"Our Lives Aren’t Wrong"; OBU Students Join With Equality Riders to Deliver Message of Love

Six Young Adults Arrested; OBU Students Take Up Banner Affirming LGBT Lives

For Immediate Release
Contact: Kyle DeVries, East Bus Media Director
Cell: 612-715-6284, kyle@equalityride.com

(Shawnee, Oklahoma) — Six young adults were arrested on the Oklahoma Baptist University campus today as they attempted to deliver a tapestry filled with Bible verses and affirmations of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) students. These young men and women are participants in the 2007 Soulforce Equality Ride, a national campaign to create dialogue at campuses that discriminate against LGBT students.

The Equality Riders walked on to campus with 2 students from OBU. When the Riders were arrested, the students, who asked to remain anonymous, picked up the tapestry and brought it the rest of the way to the Geiger Student Center.

"We just wanted to finish what they started," said one of the participating students. "People should know that what they’re doing isn’t wrong, that our lives aren’t wrong."

Several other members of the Oklahoma community, including current and former OBU students, helped the Equality Riders create the tapestry. Two members of the Stillwater chapter of PFLAG (Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays), Lucy Wilkes and Wilma Ramming, walked with the Riders to the edge of campus.

The OBU student handbook lists "homosexual behavior" alongside rape and incest as "forms of sexuality that deviate from the biblical standard for sexuality." The handbook identifies "mandatory counseling, probation, or departure from the University" as the disciplinary consequences of homosexual behavior.

Yesterday, 5 Equality Riders were arrested while attempting to worship at the campus chapel with OBU students. In 2006 the inaugural Equality Ride visited Oklahoma Baptist University to create discussion about school policies and their painful consequences for LGBT students. During that visit, a current OBU student spoke to the media about intimidation and harassment of students perceived to be gay or lesbian.

The Soulforce Equality Ride seeks to create a conversation with the next generation of conservative Christian leaders about the painful consequences of discrimination. The Equality Ride is a 2-month tour to 32 schools and colleges on 2 separate routes. The 50 Equality Riders include former students of conservative Christian colleges, straight allies and gay evangelical Christians.

The Equality Riders arrested today were: Casey Chandler-Alexander, Bram Wispelwey, Bronwen Tomb, Stephen Krebs, Greg Johnson, and Jarrett Lucas.

Soulforce Q is the young adult division of Soulforce, a social justice organization that works to end political and religious oppression of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. For more information go to www.soulforce.org or www.equalityride.com.