We call on members of the United Methodist Church to support your local congregation if it is (or is rapidly becoming) a Reconciling Congregation. But we call upon you to leave your church if your pastor continues to enforce the words that "...do not condone." At least refuse to pay your tithes and offerings until your church opens their doors to all people as Christ commands. --- part of text of "open letter" to United Methodists from Mel White & Soulforce, May 1, 2008
Dear Mel, your "significant other" (Gary), and Members of Soulforce:
Due to the General Conference of the UMC of 2008 not moving in the direction as far as you wanted, you have responded by making a broad appeal to the membership of the United Methodist Church. It is your desire that the United Methodist Church come to the place where those who practice sodomy and lesbianism be fully involved in the membership and life of the UMC. Further, that those who practice such lifestyles be ordained into the UMC ministry if they feel so "called."
Actually what follows was written some time before the death of Jerry Falwell, who is mentioned in the following epistle. But the appeal at the conclusion of the letter is still quite legitimate as some would fully agree. So here we go.......
You have certainly created a lot of waves around the country the last few years in your campaign to force full acceptance of the sodomite and lesbian lifestyles upon all citizens and institutions within the borders of the United States.
It must be admitted by even your most dedicated foes that much progress has been made by you and other like minded groups in your ultimate goal to have civil and church legislation enacted which will grant sodomites and lesbians the right to:
- legally marry in a church or in a civil ceremony.
- adopt children and be recognized as legitimate families with all the rights and privileges now possessed by families consisting of a father (male) and a mother (female) who are married and their children.
- be totally received into the life and ministry of any church, including ordination into the ministry of any church.
- be employed in any work place with full protection so that although a potential employer strongly objects to sodomy and lesbianism on moral grounds, that employer is forced to hire a sodomite or a lesbian anyway because the law says you cannot discriminate, even on moral grounds!
- be free to rent any property of choice which is available and even though a Christian who is the property owner has strong moral convictions that sodomy and lesbianism are an abomination, that Christian property owner must rent his property to a couple of sodomites or a couple of lesbians because the law says he cannot refuse the "couple" due to the fact that he would be guilty of "discrimination!"
Your efforts to put extreme pressure on various church groups have been highly publicized and it is clear that some are beginning to cave in a bit to your demands here and there -- even some church leaders who used to oppose sodomy and lesbianism have "converted" and now speak of it in favorable terms!
The strategy you are following could not be improved upon in any manner -- every facet of our society has been impacted and you now have growing support from political and church leaders. But of even greater significance is the fact that you now have a majority of those in mass media communications behind you along with an increased number of productions coming from the movie and television industries which present sodomy and lesbianism in a very favorable light -- or in the case of depicting stories of sodomites and lesbians who were victims of so-called "hate crimes" you have gained a great amount of sympathy for your cause and this should benefit you in seeking special protection and prvileges that we in the heterosexual community do not have nor ever shall in the future!
Now then -- having said all that and as you review your successes over recent years, may I make a suggestion to you regarding the expansion of your agenda to a much higher level.
Is it not time for you to enlarge your vision to include those countries that are still considered almost universally opposed to sodomy and lesbianism? You and your lover, Gary Nixon, at one point rented a house across the street from Jerry Falwell's church. And as anticipated, you reaped millions of dollars worth of publicity from this venture, and if you weren't very high profile before, you certainly are now!
OK, here it is -- are you ready for the next level of challenge? You can arrange for others to live in your house, attend Falwell's church and keep the heat on him and his congregation.
So how about you, your lover, and others who are committed to Soulforce and its mission moving to Riyadh in Saudi Arabia, or Baghdad in Iraq, or Tehran in Iran?
Just do what you've been doing here in the U.S. as you challenge those Islamic cultures to consider the legitimacy of sodomy and lesbianism. Is it not true that the followers of Allah are much more hung up on sodomy and lesbianism than are the citizens of the U.S. and that those who practice sodomy and lesbianism in an Islamic culture must do so in complete secrecy? To be discovered as a practicing sodomite or lesbian can lead to a trial and execution as was the case on January 1, 2002 when three sodomites were publicly beheaded for practicing sodomy in Saudi Arabia! Surely you would agree, would you not, that these attitudes toward sodomy and lesbianism must be changed. And who would be the best person to confront those societies about this issue than you along with your supporters since you have great expertise in this area!
So, while it may be a bit difficult at first, if you pursue this with the same zeal as you have in the U.S., surely the professed followers of Islam will see it your way even as growing numbers of professing Christians and their leaders in this country are seeing things your way and agree with your contention that sodomy and lesbianism are to be considered every bit as normal as heterosexuality.
I anxiously look forward to a news release which tells of you, your lover, and Soulforce supporters taking up residence in Saudi Arabia, Iraq, or Iran and that you are zealously pursuing the same agenda there in public fashion as you have been doing in this country. And after you have "converted" the citizens of those countries you can then move on to the many others which are still dominated by Islam!
And by the way, Mel, try to keep your head as you pursue your crusade in those countries where Allah holds sway over the majority!
Still contending at Circuit Rider's Range, blogging at Musings of a Maverick! and warning at Driving the Final Nails!
Clayton D. Harriger
Elder in Full Connection
W. PA Annual Conference
The United Methodist Church
Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ. --- Jude 1:3, 4