Campus Access Refused By Liberty University: Soulforce Equality Riders Vow To Enter Grounds

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SOULFORCE MEDIA ALERT: February 25, 2006
For Immediate Release
Contact: Jacob Reitan, 952-212-8311, jake@equalityride.com
Haven Herrin, 469-867-5725, haven@equalityride.com
Robyn Murphy, 612-965-0838, robyn@soulforce.org
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Liberty University(Lynchburg, VA) The first ever Soulforce Equality Ride is set to begin in early March. During a 51-day bus tour, thirty-five young adults will confront nineteen religious colleges and military academies that ban the enrollment of lesbian, gay bisexual, and transgender students.

On March 10 the Soulforce Equality Riders will make their first stop at Liberty University. "At all schools we seek dialogue because we have an important message to share," said Jacob Reitan, Co-Director of the Soulforce Equality Ride. "Liberty University must learn from history and end religion based discrimination. For centuries the Bible has been used to condemn and exclude. In the past it has been used to wrongly discriminate against people of color, those of other faiths, and women. Today, it is gay and lesbian people who are the victims of biblical misuse — ‘the other’."

Unlike many of the schools along the Soulforce Equality Ride route that welcome dialogue, Liberty has refused dialogue and is threatening arrest if the riders come onto the campus. "Soulforce will not be allowed on the property and this will be enforced by arrests if needed," stated Chief Randy Smith of the Liberty University Police.

"Even though we disagree on gay and lesbian issues, that should not make the notion of dialogue disagreeable as well," stated Soulforce Equality Ride Co-Director Haven Herrin. "While I am saddened by their choice, it will not keep us off campus. Our message of equality is simply too important to be refused."

The riders will continue to seek dialogue and hope that Liberty will make the choice to allow discussion when the bus arrives on March 10.

"We understand Liberty University is a private institution," Haven Herrin stated. "We do not dispute the school’s right to disagree, ban, denigrate, or arrest, but we can and do question the moral underpinnings of their choices regarding communication and discrimination. We remind Reverend Falwell that it was less than 40 years ago that he took similar stands as he denied admission to his church to people of color. Has he forgotten how he called the Civil Rights movement the Civil ‘Wrong’ movement? It is time that he learn from history and end yet another form of discrimination he practices."

For the most up to date information on the stop at Liberty please go to www.EqualityRide.com/liberty


Soulforce’s purpose is freedom for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people from religious and political oppression through the practice of relentless nonviolent resistance. For more information go to www.equalityride.com or www.soulforce.org.

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