New documentary about Soulforce re-focuses on our families.
by Neil Ellis Orts.
History, inspiration, motivation—it’s all right here.
Soulforce was founded in 1999 as a religious organization combating GLBT intolerance within religious communities. Mel White, former ghost writer for such Evangelical luminaries as Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell, co-founded the organization (with his partner Gary Nixon) upon the principles of nonviolent conflict resolution put forth by Mohandas Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr.
a documentary by Kate Burns and Sheila E. Schroeder, records a handful of Soulforce actions targeting Evangelical giant Dr. James Dobson and his organization, Focus on the Family. A six-day, 65-mile march from Denver (the state capitol) to Colorado Springs (the home of Focus on the Family) is the culminating action of this film.
The speeches are familiar. For anyone who has listened to any rhetoric about GLBT equality, these will not give much new information. At the same time, the passion exhibited by people like straight ally Dani Newsum does stir this viewer. As a black woman married to a white man, she is clear about the differences between the history of the 1960s civil rights movement and the modern gay rights movement, but she is masterful at drawing together the similarities.
Perhaps the most inspiring segments were the interviews with older couples. Barbara Kinsman and Linda Royster, interviewed with their grandsons, bring a sense, not only of history, but of personal growth to the story of gay rights. Lewis Thompson and Laurin Foxworth, the older of the two being 80 years old and already the victim of a “mini-stroke” at the time of the march, give a younger generation a sense of how important involvement is, even if hiking in 100-degree heat—in a mountainous region—might pose as a serious health risk. Both couples convey serious information and convictions with charm and a sense of humor.
Throw in some archival footage of Dr. King calmly outlying his objectives (this is not the rally speech of Dr. King with which we are more familiar), and you have an hour’s worth of viewing well spent. Churches and other organizations should be interested in this DVD for their library.
From First Run Features (firstrunfeatures.com). For more information, visit klondykepictures.com.
Neil Ellis Orts is a regular contributor to OutSmart magazine.