Equality Ride: Begins Tomorrow!

9 03 2006


The SoulForce-sponsored Equality Ride launches its 7-week bus tour attacking 19 Christian colleges and universities for having stances against sexual relations outside of [legal] marriage.

I posted the schedule earlier in February. My alma mater, Lee University is the third stop on the tour, March 16 – 17.

The 35 riders will travel for one or two day stops at 19 top Christian schools. They have requested a forum such as a chapel, assembly, or lecture hall to express their opinions.

According to an interview with a Lee faculty member, who has requested to remain anonymous, the riders were offered a debate forum, which they politely turned down. So, I presume that if the Equality Rider’s can’t have a soap box, then they’ll employ a “take it to the streets” approach.

Response has varied to the request at each school. Liberty University’s current stance is to not allow the riders access at all. Lee’s approach is to allow them free access to campus, but will not provide any type of forum.

Jacob Reitan, Co-Director of the SoulForce Equality Ride (pictured above) had this to say:

“For centuries the Bible has been used to condemn and exclude. In the past it has been used to wrongly discriminate against people of color, those of other faiths, and women. Today, it is gay and lesbian people who are the victims of biblical misuse –‘the other’.”

Portraying GLBT people as a “minority” who are “discriminated” against is erroneous.

The following video is Rodney Powell. He is a gay Black American. He portrays these young people as victims and compares “gay suffering” to “black suffering,” and says that many black Americans would probably endorse that suffering.

Why do GLBT people take the “peaceful victim” approach, especially Christian GLBT? Because the Bible says nothing explicitly positive” about homosexuality, and what it does say is almost exclusively negative or critical.

The Bible does not often explicitly address slavery, either, or the propriety of women in leadership. We rightly condemn slavery today because we see that the biblical teachings about justice, love, and human dignity provide a trajectory consistent with the condemnation of slavery. In a similar way, the trajectories of biblical teaching suggest that we should accept gays and lesbians as equal partners in the church.

Most people would fall into one of these two opinions on this issue:

  1. Religious liberals promote homosexual ordinations, same-sex marriage, civil union ceremonies in the church, equal protection under hate-crime legislation, protection against discrimination in employment, etc. as fundamental human rights issues.
  2. Religious conservatives feel that the Bible teaches that homosexual behavior is always a sin. Allowing sexually active gays and lesbians to be ordained, or to have their committed relationships recognized by the church would involve a drastic and unacceptable lowering of church standards. The church would be condoning sin. They also oppose including sexual orientation in hate-crime and anti-discrimination legislation.

From these two opinions, it is not hard to see how there is not much room for improvement. The two are on completely separate plains of speech.

I do not feel as though Equality Riders present any danger or come to protest in violence. But there is an agenda. They would not settle for debate. They desire to promote their view alone, which is basically against these schools denying access or expelling college students because of their sexual orientation.

Rev. Dr. Mel White, a former husband, father, and Fuller Seminary professor, who one day decided God was ok with his homosexuality, left his family and founded SoulForce. He has written a short commentary containing his opinion of what the Bible says and doesn’t say about homosexuality.

In it, White presents eight premises for homosexuality. Seven of the eight are his rankings of the top Bible verses usually used to show where homosexuality is wrong. Premise eight deals with civil rights and while we learn to love one another, no one should be denied these rights.

Dr. White’s defense of sin in the first seven premises have no bearing on rights if they are deceitful or completely off-base. Again, both points of view are originating from two different sources and will undoubtedly make for an interesting ride.

I look forward to reaching out in love and meeting some new friends as the Equality Riders come to Cleveland. I welcome them with open arms in the hopes that I can at least diffuse some of the stereotypical violent reactions from Christians.

Linked with: Argghhh!, Don Surber, Freedom Watch, Is It Just Me?, Right Wing Nation, TMH’s Bacon Bits, A Quiet Noise

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