent transformation of society. Gandhi developed and refined his “truth force” or “soul force” principles leading justice movements in South Africa and India.While a student at Crozer Theological Seminary, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. discovered Gandhi’s Soul Force rules and used them to shape his own nonviolent civil rights movement in America. “While the Montgomery boycott was going on,” King writes, “India’s Gandhi was the guiding light of our technique of nonviolent social change: Nonviolent resistance had emerged as the technique of the movement, while love stood as the regulating ideal. In other words, Christ furnished the spirit and motivation, while Gandhi furnished the method.”

Our Soul Force Goals:

I. TO RESEARCH, SYSTEMATIZE, AND APPLY THE SOUL FORCE PRINCIPLES OF GANDHI AND KING TO THE CURRENT STRUGGLE FOR JUSTICE FOR GOD’S GAY AND LESBIAN CHILDREN;

For the past six years, the Rev. Dr. Mel White and a small team of activist volunteers have been working to systematize the Soulforce principles and to teach and apply them specifically to the struggle for justice for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered Americans.

Soulforce, Inc. was created in 1998 to help recruit, train, and mobilize for action an interfaith, ecumenical network of volunteers committed to implementing the principles of NONVIOLENCE in the liberation of sexual minorities.

II. TO ASSEMBLE AN ARCHIVE OF SOULFORCE RESOURCES INCLUDING BOOKS,
ARTICLES, VIDEO AND AUDIO TAPES, PAMPHLETS AND LETTERS RELATED TO GANDHI, KING, AND OTHER THEORISTS AND PRACTITIONERS OF SOUL FORCE;

The Soulforce team has already assembled a major Gandhi/King/ Soulforce collection with hundreds of books, articles, audio and video tapes. Another primary goal for this new non-profit corporation is to acquire and assemble one of the world’s great Soulforce collections and to see that the collection is widely and effectively used.

III. TO INTRODUCE THE SOUL FORCE PRINCIPLES TO PEOPLE OF FAITH, UNIVERSITY STUDENTS, AND JUSTICE ACTIVISTS THROUGH LECTURES, WORKSHOPS, AND SEMINARS;

In the past three years Mel has presented Soulforce or Soulforce related materials to gatherings of people of faith, university students, professors, and justice activists in 35 states and more than 100 cities.

Soulforce, Inc. will help underwrite these presentations in schools, churches, synagogues, and community centers.

IV. TO ORGANIZE AND TRAIN VOLUNTEER SOULFORCE TEAMS AROUND THE WORLD THAT WILL APPLY THE SOULFORCE PRINCIPLES TO THEIR LOCAL, REGIONAL, AND NATIONAL STRUGGLES AGAINST INJUSTICE;

Across Canada and the U.S. (and in almost every country in the world) there are primary centers or sources of misinformation about gay and lesbian Americans. Under the auspices of Soulforce, Inc. the new non-profit corporation, we will recruit and train truth and reconciliation teams in each of these areas to make friendly contact with these centers and work to negotiate understanding and eventual reconciliation.

V. TO PRODUCE PRINT AND MEDIA (AUDIO AND VIDEO) MATERIALS USEFUL IN
PRESENTING THE SOULFORCE PRINCIPLES.

With a world more and more committed to violence as the only solution, it is time again to help our friends and neighbors understand the nonviolent option. Our Soul Force non-profit will help underwrite the production and distribution of free and low-cost materials (print, audio, and video) to help present and apply Soul Force to the current struggle for justice, not just for lesbians and gays, but for all who suffer injustice.

OUR SOULFORCE SOURCES OF FINANCIAL SUPPORT.

The primary support for Soulforce, Inc. comes from tax-deductible contributions from our Co-FOUNDERS, FRIENDS, and ANGELS and from personal honoraria received by Dr. White from speeches, sermons, and Soulforce Workshops at universities, churches, synagogues, activist and peace organizations. All donations are tax-deductible. At the end of each year, Soulforce, Inc. sends a Year-end report with a donor’s complete contribution record.

I’m blogging my tuchas off in hope that you will give your support to Soulforce too. Don’t give because of me — this is a labor of love for me. Give because the work they do is necessary, because justice for all matters to you, because you want peace in the world. Sponsor this blog during Blogathon 2009!

And, by the way, I would love to know that you’re here and whether you find the materials and writings beneficial. Please drop me a comment or hit me on Twitter; I’ll be here until 9 am Eastern Time.

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