Title page for ETD etd-07292008-012620

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Null, Matthew Todd
Author's Email Address mtnull@vt.edu
URN etd-07292008-012620
Title Capturing the Chimera: Ideology and Persuasion in the Rhetoric of Soulforce
Degree Master of Arts
Department Communication Studies
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Waggenspack, Beth M. Committee Chair
Sewell, Edward H. Jr. Committee Member
Tedesco, John C. Committee Member
  • Gay Rights
  • Social Movements
  • Religious Right
  • Mel White
  • Soulforce
  • Christianity
  • Rhetoric
  • Ideology
  • Ideograph
Date of Defense 2008-05-08
Availability unrestricted
Capturing the Chimera: Ideology and Persuasion in the Rhetoric of Soulforce

Matthew Todd Null


For more than half a century, gay rights organizations have sought cultural and political equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals in society. The organization Soulforce continues that legacy, but from a distinctive perspective. Soulforce, has positioned itself in a unique playing field by speaking directly to religious leaders and organizations in attempt to alter their ideological underpinnings and subsequently garner their support for LGBT individuals. This level of persuasion is particularly difficult due to the fact that religious ideology is so strongly held and protected in American society.

To evaluate the persuasive rhetoric of Soulforce, I conducted an ideological criticism of the documents published within the Soulforce website based on the foundation of McGee’s ideograph. The ideographs presented throughout the discourse coalesce to form the overarching ideology of Soulforce evidenced in the discourse. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals experience unwarranted <suffering>, <injustice> and <discrimination> as a direct result of the <untruth> promoted by the religious institutions of America. This <untruth> is the consequence of Biblical misinterpretation coupled with the misunderstanding of modern scientific research resulting in fear and hate that subsequently cultivate <violence> and <suffering>. Only by directly confronting <untruth> with <truth> and exchanging <suffering> with <voluntary suffering> can the LGBT community educate the misinformed thereby delivering their own <justice>, <equality> and full acceptance within society.

  Filename       Size       Approximate Download Time (Hours:Minutes:Seconds) 
 28.8 Modem   56K Modem   ISDN (64 Kb)   ISDN (128 Kb)   Higher-speed Access 
  DedicationAndAcknowledgedments.pdf 33.37 Kb 00:00:09 00:00:04 00:00:04 00:00:02 < 00:00:01
  MastersThesisBody.pdf 541.35 Kb 00:02:30 00:01:17 00:01:07 00:00:33 00:00:02
  TitlePageAndAbstract.pdf 40.71 Kb 00:00:11 00:00:05 00:00:05 00:00:02 < 00:00:01

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