Freedom Writer |
April 1996 |
Mel White's soul force
Last month the Rev. Mel White shared some of his principles for
activists. While his religious philosophy may not be for everyone, we
feel many of his ideas are useful for activists. White's "soul force"
principles come directly from the writings of Gandhi and the Rev.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
13 examples of the soul force principles
We will succeed in our struggle for justice...
6 sample stages of a soul force action
- by refusing to remain silent and inactive in the face of
- by believing that God (the Universe, our Higher Power) is on the
side of justice.
- by believing that within everyone (even your worst adversary)
there is an amazing potential for positive change.
- by seeing your adversary not as an evil person but as a victim of
- by trying to win your adversary's friendship and understanding.
- by speaking the truth in love relentlessly, (without half-truth,
lie, or exaggeration), trying to persuade your adversary on the basis
of truth alone.
- by attacking the false idea, not the person who holds the idea.
- by believing that it is as much a moral obligation to refuse to
cooperate with evil as it is to cooperate with good.
- by insisting the means must be as pure as the end.
- by insisting on non-violence.
- by avoiding internal violence of the spirit (hate) as well as
- by accepting and absorbing suffering without retaliation.
- by not fearing death.
© 1998 Institute for First Amendment Studies, Inc.
- Recommit yourself to the non-violent soul force principles.
Before you take on any untruth seriously, review the "soul force"
principles. Recommit yourself and your allies to them. Sign a
- Research. Do not approach your opponent (the source of
untruth) or the media until you have a carefully documented case.
Details. Details. Details.
- Negotiate. Take your case directly to your adversary. Try
to settle the matter amicably, outside the public arena, but present
the truth in love relentlessly.
- Educate. If no reconciliation is reached, present your
carefully documented case to the public through the media. Be sure
everyone understands both the untruth and the truth involved. Continue
to negotiate with your adversary.
- Direct action/confrontation. If your adversary refuses to
see the truth, escalate the conflict through direct non-violent
action. Present the truth in love relentlessly.
- Reconciliation. Your goal is to bring your adversary to an
understanding of the truth and create a world where you and your
adversary can live in peace.