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Update on the Soulforce Equality Ride

“These wonderful students have done a great service by wiping away the stain of homophobia from our bus. Let’s hope they can go back to their school and wipe away the stain anti-gay discrimination that still goes on every day at Lee.”
Jacob Reitan, Equality Ride co-director, on the removal of the “Fags-Mobile” paint job from the Soulforce bus by Lee University students

Even the bigots can’t stop good people who are willing to come forward and start a dialogue about LGBT rights at the conservative religious schools on the 51-day Soulforvce Equality Ride. (Soulforce):

On Friday evening several Lee students gathered to clean the Equality Ride bus, vandalized with spray paint the night before. When they were finished, the words “Fags-Mobile” were erased, leaving the original message “Learn from history. End religion based discrimination”.

…The Riders formed close relationships with several students who were closeted, had been expelled from Lee because of their sexual orientation, or who came out after graduation. Among them was Matthew, a student who was expelled from Lee after administrators found a posting on MySpace.com that indicated his sexual orientation as gay. “I was planning to stay in the background during the Equality Ride visit,” said Matthew, who preferred that his last name not be used because he has not yet come out to his family. “But I have told my story to so many people in the last two days – students, professors, administrators. I never would have done that if it wasn’t for the Equality Ride.” Matthew added, “I woke up this morning, and it just felt like a new day.”


The Hands of Jesus, welcoming visitors to Oral Roberts U.

Also in the Equality Ride news, today’s stop at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, OK, resulted in more arrests, as the riders were barred from campus. (365gay):

The university created by televangelist Oral Roberts will not enroll openly gay students and students already enrolled that are found to be gay can be expelled.

All students are required to sign an honor code that says, “I will not engage in or attempt to engage in any illicit, unscriptural Sexual Acts, which shall include … any homosexual activity.”

One by one members of the Soulforce crossed the street. As they reached the gate to the school they were warned by ORU public safety director Gerald Isaacs that if they tried to enter the campus they would be arrested for trespassing.

About seven of the riders kept on walking were arrested by Tulsa police.

The riders will be at ORU tomorrow, and then will head over to Oklahoma Baptist University in Shawnee. This school not only used to ban LGBT students, but also straight allies of queer folks. That policy was lifted last year, and now only the out homos get kicked out.

Related:
* The Equality Ride Route
* Falwell’s legal bootlicker: Equality Riders are ‘militant gay activists’
* Soulforce gets the ‘Christian’ welcome in Tennessee
* AFA’s Don Wildmon on the Equality RIde
* Update on Soulforce Equality Ride – Liberty and Regent stops
* Crazy Pat wants Soulforce Equality Riders arrested
* Falwell calls the fuzz on Soulforce

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding