Organizers of the Soulforce Equality Ride, a traveling group of homosexual activists, have announced they will target the campus of Patrick Henry College on April 12, in an attempt to enter the campus to engage students in uninvited dialogue about sex, sexual orientation, and gender. The leadership of Patrick Henry College has informed the group it is not welcome and will not be allowed on campus.
This group professes to model itself after the civil rights crusades of the 1950s and 1960s, using techniques of political theater (i.e. civil rights imagery, symbolism, and language), while traveling the country in buses. The group’s true goals, however, as documented in its own literature, website, and press coverage, is to demand that Christian campus cease voicing their biblical convictions regarding homosexuality and abandon their rules on the subject.
“In the context of American higher education, Patrick Henry College is a rare, dissenting voice saying that homosexuality is wrong,” said PHC Chancellor Michael Farris. “This is nothing less than a systematic effort by the homosexual movement to shut down that dissenting voice, to silence those who would reserve the right to call homosexuality what it is—immoral. Neutralizing Christian colleges’ freedom of speech to uphold biblical convictions on sexual morality is a fundamental battlefront in the culture war, with Soulforce's ultimate aim to achieve blanket cultural and governmental sanction for homosexuality. Patrick Henry College is resolved to hold the line against their invasive coercion.”
Uninvited, often trespassing illegally, the group imposes itself on to Christian campuses in hopes of engaging students in suggestive discussions about sex. By their own admission, organizers hope to indoctrinate young Christians to notions that God’s Word is supportive of the “gay” lifestyle, or that it remains morally mute on a subject about which the Bible actually has much to say, on behaviors it explicitly labels sin.
An alternative was proposed by PHC: in lieu of Soulforce’s visit to campus, the College offered in good faith to send PHC students to a neutral venue to debate Soulforce on the merits of the proposed Federal Marriage Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Soulforce rejected the invitation, reinforcing PHC’s position that Soulforce can claim no legitimate desire for intellectually responsible dialogue but, rather, wants to entangle its targets in a manipulative form of political theater.
Soulforce’s mission directly opposes the College’s biblical convictions and policies on sexuality and sexual morality. Since the leadership of PHC does not condone these activities, or believe that appropriate dialogue can occur under the conditions of Soulforce’s uninvited visit, the College has courteously informed Soulforce that they will not be allowed on to the PHC campus. Local law enforcement has been alerted in case they attempt to do so.
Patrick Henry College is committed to teaching and exposing its students to the full range of ideas—good and bad -- in an environment that fosters genuine learning and dialogue. Preceding Soulforce’s visit, for example, PHC hosts an April 11th debate between John Rankin, founder and President of the Theological Education Institute and Barry Lynn, Director of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, on the question of “What is the Nature of Separation Between Church and State?” Clearly, PHC believes in, and encourages, robust, constructive dialogue with those with whom we disagree. We do not, however, submit to coercion.
In its third year, the Soulforce Equality Ride has generated ample coverage of tactics it uses to infiltrate colleges like Notre Dame, Liberty University, Regent University, Oklahoma Baptist University, and many others. They can involve trespassing on to campuses, staging protests and waving signs (such as “We support the gay and lesbian students at Liberty University,”) and holding impromptu “worship services,” with activists quoting Scripture and singing Christian songs. If allowed, they have disrupted classes, libraries, and lunchrooms, and, in a growing number of cases, provoke police intervention and arrests.
In choosing not to welcome the Soulforce activists, the College takes its lead from Scripture. Throughout the New Testament (Acts 20; 1 Cor. 5; 2 Tim. 3, for example), believers are instructed to have nothing to do with self-described Christians (note: not ordinary unbelievers) who willfully reject the truth. The leadership at PHC takes this charge seriously.
Soulforce as an organization presents itself as religiously motivated and ecumenical in character. The organization’s founders, its key leaders and many of its activist members present themselves as being emphatically Christian. In their literature and throughout their website, they portray themselves as being more deeply committed to the Bible than others. By claiming the authority of Christ and the Scriptures in their advocacy, speaking in the name of Christ and the Bible what is directly contrary to Christ and the Bible, they fall into the category of false teachers. Providing a platform for false teaching on the PHC campus is unacceptable.
At Patrick Henry College, we believe that God wants us to express love to all persons. If, on April 12th, the students, faculty and staff of Patrick Henry College are engaged against their will by people forcibly entering the campus, they have been instructed to treat all persons with respect, kindness, and restraint. The leadership of PHC is resolved, however, to protect its students from tactics that are manipulative rhetorically, politically and, ultimately, spiritually.
For this reason, the College has chosen not to cooperate with Soulforce Equality Ride, an organization that rejects intellectually responsible dialogue, seeks to manipulate its targets, forces its views upon students and advances an activist agenda contrary to the truths laid out in Scripture.