The Soulforce Equality Ride brought its nonviolent call for fairness for gay Christian students to Lee University in Cleveland, Tennessee, in mid-March. (Here are first-person Ride diaries for March 16, 17, 18)
The goal of the Ride has been for gay people of faith to engage conservative Christian students in voluntary and peaceful discussion — though Riders have also been arrested when they attempted to walk onto their former campuses to talk with students.
During the visit, a local mother and her son spray-painted “fags mobile” across the Equality Ride bus. Unlike Exodus and Focus on the Family, which blame any incident of vandalism on “gay activists,” Soulforce did not blame antigay activists. Soulforce blamed religious misinformation.
“It’s a religious misinformation that causes it. People fear or don’t understand what it means to be a gay or lesbian person, and this is how it acts out,” said Jacob Reitan, Soulforce Co-director.
Exodus responded not by welcoming civil dialogue as some campus Christians did, but by misquoting Soulforce.
On the Exodus: Live Out Loud blog last week, Exodus Youth staffer Mike Ensley inaccurately says Soulforce blamed “religion” for the vandalism, even as he links to the local news article that quoted Soulforce accurately.
Ensley also presumes to excommunicate the Equality Ride participants, most of whom are both Christian and former students of the schools being visited. Ensley says his “prayer is that the people on that bus will encounter the Savior on their journey.” Sounds like the Riders encountered the Savior in their own lives years ago.
I am left to wonder whether Ensley is projecting his own rejection of Christian faith and charity upon others.