Grace Under Pressure

Worlds away from writing speeches for Jerry Falwell, out Soulforce director and reformed evangelical Mel White joins forces with screenwriter son Mike (School of Rock) for The Amazing Race.

BY Dan Avery

February 10 2009 1:00 AM ET

If only we'd had that kind of team working against
Prop 8.
Boy, ain’t that the truth. I
haven’t had a secretary in 15 years --
Soulforce has no money and no staff. I was on a White Party
cruise recently with 37 gay men. I thought,
“How many of these guys give to HRC or any
other group?” If the gay community could organize
like [The Amazing Race], we’d change the
world. But no, we don’t think it’s worth
it.

You’re obviously an expert on the fundamentalist
movement. With the Obama election, and holy rollers like
Falwell leaving the stage, are the evangelicals
less of a threat now?
I wouldn’t say that. The megachurch
pastors like Rick Warren are just as bad as Falwell
was. They’re worse, in fact, because they’re
so… slick. They couch their message carefully,
and say they want gays to come to their church. With
Falwell and those guys, you knew where you stood. I
think today fundamentalism is like a rattlesnake
that’s lost its rattle: There’s no
warning.

Did Obama betray the gays by choosing Warren for
the inauguration, or was the issue blown out of proportion?
When they put Warren on, we assaulted Obama with
letters. He represents homophobia in its worst form.
When we heard Bishop Robinson was chosen, we started
shifting our approach. I have to live with Rick Warren and
allow him to be as free and expressive as I am. But I can
protest like hell. I won’t hold a grudge, but
Ill remind him when he goes astray.

What’s scarier -- running through a third world
country with no money or going on an Equality Ride to
Liberty University?
To be surrounded by fundamentalists is much
scarier than being surrounded by pygmy warriors or
whomever. The fundamentalists are so blind, so
dogmatic. I have to have police guards at universities. I
had 40 Baptist clergy marching into a classroom
demanding they must be heard. They just lose their
cool completely.

The Amazing Race
14 premieres on February 15 at 8 p.m. on CBS. For
more details, visit CBS.com.

Tags: television

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