National interfaith leader and best-selling author the Rev. Mel White will address the conflict between religious and gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, transgender (GLBT) communities at three events this weekend (April 16-18) at Harvard. White is the founder of SoulForce Inc., an interfaith movement committed “to ending spiritual violence” against GLBT people.
The lecture, workshop, and sermon – all free and open to the public – will address the institutional, spiritual, and theological issues behind the current political and cultural debate over gay marriages, and the religious rationale for acceptance of GLBT persons. This will be White’s first major public appearance following SoulForce’s civil disobedience action at the trial of Methodist minister Karen Dammon last month.
White will kick off his Harvard visit on Friday (April 16) at 7 p.m. with a lecture on “Religion, Homosexuality and Marriage: Why We Can’t Wait.” A Q&A session will follow. On Saturday (April 17) from 9 a.m. to noon, White will lead a workshop titled “How to Stop Spiritual Violence Against Gays and Lesbians” with Karen Weldin, director of operations for SoulForce. Both of these events will be held in the Braun Room, Andover Hall. For the workshop, please R.S.V.P. to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finally, on Sunday (April 18) from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m., White will preach on “The Real Passion of the Christ, by the Other Mel” as part of the Harvard University Faith and Life Forum. A continental breakfast at 9 a.m. will precede the talk in the Pusey Room, Memorial Church.
A Christian minister, author, and filmmaker, White is the co-founder and executive director of SoulForce. Prior to coming out publicly in 1993, when he was installed as dean at the Dallas Cathedral of Hope of Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches, White ghostwrote several books for fellow evangelicals, including Billy Graham, Pat Robertson, Jim Bakker, and Jerry Falwell.
White is the best-selling author of “Stranger at the Gate: To Be Gay and Christian in America” (Plume, 1994) and the recipient of the American Civil Liberties Union’s National Civil Liberties Award for his efforts to apply the “soul force” principles of Mohandas K. Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. to the struggle for justice for sexual minorities.