Jazz Funeral Rocks Southern Baptist Convention
(Laguna Beach, CA) -- People from all over the United States joined together
in New Orleans June 11 - 13, at the Southern Baptist Convention to protest
the anti-gay teachings of Southern Baptists and spread a message of hope that
hearts and minds can change to embrace gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender
individuals. Soulforce, an interfaith network of gay, lesbian, bisexual and
transgender (GLBT) individuals and their families, friends and allies, is
committed to applying the principles of nonviolent resistance as taught by
Gandhi and King to the liberation of sexual and gender minorities.
During the two days of meetings, Soulforce supporters received training in
non-violence, took turns standing vigil in front of the Superdome where the
Southern Baptist Convention was taking place, and participated in a Jazz
Funeral to mourn the suffering of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender
Members of the anti-gay Westboro Baptist Church from Topeka stood nearby
protesting Soulforce, and carrying signs reading, "God Hates Fags," and other
anti-gay messages. Prior to going to New Orleans, Soulforce asked for pledges
to help raise money based on the number of hours Westboro Baptists were
present. Soulforce raised over $10,000.
The culmination of two days of vigils in New Orleans was a historic jazz
funeral, followed by a press conference and civil disobedience and arrests.
Hundreds of people lined the streets as over 100 Soulforce supporters
followed a jazz band through the streets of New Orleans around the Superdome,
mourning for the suffering and deaths of gay Southern Baptists. A coffin
filled with letters from and about those who have been hurt by Southern
Baptist teaching was also part of the procession.
"Southern Baptist teachings are a primary source of misinformation about
sexual and gender minorities," declared Bill Carpenter, Soulforce co-chair of
the event. "Their teachings lead to discrimination, suffering, and even
death. We will continue to bring to light the suffering these teaching cause
and pray for the day when all people will be embraced for who God created
them to be."
After the press conference, supporters tried to take the coffin and the
letters into the Superdome, but were stopped by police and ordered to leave.
34 individuals were arrested and taken to police headquarters to be booked on
charges of trespassing. However, the New Orleans City Attorney dropped all
charges against the Soulforce supporters who were arrested.
Visit the Soulforce website for additional information on Soulforce, as well as details of Soulforce
events in New Orleans.
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