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Two Women (without their Poodle) arrested in non-violent act of civil disobedience...we need your help!
Feb 19, 2007
Live Authentic...Whatever It Takes
Inspiring the Power of ONE in each of us
to access the Power of ALL of Us,
as we transform ourselves and our world, one person at a time!
You can't hate someone whose story you know.
The tiniest story in your life can deeply touch another.
You cannot know the effect your story might have.”--Sark
WHY WE CAN'T WAIT. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. first expressed that sentiment when segregation continued at the expense of a minority. His words ring true today, as we witness the continued toxic rhetoric of Dr. James Dobson. That is why we made the decision to go inside Focus on the Family and take our message directly to him. His erroneous teachings continue to denigrate and cause harm to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons and their families, the very families he claims to value. This is unjust and intolerable.
As part of a Soulforce direct action, we initiated an act of civil disobedience at Focus on the Family in Colorado Springs today. We need your support more than ever. Below, we share about our decision and why it is now imperative that we increase the tension. Your thougths and positive energy are important during this time.
Focus on the Family Headquarters
Click here for the press release issued by Soulforce about the civil disobedience in which we participated.
Note: The day after this newsletter was posted, a video became available, which we added to this newslette that is archived online. That original video has been replaced with an updated version that was uploaded on both You Tube & Google on March 12, 2007.
You Tube has maximum of 10 minutes for a video, so it is in two parts
Click here if you want to give your comments on the above Part I Video
Click here if you want to give your comments on the above Part II Video
Below is a video on Google (all in one part) of the Soulforce act of civil disobedience on February 19, 2007, at Focus on the Family. Please watch and give your comments.
If you want to give your comments on the above video, click on this link
WHY WE CAN'T WAIT! Video of Soulforce act of civil disobedience at Focus on the Family & resulting arrest of Dotti Berry & Robynne Sapp (video shown on Soulforce website)
Also, the following day after release of this newsletter, we added a new blog to Living Authentic Lives, giving more details.
(L-R) Diane #1, Roby, Dotti & Diane's supervisor, Heather, (back to pic), just after we told Diane #2, who took us on a special tour, (click here for when we met her) to let Focus on the Family know that we would not leave until Dobson recants and makes a public apology about the untruth he has been espousing about gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons. We met Diane #1 two years ago...connected with her through discovering in conversation that she previously lived in Bellingham, WA before she and her husband moved to Colorado...
Click here to read about when we met Diane #1
After Diane #2 informed FOTF, Gary Schneeberger (special assistant to Dr. James Dobson for Media Relations) came out and informed us that Dr. Dobson has no desire to talk with us, and Dr. Dobson doesn't want to dialogue (he says Dr. Dobson has heard all of "our rhetoric" before), and isn't interested. We communicated that we want Dr. Dobson to recant his false statements about gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons, as well as his distortions of the research of professors in his TIME magazine article of December 18, 2006, Two Mommies is One Too Many. Gary replies that Dr. Dobson did not distort the research, and that Dr. Dobson is speaking from what he believes. Click here to see the interviews with those researchers. You decide...
Click here for video of interview with Dr. Carol Gilligan at New York University
Click here to hear an interview with Dr. Kyle Pruitt of Yale University
When Gary asks us to leave, we continue our act of civil disobedience and sit in the lobby of Focus on the Family Headquarters. Gary then says he is turning us over to another security person. This gentleman requests that we leave. We once again communicate that we are there to do Whatever It Takes to bring truth to Dr. Dobson. We explain that we will not leave until Dr. Dobson has issued a public recanting and apology (which we have previously explained). He informs us that he will then have to contact the police. We tell him that we understand. Den Patterson, head of security (who we now consider a friend) then comes out. He smiles, and we chat for a few minutes, once again explaining that we do not plan to leave. He says that we can get up and walk out if we choose. We tell him we are not leaving. He says, "You know we are going to have to have you arrested." We tell him that we understand, that we love him, and will not hold it against him. Throughout the day, we explain that nobody ever invited Rosa to the front of the bus, that nobody ever asked African Americans to come eat at the lunch counter, that women and blacks were not "invited" to vote, that interracial marriage was denounced from the pulpit
(along with the previous), and that we are not going to ignore that
injustice runs rampant from Dr. Dobson's teachings.
Question: How much longer do you think people would have continued having to sit at the back of the bus if Rosa Parks had not said "No more!"
Our community of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and ally friends must be willing to take a stand and say, "No more!" Each step is important to creating a fair and just society. Do this for yourself ... do this in HONOR OF your families! We did.
We are arrested and taken to jail.
Like any non-violent campaign, Soulforce's Focus on the Facts non-violent campaign dovetails with Dr. Martin Luther King's words from his Letter from Birmingham Jail, where he outlined four basic steps: "collection of the facts to determine whether injustices exist; negoatiation; self-purification; and direct action...which seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. It seeks to dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored."
COLLECTION OF THE FACTS TO DETERMINE WHETHER INJUSTICES EXIST:
FACT: Focus on the Family and Dr. James Dobson have consistently misrepresented gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender families and individuals as dangerous, sinful and undeserving of equal protection under the law. They continue to do this in speeches by Dr. Dobson, in written materials, and through their Love Won Out Conferences.
FACT: In the December 18th issue of TIME Magazine, Dr. James Dobson, in his article, Two Mommies is One Too Many, responded to the news of Mary Cheney’s pregnancy by once again invoking “30 years of social-science evidence” to support his claim that children do best “when raised by their married mother and father.” Prominent psychologist and social researcher, Dr. Carol Gilligan, stated emphatically that its inclusion constitutes "a complete distortion of my work" and went on to say that there is nothing in her research that would support Dobson's stated conclusions. In this article, Dr. Dobson also distorted the work of Dr. Kyle Pruett of Yale Medical School.
Mel White, who with his partner, Gary Nixon, co-founded Soulforce, first held a hunger fast outside FOTF ten years ago in an attempt to speak with Dr. Dobson. Soulforce has written numerous letters over the past few years to Dr. Dobson, diligently attempting to meet face-to-face with him. He has refused. When Soulforce was in Colorado Springs in 2005, Dr. Dobson closed down Focus on the Family so that we could not visit. We stayed behind another day to go inside, be a loving presence, share our stories, and listen to the stories of people who work there. If you are unfamiliar with our past experiences with Focus on the Family, you can click here to read them.
For this action, we met with our Soulforce group on Saturday, going over non-violent principles and our commitment to bringing truth in love to Dr. Dobson and Focus on the Family. We prepared ourselves emotionally and spiritually by immersing ourselves in reading Dr. Martin Luther King's Letter from Birmingham Jail. If you have never before read it, it is one of the most eloquent and deeply felt pieces ever written and was later included in his book, Why We Can't Wait. His words ring as true today for our GLBT community and allies, as they did when they inspired people during the civil rights era in the 60's. Click here to read that letter. We journaled, talked, prayed, and visualized about bringing truth in love to Dr. Dobson, visualizing his wholeness and transformation. We are staying at the Hilton Garden Inn, just minutes from FOTF. Last night, we walked completely around the perimeter of FOTF campus (about 2 miles) speaking our love for Dr. Dobson and offering an open heart for healing his pain that allows him to deliver untruth about us (and to genuinely believe what he says), as he diminishes us and the very families he professes to value. When we get out of jail, we plan to once again do the same, walking around the campus, offering truth in love. We will continue to do Whatever It Takes!
Like Dr. King, we use the tension created by an act of civil disobedience to create negotiation, and confront injustice. We do not move to this of civil disobedience until other options have failed. After our tour at Focus on the Family, we communicated that we would not leave until Dr. Dobson issued a statement recanting what he wrote in the TIME magazine article, Two Mommies is One Too Many. (Links to those interviews with professors, whose research was misquoted, are contained again later in this email if you missed them above or in our February 14 newsletter).
We will now cut to the chase. We need your financial support! Click below on our logo if you are willing to do Whatever It Takes to get us out of jail by supporting us with funds for bail. It will take you to PayPal.
Before you say "yes" or "no," please read our statements below which accompanied a video, entitled "Dear Dr. Dobson: An Open Video Letter to Focus on the Family" that we gave to people. That video can be viewed by clicking here and scrolling down the page.
We follow the lead of the great Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who, in 1963, wrote in his Letter from Birmingham Jail, "I think I should indicate why I am here in Birmingham." We also feel that responsibility, further recognizing and understanding more fully what Dr. King meant when he wrote Why We Can't Wait in 1964, and how it applies to our situation today.
(We included the FACTS we previously shared.)
Dotti Berry: I think I should indicate why I am here in Colorado Springs at Focus on the Family. I am here today because I am willing to do Whatever It Takes to deliver truth to Dr. Dobson. I believe in Dr. Dobson's ability to empower and share truth with people. I believe that when Dr. Dobson recognizes the untruth of what he has often spoken about gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons, and the harm it has created, not only for us, but for our families, he will shift and become the most powerful ally we have ever had. His "Saul to Paul" moment will be beyond anyone's wildest dreams as the scales fall off his eyes. I want to witness that conversion with Dr. Dobson. This is WHY WE CAN'T WAIT. The transformation of each of us is at stake. I am here to mirror Dr. Dobson's human essence, so that the reflection will cause him to fully understand why it is important to begin telling a new and true story, one that empowers all of us.
Robynne Sapp: I think I should indicate why I am here in Colorado Springs at Focus on the Family. I am here today because I am willing to do Whatever It Takes to deliver truth to Dr. Dobson. I am here today because I believed Dr. Dobson’s teachings for many years, and it almost led to my suicide. My healing came from my acceptance of myself and my acceptance that God loves me exactly as I am. Unfortunately, both of our families still believe Dr. Dobson’s rhetoric, and it has harmed the very families he has professed to value. Although I trust that Dr. Dobson is capable of change, more importantly, I trust in myself to believe in his change. Jesus provided us the greatest words and example of how to act when friends and family reject us. Forgive them Father. They know not what they do. How can I offer less?"
In front of police department after our release
(added to this newsletter on 2/20/07 after newsletter was originally posted on 2/19)
Note: We are scheduled for a court appearance on March 14, 2007
Professors and scientists have "come out of the closet" to state that their research has been distorted by Dr. James Dobson (Focus on the Family) after his guest column criticizing Mary Cheney in Time Magazine, where he justified his trashing of gay families by citing the work of these renowned researchers.
Click below to hear an interview with Dr. Carol Gilligan at New York University.
Click below to hear an interview with Dr. Kyle Pruett (son of a Baptist minister) at Yale University. "Two Mommies" is not the whole story. It is love that surrounds children, not the gender of the parents, that prepares them for the world, explains Dr. Pruett. He contacted Dr. Dobson asking for dialogue, and never heard back from him.
Lisa Darden, conducted the interviews of Dr. Gilligan and Dr. Pruitt for Wayne Besen of Truth Wins Out. Click here to read more about her documentary, For Such a Time as This, that is in production through her company, Hope Unlimited Productions.
Click below to hear an interview with Dr. Robert Spitzer, a professor of psychiatry at Columbia University.
Click below for video of interview with Dr. Judith Stacey at New York University. Soulforce provided the video of the interview with Dr. Stacey.
Since Dr. Dobson's commentary, TIME has now printed a rebuttal, Two Mommies or Two Daddies Will Do Fine, Thanks. It is written by Jennifer Chrisler, Executive Director of Family Pride, the nation's largest LGBT family advocacy group, and the mother of twin boys with her wife Cheryl Jacques. She says,
"When people like Dobson profess 'concern' for the welfare of children, while simultaneously attacking those very children's parents and family structures, their insincerity becomes evident. If their paramount focus is truly the health and well-being of children, then we invite Dobson and his colleagues to join our fight to ensure that all loving families are recognized, respected, protected and celebrated."
Click here to read the entire article.
Before taking the Focus on the Family tour, and proceeding with the civil disobedience, we visited the Welcome Center, seeking out friends Diane #1 (who we met during our first visit) and Diane #2 (who we met during our second visit), as well as Den Patterson, head of security, and our previous tour guides, Betty & Josh, and Melissa Fryear's assistant, Cynthia.
While we absolutely want to hold Dr. Dobson accountable for his harmful rhetoric, it is also important that we visualize Dr. Dobson as a healed human being. It is difficult for him to every break out of the imprisoned walls of his thinking if we hold him hostage with our negative thoughts. If we are truly all connected through the energy of our universe, we must call upon ourselves, first, to transform our thoughts about how we see Dr. Dobson and what is possible. Our own transformation also holds the possibility of Dr. Dobson's. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. never gave up hope on Governor George Wallace. Though Dr. King never lived to see that day that George Wallace recanted his racist history, it is a lesson we take to heart.
We are a part of all that is being created in our world. We know the fat lady ain't singing yet, but she's clearing her throat! Let's help her sing by stepping up to the plate in a new and empowered way!
Click below if you are willing to donate to our bail fund.
We appreciate ANYTHING you might be able to do.
If you know anyone who lives in the Colorado Springs area, or in Denver, we are speaking at PFLAG Colorado Springs on Tuesday, February 20. Click here for details and join us to hear about our year long journey, Gay Into Straight America, as well as more about our experiences today with Focus on the Family. We say, "Dear Dr. Dobson...Focus on OUR Family!"
Live Authentic...Whatever It Takes!
Every journey begins with a bold move, and every bold move is a journey.
As we continue to make changes in our lives and grow toward our highest selves,
we are transforming the world.
--Two Women & a Poodle, Dotti Berry, Robynne Sapp & Rylee Joy