By Kelsi Peace, Features Editor
After the group’s visit to ACU in late March, Soulforce continued its Equality Ride of Christian, politically conservative and military institutions across the nation, experiencing both warm welcomes and cold shoulders.
“The Equality Ride’s goal overall was to bring a perspective that we feel is not freely or openly shared about what it’s like to be a gay or lesbian at a Christian, conservative school,” said Haven Herrin, co-director of Equality Ride.
While at ACU, the group made presentations at several forums where members shared perspectives, invited discussion and gave students a glimpse into life from a side not often heard by ACU students.
Herrin said ACU was gracious for opening the campus to the group.
“It’s a testament to academic freedom that your school welcomed us,” she said.
Though the overall experience was a positive one, Herrin said her reservations about ACU are still somewhat prevalent.
“It makes me very sad for the gay and lesbian students who are on your campus,” she said.
The stop at ACU was near the beginning of Equality Ride’s tour, and the group continued on to Texas A&M, the Coalition for Christian Colleges and Universities Conference, Biola University, California Baptist University, Azusa Pacific University, Brigham Young University, Colorado Christian University, U.S. Air Force Academy, North Central University, Bethel University, Wheaton College, Eastern University and U.S. Military Academy at West Point.
Herrin said visits to North Central University and West Point were disappointing visits, where the group was arrested before arriving on campus and cadets were put on lockdown and forbidden to go within six feet of Equality Ride members.
In spite of these bad experiences, Herrin said the ride was a memorable experience.
“There was a lot of heartfelt conversation,” added Herrin, “So much devotion to understanding.”
The group is taking applications for its 2007 tour and looking to visit schools they have not yet visited.