SOULFORCE EQUALITY RIDE TO VISIT PATRICK HENRY COLLEGE
– Equality Loudoun invites opposing sides to reception for dialogue, reconciliation –
(Leesburg, VA 5 April, 2007) — Equality Loudoun reported today that the Soulforce Equality Ride is planning a visit to the campus of Patrick Henry College in Purcellville on Thursday, April 12. Patrick Henry, like many Christian colleges, enforces a strict code of conduct that bans the enrollment of openly gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students. The Soulforce Equality Riders are a diverse group of young adults, many of them gay and allied evangelical Christians who are alumni of such schools, on a two month tour of colleges during which they hope to initiate honest dialogue about faith and sexuality.
Robin Reynolds, the Equality Ride coordinator of the Patrick Henry visit, has been in contact with the school’s administration hoping to arrange a structured opportunity for dialogue. Although this has happened at some of the other schools on the tour, the administration at Patrick Henry has so far not extended such an invitation. The Riders will continue seeking ways to engage the students, faculty and administration in honest, open conversation, Reynolds said.
“Sexual orientation has nothing to do with a person’s religious faith or upbringing. Whether or not the administration knows it, there are students at Patrick Henry who are keeping a terrifying secret.” said Equality Loudoun president David Weintraub. “All that the Equality Riders are asking for is an opportunity to testify to the harm done to them by the message that they are broken and unworthy because of who they are.”
Following a breakfast hosted by a Purcellville family, the Equality Ride bus will arrive at the Patrick Henry campus for a press conference at 10:15 am.
“I am a child of God who loves God, and I now know that God loves me just as I am and welcomes me to the table,” said Reynolds. “It’s critical that the students at schools like Patrick Henry hear that affirming message ““ that we are all welcome at God’s table.”
Even if the college refuses to engage in dialogue, Equality Loudoun is welcoming both the Equality Riders and the Patrick Henry College community to an evening reception at The White Palace Restaurant.
“For so many in the gay community, Christianity has come to represent nothing but hatred and condemnation. For many of the Patrick Henry students, it seems that they’ve only been exposed to the idea that gay people are evil and dangerous,” said Weintraub. “We have our work cut out for us to just be able to look at each other, face to face, as fellow human beings, and have a conversation. If we can make that happen even for a few individuals, that’s a start.”
“The ability to engage the world in debate requires us to truly listen and consider the opinions of others, while never compromising our commitment to God and His Word” – from the mission of Patrick Henry College
The reception is free and open to all, and will include a presentation by the Equality Riders about their experiences.
The White Palace Restaurant
101 N 21st Street
Purcellville, VA 20132