This is the flyer that Patrick Henry College officials were handing out to the media on April 12.
As you can see from the bolded text, the administration of PHC was more interested in falsely maligning Equality Loudoun than in explaining why they were refusing hospitality to Soulforce. Fortunately, most of our local media seem capable of navigating the internet in order to do their own research.
Here is our actual commenting policy, which appears below each post:
This space belongs to the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered and allied community. We welcome all in the larger community who wish to engage in honest, principled discussion of the sometimes controversial matters posted here. We have zero interest, however, in “debating” people who believe that we don’t or shouldn’t exist. That is not what this space is for. It is our home, and Equality Loudoun will administer it accordingly. Abusive or fraudulent posts will simply be removed. Other than that, please be kind to each other and enjoy this forum.
Here is our commenting policy, as edited by the “Office of Communications, Patrick Henry College”:
This space belongs to the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered and allied community. We have zero interest…in “debating” people who believe that we don’t or shouldn’t exist. That is not what this space is for. It is our home, and Equality Loudoun will administer it accordingly. Abusive or fraudulent posts will simply be removed.
This represents the worst kind of intellectual dishonesty. Since our explicit statement that we welcome honest, principled discussion with those who may take different positions doesn’t support PHC’s communication objective for this flyer, they removed it – without ellipses to indicate that they had done this creative editing.
Even if one were to take our policy, as edited by PHC, at face value, the statement that it represents “identical restrictions” to their own hysterical reaction to Soulforce is transparently false.
A cursory review of the comments on this site demonstrates anything but a refusal to engage those with other points of view. The boundaries that we “enforce,” by means of defining our terms in the course of discussion, have to do with foundational assumptions that are not subject to debate. Defining those boundaries in our commenting policy is merely a truth-in-advertising tool, so that anti-gay activists will not make the mistake of thinking that abusive behavior will be tolerated here. We certainly don’t dismiss or reject comments in which people talk about their own experiences.
If Patrick Henry College had taken a similar approach to the Soulforce Equality Ride visit, it would have looked like this: They would have welcomed the visitors to share their stories and point of view, while maintaining that “the convictions that define Patrick Henry College” are not subject to debate. Since the Equality Riders were not interested in engaging them in debate, but rather in dialogue, there would have been no contradiction of either party’s position.
The real problem, I think, is that the administration of PHC honestly doesn’t understand what dialogue means.
They consistently use the terms “dialogue” and “debate” as if they are interchangeble; they offered a “formal debate” as an “alternative” to the dialogue requested by Soulforce; and most tellingly, they describe that dialogue as “a manipulative form of political theater.”
Given the transparency of Soulforce visits to other colleges, it is very clear that the dialogue they are talking about involves exchanging stories and listening to each other. It’s otherwise known as conversation.
It takes a small mind indeed to characterize the honest sharing of personal experience by other human beings as “a manipulative form of political theater.”
If this kind of intellectual dishonesty and callousness is what students at PHC are currently being taught, the chances of the college becoming the “Christian Ivy League” are slim.