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Soulforce Commends Dr. Robert Edgar

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  • U.M. Cornet
    CALLED OUT INFORMATION SERVICE ... ******************************************** Soulforce Press Release: Nov. 21, 2000 For Immediate Release Contact: Laura
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 22, 2000

      Soulforce Press Release: Nov. 21, 2000
      For Immediate Release
      Contact: Laura Montgomery Rutt
      Cell 717-951-7712 SoulforceMedia@...

      Soulforce Commends Dr. Robert Edgar for His Courage and Commitment to

      [Laguna Beach, CA.] On Friday, November 17, Dr. Robert Edgar, General
      Secretary of the National Council of Churches, withdrew his signature and
      support from the document "A Christian Declaration on Marriage" cosigned by
      the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Southern Baptist
      Convention, and the National Association of Evangelicals. Today, Soulforce
      Board of Directors publicly commended Dr. Edgar for his courageous stand.

      "We are grateful to Dr. Edgar for withdrawing his support of this most
      recent attack on same-sex marriage and accept his apology gladly," says Dr.
      Mel White, Executive Director, Soulforce, Inc., an interfaith network of
      Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender (GLBT) individuals and their families,
      friends, and allies, committed to applying the principles of nonviolent
      resistance as taught by Gandhi and King to the liberation of sexual and
      gender minorities.

      "In this dramatic about-face, Dr. Edgar has placed the National Council of
      Churches squarely on the side of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender
      Americans," continued White. "For decades the NCC has tried to please its
      constituents on both sides of this issue. In this courageous act, Dr. Edgar
      has made it clear that he would rather see the NCC close down with honor
      than be forced to water down its faithful and historic stand for justice,
      mercy, and truth."

      In a letter to the NCC Assembly, Edgar explained why he no longer supported
      the ecumenical declaration. "A number of the NCC member communions interpret
      the document more as a condemnation of same-sex unions than as an
      affirmation of marriage... I am concerned that in our dangerously fragmented
      and violent society, misinterpretation of the declaration may be used by
      some as a pretext for attacks on gay and lesbian persons."

      "Dr. Edgar is right," says Karen Weldin, a Soulforce Vice-Chair. "In
      limiting marriage to 'one man and one woman', Roman Catholic, Southern
      Baptist and Evangelical leaders are simply continuing their campaign to deny
      gay and lesbian Americans the 1,047 rights and protections that go
      automatically with heterosexual marriage. And worse, when they demean our
      loving, committed relationships as "intrinsically evil" (Roman Catholic) and
      "sick" and "sinful" (Southern Baptist) they inadvertently give license to
      those who harass, harm, and even kill us."

      In an earlier letter warning against the documents misuse, Dr. Edgar
      acknowledged that NCC member communions are "in discussion and discernment
      regarding same-sex unions. Nonetheless," he added, "there is unanimity
      among us in our long-standing advocacy for full Civil Rights for gay,
      lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons. Through our dialogues, we have
      come to celebrate the gifts and the challenges they present to us. We stand
      with them in our common battle against hatred and violence and the pain of

      "Bob Edgar has acted with great integrity and, in the process, has protected
      the integrity of the National Council of Churches," says Jimmy Creech, Board
      Chair of Soulforce, Inc. "His intention in signing the declaration was
      obviously compromised by the way it has since been used to denounce gay and
      lesbian couples in committed relationships. He has bravely refused to let
      himself and the NCC be exploited by the antigay agenda of the others who
      signed the declaration."

      In the past year, hundreds of Soulforce supporters have been arrested in
      non-violent acts of civil disobedience held during the United Methodist
      General Conference in May, the Southern Baptist Convention and the
      Presbyterian General Assembly in June, the Episcopal Convention in July, and
      most recently at the National Council of Catholic Bishops in November in
      protest of church policies which exclude GLBT individuals from the life of
      the church.

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