There’s bad news and sort of good news.
On Mother’s Day, Soulforce flunkie Jay Baker discovered that if he got into vistors line to shake Joel Osteen’s hand he could make a pitch for a meeting with Osteen. The bad news is that Osteen agreed to a meeting with Baker. In the meeting was Osteen, brother Paul and media spokesman Donald Iloff.
This is bad news because just meeting with Soulforce helps them accomplish one of their main goals which is to gain credibilty and attention from the meetings. The spin from their side of the meeting is yet to come.
According to the Christian Post, Osteen and the others refused to affirm homosexuality to Baker. That’s the sort of good news. Its “sort of” because we can’t be completely sure that at some point in the future Joel Osteen won’t adopt some sort of open door tolerance policy at Lakewood which is akin giving gay civil unions instead of marriage. By himself (on the Larry King show), when asked about the issue, Osteen has not given a strong, clear biblical response, choosing instead a deflective posture. We dont know who actually carried the conversation during the meeting with Baker. It would have been best to refuse to meet with Baker and instead issued a public statement rejecting homosexuality as acceptable to Christian living.
On June 1st, Soulfarce (that’s intentional) is headed to Atlanta for a cordial chatfest with New Birth Baptist Church. Of the proposed meeting, here is what Atlanta’s gay paper Southern Voice is reporting:
William Turner, New Birth’s senior director of marketing, said he wasn’t aware of specific plans to receive the group. Turner referred questions on the church’s position on the American Family Outing to Dan Renee, who works with a public relations firm in Washington, D.C.
“They have tens of thousands of people who worship on Sunday. If a couple more people show up, they show up,” Renee said. “I don’t think there is any reason for the church to be concerned or scared.”
Renee did not make Long or any member of the church available to discuss the church’s positions on lesbian and gay issues.
Dr. Sylvia Rhue, director of religious affairs for the National Black Justice Coalition, is one of the planners of the American Family Outing. She will help lead the New Birth outing, and said Soulforce would not consider it a success just to worship.
“It’s not that we just want to worship, we want to meet with Bishop Long, and have an official meeting, or outing or a picnic with the church,” Rhue said.
If the church does not respond, Soulforce participants would still attend services but not be disruptive or wear clothing to identify themselves as gay families, Rhue said.
If you are a member of New Birth and want to organize to educate members of Soulforce on the real truth about homosexuality, contact GCM Watch immediately for more information.