Petition 81173

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On Soulforce (81173-FO-R9999)

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On Soulforce
WHEREAS, Soulforce is neither a Methodist group nor even specifically Christian, but an interfaith group dedicated to the denouncing any disapproval of homosexual practice or transgenderism; and
WHEREAS, Soulforce receives significant support from several entities its website lists as Corporate or Foundation Sponsors; and
WHEREAS, Soulforce does not respect the right of religious bodies to make their own internal decisions concerning their beliefs and policies, but has become infamous for illegally disrupting and interrupting the activities of denominational conventions and religious institutions to demand that these religious denominations and institutions submit to allowing this outside group dictate a rewriting of their beliefs; and
WHEREAS, while we respect the right of Soulforce to hold and profess their beliefs, Soulforce needs to understand that other groups are equally entitled to have their freedom of religion respected; and
WHEREAS, Soulforce’s President and Co-Founder was quoted by Time magazine in 2000 as having this message for The United Methodist Church and other mainline Protestant denominations: “We don’t debate anymore.  You either change your policies, or we’re going to split you apart and leave.”  (David Van Biema, “Out of the Fold?,” Time, 3 July 2000); and
WHEREAS, during a church trial for a self-avowed, practicing homosexual United Methodist minister in the Pacific-Northwest Conference in March 2004, dozens of Soulforce activists took illegal actions of “civil disobedience” to attempt to stop the due process required by our Book of Discipline, even physically blocking participating church leaders from entering the building where the trial took place (Melanthia Mitchell, “Wash. Trial Starting for Lesbian Minister,” Associated Press, 17 March 2004; available from  <http://www.soulforce.org/article/54> ; accessed 17 October 2007); and
WHEREAS, Soulforce has loudly disrupted the 2000 and 2004 General Conferences of The United Methodist Church, taking valuable time away from our church proceedings to denounce our biblical teachings that sex is for marriage and to attempt to intimidate delegates to vote in line with their agenda; and
WHEREAS, on May 4, 2004, near the end of the 2004 General Conference, Soulforce posted an article on its website denouncing The United Methodist Church as “dishonest,” “hypocritical,” “heterosexist and homophobic,” and “something I can no longer love,” (Laura Montgomery Rutt, “My Personal Reflections of the United Methodist Church General Conference,” 4 May 2004’ available from <http://www.soulforce.org/article/77> ; accessed 17 October 2007);
Be it therefore resolved, that the 2008 General Conference hereby declares its love for the United Methodist Church, even if Soulforce and some of its supporters may not love it; and
Be it further resolved, that we decry the disrespectful, disruptive, and self-righteous tactics of Soulforce as beyond the bounds of appropriate ways to express disagreement within religious communities; and
Be it further resolved, that we call on Soulforce to respect the right of The United Methodist Church to set its own standards of belief and policy without their uninvited interference; and
Be it further resolved, that we discourage all of our members from providing support to Soulforce.