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Soulforce Riders Arrested at Falwell Institution


Approximately 20 riders on the Soulforce Equality Bus ride were arrested today as they tried to enter the Liberty University campus, the first stop on a seven-week tour targeting 20 religious and military institutions that ban the enrollment of LGBT students.

Liberty University's founder, the Reverend Jerry Falwell, had warned the group that they would not be welcome on campus. Soulforce activist Jacob Reitan responded: "We want to come to the school today to say, 'learn from history.' We have a right to be here, because this school teaches that being gay is being sick and sinful. We have a right to question and to show how we are children of God."

Gay Activists Arrested at VA University [houston chronicle]

We Are Family [tr]

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  1. These students are embarrassingly deluded. What do they have to gain by going to these universities? Every student and faculty member knows exactly what the university is about before he decides to join it, and it is all voluntary.

    These "Equality" Riders clearly do not believe in equality, as they are more than willing to demonstrate their perceived superlative right to force their way onto someone else's property. They were justly arrested.

    Posted by: James | Mar 10, 2006 3:41:20 PM

  2. James, uh... okay.

    Posted by: Tread | Mar 10, 2006 4:05:11 PM

  3. can you say "rosa parks"...?

    Posted by: rich | Mar 10, 2006 4:09:08 PM

  4. James, the students at these universities might indeed be totally in favor of Falwell's brand of bigotry. Many of them, though, are placed there by their parents whether their beliefs concur or not. And even if they do think we're horrible and sinful, isn't it about time they are confronted with an opposing view? Isn't that what college is supposed to be about... the dissemination of truth based on the best available evidence without fear of reprisal? I see your point in a way, but maybe the Soulforce people have a point too. And frankly, knowing Mrs. Reitan, being arrested will just make her more determined.

    Posted by: Brian | Mar 10, 2006 4:16:45 PM

  5. James, what would Jesus do? Kudos to Soulforce and to the courageous young gays on the trip! Rosa, MLK, and Coretta are smiling down on your work!

    Posted by: Dave in Ohio | Mar 10, 2006 5:15:19 PM

  6. If these SoulForce riders reach one struggling kid at these colleges with the message of hope than it is a success.

    They may not get on campus but their story will reach the local newspapers that will be read by many on the college campus.

    Maybe just maybe some 20 year old gay boy waiting, wanting, needing to come out will find a way to contact SoulForce and reach out for help, love and support.

    These kids our the G & L freedom riders. I pray they are kept safe and out of harms way.

    Posted by: Donald | Mar 10, 2006 5:32:22 PM

  7. are not our sorry

    Posted by: Donald | Mar 10, 2006 5:35:09 PM

  8. Poor deluded James. I pray for you.

    Posted by: Chad Hanging | Mar 10, 2006 7:57:12 PM

  9. Brian: the gay students at these universities, whom you insinuate to be trapped, are adults. Nobody has a legal pull over their lives; they make conscious decisions on their own that remaining at a university clearly run by bigots is better than any other alternative. If these students are ever going to leave, they will decide independently of these self-proclaimed Equality Riders. I would like to see any data backing up the claim that there are a large number of gay students at these universities who are desperate to leave them, and can't, against their will. And no, Donald, I do not believe that giving one student "hope" justifies thirty people trecking around the US for six months.

    To reiterate, the Equality Riders have absolutely no right to trespass on another person/organization's property, no matter how evil the property owner is deemed to be.

    Rich: this has absolutely nothing in common with Rosa Parks' decision to keep her seat.

    Dave: I could not care less what Jesus would do.

    Tread and Chad: your posts are a complete waste of time. Why don't you just save your emotional reactions, since they are incomprehensible and impossible to comment on?

    Posted by: James | Mar 11, 2006 12:06:52 AM

  10. These "Soulforce" folks are missionaries, preaching love to the heathen natives. They're doing God's work.

    Posted by: hadassah weinreb | Mar 11, 2006 12:07:11 AM

  11. Sometimes James, when you give nothing substantive you get nothing substantive in return. When you decide to dedicate as much intelligence and insight into your comments as you expect in response then you’ll be on the playing field with everyone else. Until you can raise yourself to that level of discourse you’ll be treated as any other bitter, self-hating, unfortunately gay, internet-nutter. You've been given more attention than you deserved. Be thankful. The motives behind you're misguided apologist energy are transparent to everyone but you.

    If you're gonna play the role you should commit yourself to staying on all the wya through the final act. Otherwise you may be exposed as a hack.

    Posted by: Chad Hanging | Mar 11, 2006 12:33:57 AM

  12. Oh guys, James is just one of those Libertarian/Ayn Randian types. Its all about superficial big ideas. Everyone is to blame except for the actual persecutors.

    Posted by: Damon | Mar 11, 2006 3:00:34 AM

  13. Chad -

    James is, unfortunately, more than merely deluded. He is a deluded zealot who truly believes that self-hatred is the only path to Christ, and to salvation.

    Years ago, many mainline Protestant Christian denominations - evangelical contextualists - were undermined by a group of Dominionist Theocrats. These men - similar to those who hijacked the Republican party - are pre-millenialists intent on creating "Christian theocracies" .

    The Rev. Dr. Mel White established SOULFORCE for a different reason, and with a similar zealotry. Mel White is now a self-loving gay man. He now believes, as I do, that gay and Christian, are not mutually exclusive.

    More, in his self-hating days, Mel White was Jerry Falwell's the Baptist Karl Rove... The Southern Baptist Convention and seminaries were taken over by the Dominionists and proceded to remove all other voices from this and other denominations.

    If you want to learn more, may I suggest MA-based You will learn all you need to know about the religious wing of the neocon Right Wing. Another is

    As a Canadian, we support Soulforce with our loonies and with our prayers. Thirty years together is a force of prayer for us.
    With children as well, the mantra in our household was "A gay family that prays together, stays together". "Hey, it works"

    Posted by: Raymond | Mar 11, 2006 4:04:34 AM

  14. Yes, these Dominionist Theocrats are busy in Canada as well. The American theocrat is busy in our land, with Alberta or Hell-berta the gateway.

    They hijacked the Tories, and the Reform-to-Alliance-to-Conservative coup was complete. We now have a minority government under Stephen Harper.

    Harper uses the same rhetoric and strategy as his theocon handlers in the States. He says that he would, if he had the majority government he salivates for, would undo the marriage act - BUT ALLOW THOSE WHO WERE MARRIED TO RETAIN THEIR LICENCES. This canard is the same that the theocons are offering MASSACHUSETTS voters.

    The theocon believes that Satan is their opponent and that all lies and strategies are holy when seeking their right-eous world. They would merely remove the others incrementally.

    Incrementalism is the operative strategy of the Dominionist Theocrat. They have the zealotry and the patience to seek and attain their goals, piece by piece...facing an enfeebled American Left that is a " belief that dare not speak its name....Liberal is now a dirty word - a despised moniker that no one uses in the USA.

    Posted by: Raymond | Mar 11, 2006 5:24:22 AM

  15. I grew up in Lynchburg, VA and even worked in the mall adjacent to the Liberty University campus...while there in High School and when home during college breaks, I met many LU students and have to agree witt the saying that I heard all the time in Lynchburg..."Only two types of people go to Liberty, the ones who truly believe it is their religous calling, and those whose parents make them"...Many of the students at LU believe heavily in their religion and stay for the education, while those who do not want to be there have a tendency to screw up enough and break many of the outrageous rules to get kicked out...while they may legally be old enough to make thier own decisions, typically, mom and dad hold the purse strings those first few years after high school, so they really don't have much of a choice (until they are cut off for being thrown out of school) two cents...have a wonderful weekend...

    Posted by: Kelly | Mar 11, 2006 9:00:45 AM

  16. Kelly: students who stay at the these universities on their parents' cash, but who do not like what the universities have to offer, are exactly who I was referring to.

    I believe the phrase, "Beggars can't be choosers" applies perfectly. What are the Equality Riders going to do? Force the parents to pay for a different school?

    My point is, because these students are capable of making dicisions on their own, because they are not legally bound to their parents, the Equality Riders are wasting their time. If they were to pursue a quest such as this, it would be more beneficial to preach something like, "Grow up! Stop taking money from your parents if you hate listening to them!"

    Raymond: I do not believe in self-hatred, and I certainly do not believe in Christ.

    Damon: I would call your last statement superficial. You don't take into consideration a free civilization vs. a dictated one. If one person is not ruled by another, it is exactly his fault to remain in a situation against his liking. I also resent your notion that "big" ideas are superficial.

    Posted by: James | Mar 11, 2006 9:45:28 AM

  17. James -

    I apologise for implying that you were (still) a Christian. I think that Damon hit the nail on the head where you are concerned. Am I right, and are YOU Right? pun intended

    Ayn Rand
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Jump to: navigation, search
    Western Philosophy
    Contemporary philosophy,

    Ayn Rand: novelist and philosopher
    Name: Ayn Rand
    Birth: February 2, 1905
    Death: March 6, 1982
    School/tradition: Objectivist philosophy
    Main interests
    Objectivist metaphysics, Objectivist epistemology, Objectivist ethics, Objectivist politics
    Notable ideas

    Influences Influenced
    Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas, Nietzsche Leonard Peikoff, Harry Binswanger, John Ridpath, Tara Smith, David Kelley, Dr. Frank R. Wallace
    Ayn Rand (IPA: /ajn ɹænd/, February 2 [O.S. January 20] 1905 – March 6, 1982), born Alissa Zinovievna Rosenbaum, was best known for her philosophy of Objectivism and her novels We the Living, Anthem, The Fountainhead, and Atlas Shrugged. Her philosophy and her fiction both emphasize, above all, the concepts of individualism, rational egoism ("rational self-interest"), and capitalism, which she believed should be implemented fully via Laissez-faire capitalism. Her politics have been described as minarchism and libertarianism, though she never used the first term and detested the second.

    Her novels were based upon the projection of the Randian hero, a man whose ability and independence causes conflict with the masses, but who perseveres nevertheless to achieve his values. Rand viewed this hero as the ideal, and the express goal of her fiction was to showcase such heroes.

    She believed:

    That man must choose his values and actions by reason;
    That the individual has a right to exist for his own sake, neither sacrificing self to others nor others to self; and
    That no one has the right to seek values from others by physical force, or impose ideas on others by physical force.

    Posted by: Raymond | Mar 11, 2006 10:31:09 AM

  18. James is not arguing ideas, he's arguing James.

    Posted by: Chad Hanging | Mar 11, 2006 12:02:44 PM

  19. Very interesting debate. Thought it’s not really a debate. For good reason I might add. I don’t know James background but I do know that I was a student at Walla Walla College, a Seventh-day Adventist Christian college in Washington State that was not accepting of Gays and Lesbians. I lived the experience that Soul Force is working to stop. Kudos to Soul Force.

    James, you can not discount the simple notion of “means to an end”. As a student who really believed I had little choice of schools to go to at that time, I was in it to get to the end. I did leave after 2 years, but I was only able to do this when I realized there were options and support from non family members, like many of the supportive people who have been posting here. I realized school didn’t have to cost this much, I didn’t have to swallow bigotry as a normal response to things outside the box.

    James, you may not be a Christian, but that does not mean being one is wrong either. The importance of Christianity on young people’s lives going through the “system” of Christian schools from kinder garden on through sometimes college and sometimes through medical school or whatever can not be tossed aside under a power of choice comment that has little meaning and little value when you don’t think through what you are saying. For someone in this position, there is often no choice. It is all they may know. I admit this was the case for me.

    Were it not for a group of Seventh-day Adventist Gay and Lesbian people (Kinship), who knows where I might be today. One option at that time was suicide. If Soul Force can stop one person from self harm or even show one person that there is a better life and they don’t have to swallow bigotry as normal and acceptable, as far as I am concerned, they are as good as gold.

    You need to get over yourself and your anti Christian attitude as all it does for you is show that you are no better that the bigots that hate gays. Not everyone can walk away from the hand that feeds them as easily as you would make it sound. And until young people have enough support and ability to really make it on their own, away from what they have always known; they have little choice that can benefit them.

    I have a few questions for you James. These are going to take more thought than you have done thus far in this discussion. What are you doing to give these kids support and show them they have choices? What are you doing to help them reach their goals? Where will you be when they have walked away from their families, schools, history, and everything they have even known? Soul Force is out there showing them there is something different and something supportive. Why do you not support this?

    Posted by: Wes | Mar 12, 2006 11:29:49 AM

  20. We have discussed this basic strategy of the right wing several times. It is used in both camps, neo-conservative and/or theocrat and libertarian in both the USA and Canada.

    It is called incrementalism. You lie. You tell the enemy (LGBT community) that you are merely opposed to the word "marriage". You first legislate against this. You even indicate that current marriages on the books will not be removed. This is essential not to antagonise the parents and friends of those who already received justice.

    The next step is to remove all mirrored rights, from civil unions to registered domestic partnerships. The next step is to blackmail corporations who provide domestic partnership rights for corporate benefits given to heterosexual spouses. The current step is taken from the Europeans.

    Canada and Spain allowed adoption by gay couples from the start of the same-sex marriage laws. The Netherlands and Belgium did not do so, but do so now.

    This issue is the new hot gay issue that the theocon dominionists and secular neocons are going to use worldwide. That is the new button issue to retain your fascist congress later this year. They already have started in Massachusetts, where the Roman Catholic archdiocese has stopped adoptions for all in order to deny gays from adopting.

    Thank you, Andy, for being a prominent voice in the USA, against the scapegoating of the LGBT community in order to retain the right wing global agenda.

    Posted by: Raymond | Mar 13, 2006 4:09:57 AM

  21. Same sex marriage supporters have played the "victim" role in portraying the Catholics, Mormons, or other Christian faiths as "hateful" and "discriminatory".

    They demand "respect" through force while indoctrinating our school children, having marriage licenses issued unlawfully, overturning the overwhelmingly supported Prop. 22, rushing to get married "legally" before Prop. 8 was decided, then challenging the will of the people on Prop. 8.

    People of faith will defend their beliefs upholding the moral principles of marriage and protecting their children from the promoters of an immoral lifestyle. This moral battle will continue. Immorality is not "equality". "Respect" is not force. "Education" is not indoctrinating kindergartners. Defending religious beliefs is not "hate speech". Protecting marriage is not "discrimination".

    The "alternative life style" typically attacks viciously, smearing persons or institutions be it governments, politicians, businesses, corporations, religious bodies, or educational institutions opposing any part of their agenda. They play the "victim" to gain sympathy for being a "discriminated minority". The "real" victim will be people of faith who they label as having "hate speech" or "discrimination." Look what has happened in Massachusetts or Canada for challenges to faith.

    Posted by: Ernestt | Nov 26, 2008 3:45:37 AM

  22. Oh Ernestt, your proslavery Bible is immoral. Your religion is based on hate and lies. There are many like me who will NEVER stop speaking the truth about your lying false god of the Bible, exposing you and your religion for what it is – HATE.
    God is love and love will win. ♥

    Posted by: ELI | Nov 26, 2008 7:46:27 AM

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