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Soulforce Announces New Executive Director

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    Soulforce Announces New Executive Director and Renewed Dedication to Ending Homophobia at its Source February 9, 2006 This week Soulforce, the national justice
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 10, 2006
      Soulforce Announces New Executive Director and Renewed Dedication to
      Ending Homophobia at its Source
      February 9, 2006

      This week Soulforce, the national justice organization founded by Rev.
      Dr. Mel White, announced expansion plans by naming Jeff Lutes of
      Austin, Texas as their new executive director. In addition, Rev. Dr.
      Mel White was named President of the Board, freeing him to expand his
      visibility and that of Soulforce. The once ghostwriter for evangelists
      Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, White will soon be embarking on a
      speaking tour for his fall book release, Religion Gone Bad: A Call to
      Resist Fundamentalism (working title).

      As an internationally recognized cleric and activist, White will
      continue as primary spokesperson and fundraiser in Soulforce's mission
      to halt homophobia at its source. White asserts that "The evil intent
      of fundamentalist Christianity is to impose their worldview on all
      Americans, a worldview that would deny rights and dignity to all gays,
      lesbians, bisexual, and transgender people. Our new infrastructure
      will equip us to better equip activists for the critical work of
      stopping this form of religious violence. Under Jeff's leadership,
      we'll be taking this to the streets like never before."

      As Soulforce's new Executive Director, Jeff Lutes, MS, LPC, will
      oversee the day-to-day operations of Soulforce. In accepting the
      position, Jeff said, "I believe the message of Soulforce is visionary
      in that it has become clear we can not win this battle with
      legislative actions alone. We must create a critical mass of people
      who are fed up with bigotry, prejudice and discrimination and who are
      willing to speak out in the media and engage in other forms of
      nonviolent resistance. We must be on the offensive in confronting the
      religious and political assault on our civil rights, and not just in
      the defensive position of fighting the next anti-gay piece of

      Soulforce also adds two new members to our Board of Directors,
      prominent civil rights activists Dr. Rodney Powell. M.D. and Rev. Phil
      Lawson. Powell commented, "I believe Soulforce is the most promising
      GLBT organization to influence and redirect the enormous energy,
      intellectual capacity, resources and power that exist among gay,
      lesbian, bisexual, and transgender persons, allied persons,
      organizations, and institutions to resist, oppose and stop the threat
      of Christian fundamentalism."

      Soulforce's next action includes the Equality Ride, a seven-week bus
      tour taking 35 GLBT youth to nineteen colleges that have anti-gay
      enrollment policies.

      Soulforce is a movement; an organization of activists committed to
      ending homophobia caused by religious bigotry. For more information go
      to www.soulforce.org or www.equalityride.com.


      Jeff Lutes is a licensed professional counselor in Austin, Texas who
      has supervised over 100 therapists and directed several inpatient and
      outpatient psychiatric-treatment programs in a variety of clinical
      settings, including hospitals and nonprofit counseling centers. He has
      been in private practice for many years, specializing in couples and
      family therapy. He has written numerous newspaper articles on the
      issues facing LGBT people and same-gender families and presents
      research-based workshops on strengthening relationships. He is a
      member of the American Counseling Association (ACA), the American
      Association of Pastoral Counselors (AAPC), and the Council on
      Contemporary Families (CCF). He is a lay worship leader in his church
      and a community leader able to organize sustained nonviolent
      resistance to religious and political assaults on LGBT people and
      their families. He has been a volunteer for Soulforce since the first
      direct action in 1999. He and his partner, Gary Stein, are the proud
      parents of a 9-year-old son.

      Rev. Phil Lawson is a United Methodist Minister and veteran of the
      1960's civil rights movement. Over 40 years ago, it was the Rev. Phil
      Lawson's brother, Rev. Jim Lawson, who trained the Freedom Riders in
      nonviolence prior to their journey to justice for civil rights. Rev.
      Lawson is courageously outspoken in his support of LGBT equality and
      has participated in several Soulforce actions over the years. He is
      currently the Interfaith Program Director for East Bay Housing
      Organizations (EBHO) where he leads the Interfaith Action in Housing
      Program. He remains active with Richmond Vision 2000, Northern
      California Inter-Religious Conference, Greater Richmond Interfaith
      Program (GRIP), Interfaith Coalition for Immigrant Rights and
      California Council of Churches.

      Rodney N. Powell, MD is a Pediatrician, International Health
      Specialist and former Professor of Pediatrics and Health Services
      Administration at University of Minnesota School of Medicine, and
      Professor of Family Practice and Community Health, John A. Burns
      School of Medicine, University of Hawaii. Rodney is a gay, African
      American, who has lived in Hawaii since 1976 with his partner of 30
      years, C. Robert Eddinger, PhD. While a medical student at Meharry
      Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee during the years 1957-61, as a
      student protest leader in the African American Civil Rights Movement,
      Rodney had the privilege and honor to learn and apply the philosophy
      and strategies of love and nonviolence under the guidance of Dr.
      Martin Luther King, Jr. and other dedicated ministers of the Southern
      Christian Leadership Conference.

      The goal 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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