Patrick Henry College
The Soulforce Equality Ride to Patrick Henry College came and went Thursday, with generally peaceful co-existence between the protestors and the PHC campus. The bus carrying approximately 40 Soulforce riders arrived on the outskirts of campus as promised, at 10 a.m., and took up their positions just across the College’s property line bordering State Highway 287. The group held a short press conference at 10:35 a.m.
Members of the Purcellville police, Loudoun County Sherriff’s Office, and the State Patrol, stood vigil throughout the afternoon. At approximately 11 a.m., while singing songs, and after reciting the Lord’s Prayer, Soulforce sent two of its members across the PHC property line, where they were arrested without incident. The two were processed at the Adult Detention Center of the Loudoun County Sherriff’s office, and were seen back on the protest line by afternoon’s end. There appeared to be minimal interaction between the protesters and PHC students, who attended classes all day as normal.
|Soulforce demonstrators stand vigil outside PHC campus|
“It went very well,” said PHC Security Guard Tim Iversen, one of several PHC students assisting with campus security throughout the day. “There were no shouting displays of belligerence on anyone’s part, and, all in all, the day passed quite calmly from our perspective.”
At noon, members of the press, which included the Washington Post, Washington Times, CNN, and members of the local press and radio, attended a press conference in Founders Hall, featuring PHC Chancellor Michael Farris. Dr. Farris issued an opening statement (see statement below), and then fielded questions from reporters for the next 20 minutes. Following the press conference most of the media departed the campus.
Members of Soulforce Equality Ride, what were believed to be some representatives of Equality Loudoun, and perhaps a few private citizens held the line near the front entrance of the College until 4 p.m., weathering two cloudbursts. Then they crossed the highway and departed on the bus in which they arrived. The group numbered between 30 and approximately 50 protesters throughout the day, except when they broke for lunch shortly after noon.
“I’m thrilled that it seems to be over,” said Earl Hall, PHC Vice President for Campus Administration, watching as the last of the protesters crossed over to their awaiting bus. “From a security standpoint, it was fairly low-key throughout the day.”
The Patrick Henry College administration wishes to thank the entire student body, faculty, staff, including the staff at HSLDA, for their prayers, support, and cooperation throughout the day. We thank the Purcellville Police Department, the Loudoun County Sherriff's Department, and the Virginia State Patrol for their work on the College's behalf. We also thank the residents of Purcellville for their patience, and PHC parents and supporters throughout the nation who have been praying for us these recent days. Most of all, we praise the Lord for His sovereign, guiding hand of peace and order that ruled over the day.
Mike Farris’s Statement to the Press
By Michael P. Farris, Chancellor
|Chancellor Michael Farris addresses media gathered for Soulforce protest|
It would be a fair question to ask today’s protestors: what has Patrick Henry College done to bring you here today?
There is only one answer to that question that occurs to me. We have said that homosexual behavior is immoral. There are two conclusions that can be drawn from this fact. First, the objective of this group is not dialogue, but to silence our voice.
The second conclusion that we can derive comes in response to a follow-up question: Why should they care that we say that homosexual behavior is immoral?
The reason they care is because our voice coincides with their God-given conscience. Their ultimate objective is not to drown out our voice in the public square—although they wish to do that as well. Their ultimate objective is to drown out the voice of God in their own hearts.
They cannot silence us without a fatal blow to the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. However, there are no circumstances under which they can silence the voice of their God-given conscience.