Purcellville Gazette editorial

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Published April 13, 2007
“Patrick Henry College Targeted”

It is somewhat sad to see a privately owned and operated institution targeted for their beliefs. This week, David Weintraub of Lovettsville and President of Equality Loudoun, is helping to promote a visiting gay rights activist group, Soulforce Equality Riders to “confront” Patrick Henry College and its beliefs. Soulforce Equality Riders have visited dozens of private colleges throughout the U.S. to promote their views and in most cases; attempt to be arrested in order to garner public attention in the press. They believe that PHC and other like-minded educational institutions such as Notre Dame, BYU, Baylor, Pepperdine and Bethany Lutheran College have a “homophobic doctrine, the false notion that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender identities are sick and sinful.” While their message is clear and their marketing methods effective, we were curious that each rider on their bus trip is requested to raise as much money as possible for the Soulforce Equality ride and its twelve staff members.

While not a large campus, PHC has requested assistance from the Purcellville Police as well as the Sheriff’s Department. Both of which will cost the taxpayers. Soulforce and Equity Loudoun, in short, are using Loudoun County tax dollars to promote their beliefs. While they are encouraged to express their feelings, it should not be at the cost of taxpayers of western Loudoun.

This level of civil disobedience is fine, however, when you force your way onto private property, you are doing your group and its mission a disservice. The group claims that they are attempting to talk to students in an open forum. However, on Equality Loudoun’s website, Weintraub suggests that the school administration has placed the school in lock down mode. Based on PHC’s debate record throughout the nation, we believe Soulforce would be outmatched and there would be no reason for PHC to “lock down” their campus. After the press conference, Soulforce is hosting a discussion for area ministers, priests and public at the White Palace restaurant. This is a much better forum location than an attempted “forced entry” onto campus.

To further complicate matters, the proposed location of this press conference will likely be at the campus’ entrance of Rt. 287, one of the busiest roads in western Loudoun. The front bumper of an F-250 does not care what your stance is on gay rights. Safety for both groups is critical, but based on the website of Soulforce, the more press they get during their visit, the better.

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