President of Yellowstone Baptist College Rejects Visitors to Campus; Equality Riders Pursue Dialogue on Faith and Sexuality

Riders Return to Campus on Friday

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SOULFORCE PRESS RELEASE: April 19, 2007
For Immediate Release
Contact: Brandon Kneefel, West Bus Media Director
Cell: 612-715-6138, brandon@equalityride.com
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(Billings, Montana) — On Thursday, April 19th, a youth-led nationwide conversation, known as the Equality Ride, about faith and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender identity (LGBT) came to Billings, Montana.

Negotiations with Dr. Bill Philips at Yellowstone Baptist College began last November, but unlike many of the 32 schools on this second annual, nationwide tour, YBC rejected the idea of an open forum with the Equality Riders in an academic setting. Despite the school’s refusal the bus of 25 young adults came to YBC campus prepared to have conversation. The day began with President Bill Philips meeting the Riders at the gate reiterating the school’s unwelcoming stance.

A day of freezing rain showers did not stop the Equality Riders from holding vigil into the afternoon outside the University entrance. Bearing lilies, Riders were distributing them as an offering of peace. Lilies were placed at the base of a cross on campus as well as the doors to the chapel. Riders also held signs with affirming scriptural verse.

"The motto of Yellowstone Bible College is ‘Christian leadership excellence,’ one cannot be a Christian leader today in America without serious commitment to conversation about lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender inclusion in the Church. It’s disheartening that President Bill Philips’ chose to deny his students this opportunity," said Alexey Bulokhov, Soulforce Equality Ride Co-Director.

The Equality Riders will return Friday for a silent vigil on behalf of students silenced by policies like Yellowstone Baptist Colleges.

The Soulforce Equality Ride, in its second annual year, is made up of 50 young adults, two buses, and two routes, one eastbound and one westbound.

The westbound and eastbound will reunite next week in Mankato, MN, and will stand in solidarity outside Bethany Lutheran College in hopes of welcoming dialog. The next stop on the Equality Ride is Trinity Bible College — Ellendale, ND, where Equality Riders will bring a hope for dialogue regarding the school’s discriminatory policies against gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people.


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.