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Non-UMC Pro-homosexuality "Soulforce" and Homosexual Celebs To Crash Every Session Of General Conference

Outside Group Will Attempt To Enter Delegate's Area

A non-denominational group urging General Conference to drop negative language about homosexuality will try to enter an area of the Cleveland Convention Center reserved for delegates only. In a letter to Gary Bowen, business manager of General Conference, Mel White, co-chair of SoulForce, says that in addition to silent prayer vigils, on May 10, the group will attempt to enter the area for delegates at 7:50 a.m. "If you allow us entry to the delegate area, we will kneel and pray in a semi-circle facing the speaker's podium," writes White. "If no one moves to stop or remove us, we will continue our silent, prayerful vigil for the duration of General Conference."

White says the date and time were selected because Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey is scheduled to speak on May 10. White notes that the Anglican Church voted (526-70) to denounce homosexual practice as "contrary to the Bible," a statement similar to the UM position. James Lawson, a UM clergyperson and colleague of Martin Luther King Jr., will help train the demonstrators in non-violent tactics, and Arun Gandhi, Mahatma Gandhi's grandson, will join the demonstrations.

Bowen told Newscope that the rules do not allow anyone who is not a delegate, a bishop, or a General Conference staff member to go on the conference floor. "They have a point to make and I have order to keep," said Bowen. "There is no way the church or city will take away their civil rights, but if the group attempts to enter the delegates' area, there may be some quiet arrests. This has nothing to do with the cause they represent, it only has to do with abiding by the rules." Bowen said he is not concerned about any violence. "I expect our UM people to act like Christians and to treat all people with respect."

Newscope A Newsletter for United Methodist Leaders Vol. 28, No. 17/April 28, 2000

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