Religious Roundtable Calls For Meeting With Focus On The Family's James Dobson

August 25, 1999

Roberta Sklar, Director of Communications

(Full text of the petition and specific signatories follow.)


The National Religious Leadership Roundtable issued a public statement calling for a meeting with Dr. James Dobson, president of Focus on the Family, to begin a more honest dialogue among religious leaders on issues surrounding faith, gay, lesbian bisexual and transgender (GLBT) people, and civil rights. The public statement issued Wednesday followed a two-day meeting in which Roundtable participants discussed how to strengthen the unique role and contributions that GLBT people play in their faith communities.

The National Religious Leadership Roundtable petition to James Dobson reads in part, "Like Dr. Dobson and his colleagues, we are people of faith committed to empowering whole and healthy families. In that spirit we ask Dr. Dobson to meet with us, to hear our case, and together, to being a process of seeking truth about homosexuality and homosexuals."

"Members of mainstream denominations such as my own are influenced by the misinformation perpetuated by James Dobson," said Elder Marco Grimaldo of More Light Presbyterians. "As a consequence, these half-truths hinder the conversations that we can have in our own faith communities."

"As a pastor and a mother working and raising a child in Colorado Springs, I am daily confronted with the way Dr. Dobson works against his stated goals to empower families," said Rev. Elder Nori Rost of Pikes Peak Metropolitan Community Church. "We hope that by meeting with Dr. Dobson we can begin to clear up the harm that is caused by his inflammatory and untrue rhetoric."

Rev. Mel White of Soulforce adds, "I want to be clear that we support Dr. Dobson's right to preach his conscience about homosexuality. The statement released is a plea that he stop the dangerous anti-homosexual messages that divide families and cause suffering,"

The National Religious Leadership Roundtable is an interfaith network of leaders from pro-GLBT faith, spiritual and religious organizations working in partnership with other justice-seeking groups to amplify the voice of pro-GLBT faith organizations in public discourse; promote understanding of and respect for pro-GLBT people with society and in communities of faith; promote understanding and respect within GLBT communities for a variety of faith paths and for religious liberty; and achieve commonly held goals which promote equality, spirituality and justice.

Roundtable attendees represent hundreds of churches and synagogues and millions of worshipers. The Roundtable is a project of the Policy Institute of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and is co-convened by NGLTF and Equal Partners in Faith.

The National Religious Leadership Roundtable includes more than 40 national representatives from a wide array of faith traditions, including Unitarian Universalist Association of America, Al-Fatiha Foundation (LGBTQ Muslims & Friends), American Friends Service Committee, U.S. Urban Rural Mission, World Council of Churches, Dignity/USA (Catholics), World Congress of Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Jewish Organizations, United Methodist Covenant Relationships Network, The Interfaith Working Group, Reconciling Congregations Program, Disciples Justice Action Network, Methodist Federation for Social Action, The Interfaith Alliance, Soulforce, Inc., Unity Fellowship Church, New Ways Ministry, Integrity (Episcopalian), Affirmation (United Methodist), The Brethren/Mennonite Council, Gay, Lesbian and Affirming Disciples Alliance, Inc., Lutherans Concerned/North America, More Light Presbyterians, Metropolitan Community Church, AIDS National Interfaith Network, Christians Lesbians OUT, Affirmation: Gay and Lesbian Mormons, Interweave (Unitarians), Q Spirit, Congregation Beth Simchat Torah, EvangelicalsÕ Concerned, Lutheran Lesbian and Gay Ministires and United Church of Christ Coalition for LGBT Concerns.

"The Religious Roundtable seeks this meeting in the spirit of constructive engagement," noted NGLTF Policy Institute director Urvashi Vaid, "For too long the religious right's spiritual and moral mischaracterizations of homosexuality have gone unchallenged. The Religious Roundtable is network of people of faith eager to move from diatribe and invective into dialogue."

National Religious Leadership Roundtable
Petition to James Dobson and Focus on the Family
August 25, 1999

"We the undersigned members of the National Religious Leadership Roundtable, gathered in Colorado Springs, August 22–24, 1999, express our concern about the false and inflammatory rhetoric against homosexuality and homosexuals that flows regularly from Dr. James Dobson and his Focus on the Family organization.

"We support Dr. Dobson's right to preach his conscience about homosexuality but we condemn his dangerous and untrue rhetoric against homosexuals. Focus on the Family's anti-homosexual campaign leads directly and indirectly to broken families, to divided churches, and to suffering and death for God's gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people.

"Like Dr. Dobson and his colleagues, we are people of faith committed to empowering whole and healthy families. In that spirit we ask Dr. Dobson to meet with us, to hear our case, and together, to being a process of seeking truth about homosexuality and homosexuals."

Specific Roundtable Member Signatories:

Rev. Patricia Ackerman, Integrity (Episcopal)
Faisal Alam, Al-Fatiha Foundation (LGBTQ Muslims and Friends), (212) 752-3188
Marilyn Alexander, interim Executive Director Reconciling Congregation Program of the United Methodist Church (773) 736-5526
Rev. Steven Baines, Executive Coordinator Equal Partners in Faith, (202) 296-4672
Rev. Ken Brooker Langston, Disciples Justice Action Network, (202) 669-8772
Eugene Brink, Gay Lesbian and Affirming Disciples Alliance, (719) 574-7216
Eddy Carroll, Interweave (Unitarian Universalist), (303) 433-8742
Frank DeBernardo, Executive Director, New Ways Ministry (Catholic), (301) 277-5674
Rev. Mitzi Eilts, National Coordinator for the United Church of Christ Coalition for LGBT Concerns, (203) 789-6355
Bob Gibeling, Lutherans Concerned/North America, (404) 266-9615
Jan Griesinger, Christian Lesbians OUT (CLOUT), (740) 593-7301
*Marco Grimaldo, More Light Presbyterians, (202) 607-7629
Christian de la Huerta, Q - Spirit, (415) 281-9377
Duane Jennings, Affirmation: Gay and Lesbian Mormons, (801) 486-6977
Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum, Congregation Beth Simchat Torah, (212) 929-9498
Robert Miailovich, President Dignity / USA (Catholics), (202) 861-0017
Rev. Elder Troy Perry, Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches, (310) 360-8640
Chris Purdom , Interfaith Working Group, (215) 235-3050
*Rev. Elder Nori Rost, Pikes Peak Metropolitan Community Church, (719) 634-3771
Laura Montgomery-Rutt, Equal Partners in Faith, (717) 625-2629
*Rev. Mel White, Soulforce, (714) 356-4683
Kay Whitlock, American Friends Service Committee, (406) 721-7844

National Religious Leadership Roundtable participant:
Kevin Maly, Voices of Faith Director, Equality Colorado, (303) 839-5540

*Designated Roundtable spokesperson. For more information, please call David Elliot in the NGLTF Communications Department at 202-332-6483.


The mission of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is to build the political power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community from the ground up. We do this by training activists, organizing broad-based campaigns to defeat anti-LGBT referenda and advance pro-LGBT legislation, and by building the organizational capacity of our movement. Our Policy Institute, the movementís premier think tank, provides research and policy analysis to support the struggle for complete equality and to counter right-wing lies. As part of a broader social justice movement, we work to create a nation that respects the diversity of human expression and identity and creates opportunity for all. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., we also have offices in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis and Cambridge.