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Lifestyle article Aug27, 2002

Capital Times Newspaper article
Lifestyle section
August 27, 2002

(click link at the bottom for the article)

Steve's response:

Dear Editor:

It was a shame that Ms. Turville-Heitz's article, "Gays in the Church" in your August 27 issue interviewed only church officials and did not present the views of any of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transgender (LGBT) Christians who are effected by church policies. Despite the title of the article, it seems Ms. Turville-Heitz found no "Gays in the Church" to speak with.

Had Turville-Heitz spoken with LGBT Christians, she might have questioned Wisconsin Council of Church's executive director Jerry Volk's claim that churches simultaneously consider homosexual behavior sinful and believe in God's love for LGBT persons and respect their human dignity. This double-talk is a cover for the spiritual violence most of the churches Mr. Volk represents perpetrate against LGBT persons. Spiritual violence is the abuse of religious authority to hinder the spiritual development of LGBT persons, to deny LGBT people are created in God's image, to deny our ability to love and to form families, and to block the contribution of our spiritual gifts to the churches. It is the churches' spiritual violence which justifies and emboldens the advocates of discrimination and encourages the perpetrators of the anti-LGBT attacks Mr. Volk says the churches oppose.

The real truth was exposed when David Carlson expressed the hope that churches might present their biases in "respectful" ways, and not like Fred Phelps. Phelps' unvarnished anti-LGBT hatred is more honest than the double talk of the church leaders in your article. Soulforce Wisconsin, a licensed, local group affiliated with Soulforce, inc. follows the leadership of the Rev. Dr. Mel White in it's commitment to use the methods of M. K. Gandhi and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to expose the spiritual violence of most of the churches represented by the Wisconsin Council of Churches' Jerry Volk. Soulforce has staged many non-violent direct actions at the national conventions of most of the denominations represented in your article. Hundreds of peaceful, non-violent Soulforce volunteers have been arrested and jailed to expose the churches' ongoing spiritual violence.

We believe that the Capital Times does a better job of serving the public when voices on all sides of the issues are represented in its articles. The failure to do so in the "Gays in the Churches" article does not represent the Capital Times' usual high standards of public service.

Steven E. Webster
Member, Soulforce Wisconsin Leadership Team or click the link below