Checking out Soulforce

I recently enjoyed reading Pam’s follow-up on the Equality Ride bus vandalism story. It gave me the chance to learn more about the Equality Ride itself. It sounds like a wonderful experience, and something I might have liked to participate in at one time. (Sadly, my life no longer would allow me the time or leisure for such a project.)

However, it also gave me a chance to learn more about the organization behind the Equality Ride, Soulforce. Soulforce is an organization consisting of spiritually minded people who work for “freedom for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people from religious and political oppression through the practice of relentless nonviolent resistance.” Given my own struggles that resulted from my religious background, I find this a rather noble cause.

I particularly like the Soulforce Credo About My Adversary:

1. I believe that my adversary is also a child of the Creator, that we are both members of the same human family, that we are sisters and brothers in need of reconciliation.
2. I believe that my adversary is not my enemy, but a victim of misinformation as I have been.
3. I believe that my only task is to bring my adversary truth in love (nonviolence) relentlessly.
4. I believe that my adversary’s motives are as pure as mine and of no relevance to our discussion.
5. I believe that even my worst adversary has an amazing potential for positive change.
6. I believe that my adversary may have an insight into truth that I do not have.
7. I believe that one day my adversary and I will understand each other and that if we conduct our search for truth guided by the principles of love, we will find a new position to satisfy us both.

To me, this willingness to see one’s “adversary” as wholly human and worthy of respect, dignity, and even love despite differences is a marker of true spirituality. It shows a compassion and spiritual understanding that I often find missing when observing people mired in addressing such controversial topics where feelings run high.

Of course, I also have my qualms about some aspects of Soulforce’s proposed spirituality. For example, the Soulforce Credo About Spiritual Possessions seems to come a bit too close to ascetism and a “sackcloth and ashes” mentality for my tastes. While I’m certainly not in favor of unrestrained materialism and self-gratification, I’m not a minimist, either. All the same, I think I’ll continue to check the organization out and see how I might become involved.

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