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Equality Ride is for all of our human rights
March 23, 2007 12:17 PM   Subscribe

Soulforce Equality Ride! Soulforce, a nationwide organization working to end religious discrimination of gays and lesbians are in the middle of their second annual Equality Ride to raise awareness of Christian colleges and universities that discriminate against queer students. GLBTQ students are discriminated against everywhere. The Riders have been met with both open arms and anger. The Reverend Mel White, who runs Soul Force, ghost wrote Billy Graham's and Jerry Falwell's autobiographies and worships at Falwell's church in Lynchburg, VA in silent protest. Previously.
posted by parmanparman (51 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
On the one hand, I totally support ending discrimination against gays. OTOH, I do NOT support increasing the number of people under the sway of magical thinking. Is there a "LocalCommunityCenterForce" or "BookClubForce" organization I could contribute to instead?
posted by DU at 12:33 PM on March 23, 2007


Hmmm, DU, I'll look into that. Perhaps there is a GettingScrewedByADomainRegistrantForce that we could find for you to donate to.
posted by parmanparman at 12:37 PM on March 23, 2007


or a ChalkBoardSchmaltzForce
posted by parmanparman at 12:38 PM on March 23, 2007


Well, I'm not GLBT (NOT THAT THERE'S ANYTHING WRONG WITH THAT), but I appreciate your thoughts in my time of need.
posted by DU at 12:38 PM on March 23, 2007


how about SchmuckForce, you could join that.
posted by parmanparman at 12:44 PM on March 23, 2007


I first heard about this when they visited my alma mater (here). Glad my old school provided a good experience for them after all the hassle they have received in other places.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 12:49 PM on March 23, 2007


They're doing great good. I helped sponsor someone last time.
posted by amberglow at 1:12 PM on March 23, 2007


Not that a college should be allowed to let bad things happen to gay students and turn a blind eye...but as far as discrimination goes (at large):

What's wrong if a university wants to teach / encourage / foster a heterosexual lifestyle / point-of-view? For that matter, what's wrong if they want to say that a homosexual mentality is wrong (or evil, or a sin, or whatever they want to call it?).

I'm not going to get bent out of shape and start a bike-a-thon if I find out that there are GLBT universities out there preaching a homo lifestyle and condemning the hetero. Why shouldn't they if that's what they believe? People should be able to preach/teach/learn/practice whatever they want.

I really don't get it.

and Mel White can preach it all he wants, the simple fact of the matter is that homosexuality is a practice that is clearly defined as an affront to the law laid out in the Bible, which Christianity is based upon. The two mix about as well as a Red Sox fan and the Bronx. Hopefully Christians can remain open and loving to homosexuals, but they can't accept their lifestyle as if nothing were wrong with it and maintain their integrity at the same time.
posted by allkindsoftime at 1:14 PM on March 23, 2007


Hopefully Christians can remain open and loving to homosexuals, but they can't accept their lifestyle as if nothing were wrong with it and maintain their integrity at the same time.

That's quite right.

It's a Good thing Christians still manage to abstain from shellfish, keep their menstruating wives and girlfriends locked away from the public, and keep slaves.

Personal integrity is obviously an important part of the Christian lifestyle.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:20 PM on March 23, 2007 [4 favorites]


I'm not going to get bent out of shape and start a bike-a-thon if I find out that there are GLBT universities out there preaching a homo lifestyle and condemning the hetero.

Nice strawmanuniversity.
posted by maryh at 1:29 PM on March 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


the simple fact of the matter is that homosexuality is a practice that is clearly defined as an affront to the law laid out in the Bible, which Christianity is based upon.

That's neither simple nor clearly a fact. The Bible has very little to say about homosexuality, and the New Testament supersedes the Old Testament within Roman Catholicism.
posted by me & my monkey at 1:32 PM on March 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


the simple fact of the matter is that homosexuality is a practice that is clearly defined as an affront to the law laid out in the Bible, which Christianity is based upon. The two mix about as well as a Red Sox fan and the Bronx. Hopefully Christians can remain open and loving to homosexuals, but they can't accept their lifestyle as if nothing were wrong with it and maintain their integrity at the same time

One could tell you all of the things wrong, rationally speaking, with that statement, but surely you've heard them all before and discounted them because of the truth of your "faith." Suffice it say, unless you've got a good answer to the question that Blazecock Pileon posed (i.e., why believe in only SOME of the crazy shit in your Bible, but not all of it), then nobody is going to take anything you say seriously. I know, I know, critical thinking is hard, but not nearly as hard as the logical gymnastics it takes to square why only some on the nonsense in the Bible is God's true word and the rest is, like, whatever, not that important, because God, like, made a new covenant. For some stuff.

Anyway, that comment is pretty much proof positive why this organization has a lot of work to do.
posted by billysumday at 1:33 PM on March 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


As long as the schools aren't receiving government money, I don't see what the issue is. They are conservative and religious and it makes sense that if they have any grounding whatsoever in the bible that they will enforce their moral code.

It may not be ideal, but it's a moral issue, at least to them. We can get into theological debates to Kingdom come (pun intended), but I seriously doubt people will be converted to a worldview that they don't want to hold. It also feeds into persecution fantasies that some (keyword = some) devout Christians have (after all, Christianity is a religion that thrives on persecution historically).

Nothing wrong with raising awareness of course, but it is a fair assumption to think that theologically conservative schools will not adhere to what they see as immoral.
posted by Gnostic Novelist at 1:40 PM on March 23, 2007


is a practice that is clearly defined as an affront to the law laid out in the Bible

Are you basing this conclusion on your modern English transaltion of the KJB, or are you going back as far as you can and finding someone who can relate to you the original oral Aramaic in social and environmental context?

I'm betting on the former -- but good luck on the latter.
posted by thanotopsis at 1:43 PM on March 23, 2007


They were just in town yesterday - several were arrested at Mississippi College.

Click to read the article.
posted by fijiwriter at 1:46 PM on March 23, 2007


As long as the schools aren't receiving government money, I don't see what the issue is. They are conservative and religious and it makes sense that if they have any grounding whatsoever in the bible that they will enforce their moral code.

They're almost certainly receiving govt. money--I don't know of any accredited colleges that don't.
posted by amberglow at 1:55 PM on March 23, 2007


GLBTQ

They left out asexuals. What a circus of hate this acronym has become!
posted by hoverboards don't work on water at 1:58 PM on March 23, 2007


Hmm. I didn't notice that. Q=queer? Is that distinct from the G, L, B, or T?
posted by SBMike at 2:02 PM on March 23, 2007


I'm not going to get bent out of shape and start a bike-a-thon if I find out that there are GLBT universities out there preaching a homo lifestyle and condemning the hetero. Why shouldn't they if that's what they believe? People should be able to preach/teach/learn/practice whatever they want.

I really don't get it.


One group wishes equality; quite simple actually.

What groups want is equality - to be allowed to hold jobs, experience live, enjoy the fruits of society no different if they are white/black/girl/boy/straight/bent/gay/bi etc.

Is Title IX difficult to understand? How about the 15th and 19th amendments to the United States Constitution? I don't see much difference in what groups would like to achieve.

If Bob Jones University wants to act accordingly within their walls and they are not taking any monies from Federal or State, I presume they could do want they wanted. Except of course I think keeping slaves would be frowned upon but then again it only took the US about 100 years to figure that one out - I am pretty sure the bible was used to condone that little event as well.

I have a brother who can't marry, or as I would push for a civil union. Stop with trying to change the church, but civil unions should be the law of the land and religion should not figure into it. As far as the Bob Jones University's of the world - they are today's KKK and I really don't get them.
posted by fluffycreature at 2:03 PM on March 23, 2007


Allkindsoftime: you are obviously mentioning Romans when you state: homosexuality is a practice that is clearly defined as an affront to the law laid out in the Bible.

Paul's thesis statement for his letter oteh Romans comes in Romans 1, verse 16: "For I am not ashamed of the Gospel; it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith, to the Jew first and also the Greek." The very next sentence states that thesis in another way: "The one who is righteous will live by faith" (Rom. 1:17). No one is excluded from the possibility of receiving God's salvation. The gospel that Paul is proclaiming in Romans does not center of the issue of sexuailty. A careful look at the text, using the best methods of biblical interpretation, will reveal that Paul is making a statement on idolatry. It focuses on the universality of sin and the free grace of salvation through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. That is the essence of the Christian message.
posted by parmanparman at 2:10 PM on March 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


As far as the Bob Jones University's of the world - they are today's KKK and I really don't get them.

That is a little bit much: they aren't killing, raping, pillaging etc. The KKK is the KKK. BJU is just very conservative in its outlook. Nothing wrong with that, of course this is America and many people don't know the meaning of "I won't use the government to oppress you if you do the same."

That is what is so annoying about the issue, it is all one big power struggle to use the government to enforce one's views. Gays just happen to be getting the brunt of the current fad, but the tide is turning, just not fast enough.

Is Bob Jones even an accredited school? Seems like the Christian version of a Madrasah.
posted by Gnostic Novelist at 2:15 PM on March 23, 2007


That is a little bit much: they aren't killing, raping, pillaging etc.

True, true, my point was to say they used the bible to their purposes, and they represent what I don't agree with...

And yes they are accredited.
posted by fluffycreature at 2:19 PM on March 23, 2007


BJU is just very conservative in its outlook. Nothing wrong with that, of course this is America and many people don't know the meaning of "I won't use the government to oppress you if you do the same."

Except that a number of Constitution Party candidates come from BJU, and members of the Constitution Party are all about using government to oppress anyone who doesn't conform to their views. This includes capital punishment for violating certain parts of the Old Testament, including administering the death penalty to homosexuals.

I'm fairly libertarian when it comes to political views, even if I might object strenuously to views I don't agree with. But it needs to be said that a lot of the more cunning graduates of BJU go on to positions of social and political power as fundamentalist proto-facists.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:23 PM on March 23, 2007


Or proto-fascists, even.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:29 PM on March 23, 2007


Except that a number of Constitution Party candidates come from BJU, and members of the Constitution Party are all about using government to oppress anyone who doesn't conform to their views.

I agree. I think the CP is the most ironically named third party out there.

But it needs to be said that a lot of the more cunning graduates of BJU go on to positions of social and political power as fundamentalist proto-facists.

I wonder if this can be said of all non-libertarian or non-small government ideologies. If you take away the religion, they remind me of the left when it had power. It's a cycle in America: beat up on a minority (businessmen, homosexuals, Asians, Blacks, Etc) and the unthinking masses will go along with it and treat their epochal views as axiomatic. What is odd about 2007 is liberals and religious conservatives are doing it at the same time with influence, but with extremely divergent viewpoints. Neither one is willing to let consenting adults go about their business, and America is all the worse for it.

I don't think a politician can get elected on such a platform. Many americans want the government out of their business, but it wants government in the business of others.
posted by Gnostic Novelist at 2:38 PM on March 23, 2007


There are students at these schools who are going thru their own realizations that they're gay or lesbian. They're in these horribly hostile environments, and SoulForce has really helped them, perhaps most of all.

Read the Letters From The Closet
posted by amberglow at 2:43 PM on March 23, 2007


from a current student at Liberty University--I am currently a junior at Liberty University. I am also gay. No one knows. I don't know if I will ever be able to tell anyone. I know if my family found out they would disown me and defiantly not help me pay for college. I have heard stories about someone at Liberty finding out another student was gay and the school telling the person's parents. That scares me to death. If anyone at school found out I would loose all my friends. I'm sure someone would tell on me. I go to school here because it is the only school my parents will pay for. ...
posted by amberglow at 2:45 PM on March 23, 2007


beat up on a minority (businessmen...

When have business interests ever not been in power? I'm not so sure I would call them a minority.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:06 PM on March 23, 2007


When have business interests ever not been in power? I'm not so sure I would call them a minority.

Big business is always a supporter or lackey of the state (politicians move from big business to government and vice versa). The average/small businessman has often been on the receiving end of anger manifesting as policy that is supposedly directed at big business. The small businessman hasn't had influence in a long time, probably over a century, certainly not post-FDR. Big government serves the interest of big business (regulations that close the market to competition) and at the same time juggles the interest of its constituency. In America, since over 95% of the country votes either Democrat or Republican, politicians can juggle each without much fear arising from their contradictions.

There is a reason many of the extremely wealthy/corporate lackeys aren't libertarians or small government conservatives, the government serves them well. Halliburton being the prime example.
posted by Gnostic Novelist at 3:15 PM on March 23, 2007


I believe the Q stands for questioning. Recruiting asexuals would help an awful lot, vowel-wise. Undecideds and Omnisexuals should be represented too; QUATBLOG is hip, 2.0, and pronouncable!
posted by hoverboards don't work on water at 3:22 PM on March 23, 2007


"the simple fact of the matter is"
After about 30 years of a very loud and raucous debate about what the bible says about sexual orientation, complete with assaults and murders, I think we can all agree that the fact of the matter is not "simple".
posted by 2sheets at 3:34 PM on March 23, 2007


They're doing great good.

But are they doing it well? I think I first heard of SoulForce about seven years ago, so they should have a track record now we can consider. But I don't see much in a quick skim of the web. What exactly have they accomplished so far?
posted by scottreynen at 4:33 PM on March 23, 2007


But are they doing it well?
I think so. Those letters from students are enough for me. I can't imagine how horrible it must be to be at one of those schools. And for every arrest and fight you hear about, there are also multiple and varied contacts and progress made, student-to-student. It's education, especially for sheltered home-schooled kids.
posted by amberglow at 5:09 PM on March 23, 2007


It's pretty clear that kids whose parents would only let them go to Liberty haven't met many if any out gay people in real life.
posted by amberglow at 5:11 PM on March 23, 2007


It's pretty clear that kids whose parents would only let them go to Liberty haven't met many if any out gay people in real life.

Or maybe they just disagree with homosexuality. A somewhat valid comparison would be those parents who grew up knowing drug users, but didn't endorse such behavior for their kids. Yes drug use is nothing if not a natural human behavior, but those with a moral opposition to it resemble those with a moral opposition to homosexuality.

It's behavior they are against, not the actual homosexuality (at least in most cases)
posted by Gnostic Novelist at 5:20 PM on March 23, 2007


first, it's really wrong to compare it to drug use--incredibly so. second, as the letters on the site show, most of the kids did not know gay people and had only ever heard horrible things about it, which made some of them hate themselves. That doesn't happen when you know gay people as individuals. It's right there in their own words--please read the letters.
posted by amberglow at 6:13 PM on March 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


also, they do disagree with homosexuality--that's clear. that wasn't my point, but it helps prove it. The vast majority of religious people who are against homosexuality do not associate with out gay people, unless those people are trying to change themselves. It's far more likely that these parents and kids only knew closetcases (a la Haggard) or people trying to do the "ex-gay" bs.
posted by amberglow at 6:20 PM on March 23, 2007


first, it's really wrong to compare it to drug use--incredibly so

Keep in mind, I agree with you on the assessment. I don't care if people are gay or straight. I'm saying that religious people, even if they associate with homosexuals or not, often oppose it on religious grounds. My point was to illustrate that it isn't about "knowing" so much as "opposing". Some of these people even go so far as to disown their own children (now that is harsh).

Haggard was a hypocrite. We all have our hypocrisies, but he was a powerful figure that had closet desires.

I'm just saying, most people religious or not, tend to have beliefs and then create reasons/excuses for those beliefs, and not the other way around. Maybe I am just cynical, but if you take the Bible away from these people, they would just find another reason to justify their beliefs. In the past two weeks, I've even heard a debate on the morality of genetically engineering homosexual children to be heterosexual; so much for "nature". We humans are odd creatures.
posted by Gnostic Novelist at 6:29 PM on March 23, 2007


We're not even talking about regular religious people here--we're talking about those who either send their kids specifically to these schools, or bring up their kids to want to go to these schools. It's not a population of otherwise normal people who just don't like gays. Some of these kids have already tried to kill themselves. Some of these kids didn't have a choice in colleges. Some of these kids have not been exposed to any kind of real or normal view of others and difference, gays included--and they themselves are gay, and hate themselves. That's reinforced by the overt bigotry and demonization at these colleges.

If that genetic alteration had been available when these college kids were born, the Baptist parents would have without a doubt used it.
posted by amberglow at 6:35 PM on March 23, 2007


If that genetic alteration had been available when these college kids were born, the Baptist parents would have without a doubt used it.

I agree with this.

Also, I wonder if we can technically refer to them as kids, from what I know, I think most college students are 18-22. The word 'kids' does bring up something though. I think they might be a little more attached to the sub-culture of arch-religious conservatism and hence unable to break with it (since they have know nothing else) and this contributes to their pain. I am not sure how to alleviate this, because close minded parents are the same the world over: unwilling to change (although there are always the parents who change their views only because it is their kid that is gay).

All in all, it would be easier if people would just get used to the fact that people are different, but so many refuse to. I don't know if debate changes many, but if it changes a few it is worth it.
posted by Gnostic Novelist at 6:59 PM on March 23, 2007


These schools and colleges are America's version of madrassa and kibbutzim.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:07 PM on March 23, 2007


I think they might be a little more attached to the sub-culture of arch-religious conservatism and hence unable to break with it (since they have know nothing else) and this contributes to their pain.

That's all i meant : >

That's i see such good in these rides--if nothing else, it shows these kids that the world is out there and real (nice) people are gay and lesbian too, and that it's ok. I think it has enormous value for that reason.
posted by amberglow at 7:10 PM on March 23, 2007


(oop--That's why i see such good....)
posted by amberglow at 7:11 PM on March 23, 2007


My best friend's boyfriend is one of the riders that got arrested at Missisippi College. He's quoted in the article that fijiwriter linked.

I sometimes forget (living in Massachusetts) how difficult it can be for the GLBT community in other parts of the country. It's not necessarily a cakewalk in MA, but at least my friends don't get arrested for being on the wrong patch of grass.
posted by nekton at 6:20 PM on March 24, 2007


is he ok, nekton?

tell your friend to tell his boyfriend that we're proud of him : >
posted by amberglow at 8:20 PM on March 24, 2007


Hopefully Christians can remain open and loving to homosexuals, but they can't accept their lifestyle as if nothing were wrong with it and maintain their integrity at the same time.

They can't, eh? Watch me.
posted by pax digita at 4:36 AM on March 26, 2007


They're making a stop at the Christian college I used to attend. For the first time since I left, I wish I was back, just to be a part of all the excitement. I've e-mailed a professor I know there to ask what the administration is planning to do.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 3:58 PM on March 26, 2007 [1 favorite]


Very interesting related thing--an interview with a former AFA columnist: ... Those on the Christian right, for whatever reasons, have become fixated on homosexuality. They are obsessed by it and perverse form of vengeance appears to be fueling their inquisition. I may be wrong, but I think actions are speaking much louder than words here.

The whole gay issue is no longer about the quest for the Truth; it is about fear and loathing. It is about shame and sorrow. It is anything but Christian. ...

posted by amberglow at 8:44 PM on March 27, 2007


Let us know what they say, Pink.
posted by amberglow at 8:44 PM on March 27, 2007


Video of their stop at the offices of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President, Dr. Albert Mohler the other day.
posted by amberglow at 9:04 PM on March 27, 2007


...After I was released our bus, which has “Social Justice for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender People” written boldly on it, was stopped twice in five minutes by the Clinton, MS police. We were told to get out of town....
posted by amberglow at 3:33 PM on March 29, 2007


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