Mel White to Speak at Carleton College

April 2, 2003
Mel White, executive director of Soulforce, will give a talk titled "Stranger at the Gate: To be Gay and Christian in America" at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 3 at Severance Great Hall at Carleton College. The talk is free and open to the public.

Soulforce is an interfaith movement committed to ending spiritual violence perpetuated by religious policies and teachings against gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) people. Soulforce's primary goal is to tackle and replace the untruths that are spread using religion as a basis for such misinformation.

"Soul force" is a term that was used by Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to describe the principles of relentless nonviolent resistance, which are utilized by the organization. For the past six years White has been a Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches Minister of Justice and traveled throughout the country with his partner Gary Nixon working for justice and equality for GLBT people.

For many years, White worked in the evangelical Christian community as an author, pastor, and a speechwriter for leaders such as Jerry Falwell, Billy Graham, and Pat Robertson. Since that time, White has been able to reconcile his Christian theology and his sexual orientation. He and Nixon received the ACLU's National Civil Liberties Award in 1997 for their application of the "soul force" principles of Gandhi and King to the struggle for justice for sexual minorities.

White is the author of an autobiography titled "Stranger at the Gate: To Be Gay and Christian In America."White has had extensive background in both theology and communications. He received his B.A. from Warner Pacific College in 1962 and his master's degree in communications from the University of Portland in 1963. He earned a Ph.D. in film and communications at the University of Southern California and a doctorate in religious studies from the Fuller Theological Seminary School in Pasadena.

The talk is sponsored by Carleton's Gender and Sexuality Center, Office of the Chaplain and Human Sexuality Endowment Fund.