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Sundays of Solidarity --Cornerstone Church, S.A. Texas, June 28, 2009
Photos by Antonia Padilla

S.A. LGBT activists visit Hagee's Cornerstone Church
Photos by Antonia Padilla, QSanAntonio.com, June 28, 2009

Fifty LGBT activists, organized under the auspices of Soulforce and Atticus Circle, attended services at anti-gay pastor John Hagee’s Cornerstone Church in San Antonio on June 28. The action was the first of many planned to take place across the country as part of Soulforce’s Sundays of Solidarity.

Those who attended the services and the meeting afterward tell QSanAntonio that the atmosphere at the church was cordial and polite. No special mention was made during the service of the LGBT attendees. After the service, the group was escorted into a side chapel where they were offered light refreshments and interacted with Cornerstone members.

Pastor Hagee briefly welcomed the group before he and his wife took a private meeting with Jeff Lutes, executive director of Soulforce and Jodie Eldridge, executive director of Atticus Circle.

Writer Toby Johnson told QSanAntonio that while the conversations with Cornerstone members were friendly and respectful, it was clear that Hagee’s followers were firm in their belief in scriptures which say homosexuality is wrong.

Hagee welcomes gay groups
San Antonio Express-News, June 29, 2009

This Sunday, as the 40th anniversary of Stonewall — the birth of the gay rights movement — was being observed, the Rev. John Hagee also welcomed a community that doesn’t traditionally attend. They were lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

Hagee agrees to meet with GLBT activists at his San Antonio church
QSanAntonio.com, June 16, 2009

Cornerstone Church pastor John Hagee has agreed to meet with a delegation of LGBT activists after they attend a worship service at his church on June 28. The date is historically significant to organizers -- it’s the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots in New York City, considered to be the start of the modern LGBT civil rights movement.

The action, which is co-sponsored by Soulforce and Atticus Circle, launches the groups’ Sundays of Solidarity. Organizers say they are looking to develop dialogue about civil rights with members of faith communities across the nation by visiting churches, synagogues, and other faith community gatherings.

Soulforce executive director Jeff Lutes sent a June 4 letter requesting a meeting with Hagee; in a response letter received by Lutes, Hagee noted, "We look forward to our meeting anticipating the respectful, charitable and healing communication that will develop."

The letter Lutes sent to Hagee expressed concerns that LGBT equality supporters have with his teachings. Lutes noted in the letter, "We want to discuss how you and your congregation can embark on a new course of love, respect and understanding toward our community, and in the process, come to a greater awareness of the common ground I suspect we share."

According to Lutes, "This action isn’t designed to create tension; rather, it’s designed to expose and reduce the tension that already exists around LGBT rights in this country. Our hope for Sundays of Solidarity is that participants are able to talk to people in their own faith communities, visit other faith communities, and help people understand the fundamental need for LGBT equality."

Atticus Circle executive director Jodie Eldridge notes, "Our organization is made up of straight people who realize that LGBT Americans should enjoy the same rights as straight Americans do.

"One of these fundamental rights is practicing one’s faith," Eldridge added. "For some LGBT individuals, being recognized and accepted within one’s faith community is a first, crucial step toward achieving equal rights."

See story below for more information about this event.

Gay activists plan visit to Hagee’s Cornerstone Church in S.A.
QSanAntonio.com, June 6, 2009

Soulforce, an organization that "promotes freedom for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people from religious and political oppression," is asking LGBT activists throughout Texas to attend Sunday services at anti-gay pastor John Hagee’s Cornerstorne Church in San Antonio on June 28. The date of the visit coincides with the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall riots in New York City.

In 2006, Hagee blamed the devastation of Hurricane Katrina on the "level of sin" by gays in New Orleans. In the past, Hagee also has made disparaging remarks about women, blacks, Muslims, Jews and Catholics. (See story below.)

Hagee is the founder and senior pastor of Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, a non-denominational charismatic church with more than 19,000 active members. He is the chief executive officer of Global Evangelism Television, and John Hagee Ministries, which telecasts his national radio and television ministry carried in the United States on 160 TV stations, 50 radio stations, and eight networks, including The Inspiration Network and Trinity Broadcasting Network.

Soulforce’s demonstration, dubbed Sundays of Solidarity - From Stonewall to Cornerstone, is meant to peacefully demand that Hagee "recognize the separation of church and state, and end his campaign against the rights and well-being of LGBT people and same-gender couples who simply want to marry, raise their children, and live in their communities without fear."

An open letter was mailed to Hagee announcing the visit. The letter expresses Soulforce’s desire to meet with him after the services.

In order to be a part of the demonstration, Soulforce is asking activists to attend a one-hour "mandatory training" at the Beacon Hill Presbyterian Church before heading out to the Cornerstone Church. Name tags, lapel buttons (that read "gay? fine by me"), and a nonviolence pledge card will be distributed at the training.

"Sundays of Solidarity -- From Stonewall to Cornerstone" -- Mandatory Training at 9:00 am on June 28, 2009, at Beacon Hill Presbyterian Church, 1101 West Woodlawn, San Antonio Texas 787201. Attendance at services to follow at 11 a.m. at Cornerstone Church, 18755 Stone Oak Parkway, San Antonio, TX 78258. For more information go to Soulforce.org.

S.A. minister who endorsed McCain blamed Katrina on gays
QSanAntonio, March 1, 2008

John Hagee, the pastor of the Cornerstone Church in San Antonio who this week endorsed John McCain’s presidential bid, made statements in 2006 that blamed the devastation of Hurricane Katrina on the "level of sin" by gays in New Orleans. In the past, Hagee has also made disparaging remarks about women, blacks, Muslims and Catholics. He also actively advocates attacking Iran.

On September 18, 2006 Hagee made the following statement to National Public Radio reporter Terri Gross:

"All hurricanes are acts of God, because God controls the heavens. I believe that New Orleans had a level of sin that was offensive to God, and they were recipients of the judgment of God for that. The newspaper carried the story in our local area that was not carried nationally, that there was to be a homosexual parade there on the Monday that the Katrina came. And the promise of that parade was that it would was going to reach a level of sexuality never demonstrated before in any of the other gay pride parades."

Actually, there was no gay pride event scheduled in New Orleans at that time. The event to which Hagee referred is actually a circuit party called Southern Decadence that takes place annually during the Labor Day weekend.

Hagee has also called the Catholic Church "The Great Whore," an apostate church and a false cult system. He has been quoted as saying, "Do you know the difference between a woman with PMS and a snarling Doberman pinscher? The answer is lipstick. Do you know the difference between a terrorist and a woman with PMS? You can negotiate with a terrorist."

Catholic Groups have called on McCain to reject Hagee’s endorsement. McCain responded by saying he was, "very proud of the Pastor John Hagee's spiritual leadership to thousands of people and I am proud of his commitment to the independence and the freedom of the state of Israel" but that it "does not mean that I support or endorse or agree with some of the things that Pastor John Hagee might have said or positions that he may have taken on other issues."

Hagee is the founder of Christians United for Israel and leader of the Christian Zionists and has written several books. He founded the Cornerstone Church in San Antonio in May 1975. The church, located at 18755 Stone Oak Parkway, boasts a membership of over 19,000.