Soulforce Equality Ride headed to Dallas

The Soulforce Equality Ride 2012 will make a three-day stop in Dallas on April 10–13.

Soulforce, based in Abilene and headed by the Rev. Cindi Love, confronts religious-based discrimination. The Equality Ride, which began in 2006, stops on college campuses across the country that openly discriminate against LGBT students, faculty and staff.

This year, 17 students are participating in the cross-country bus tour that began in Philadelphia on Feb. 26 and will end in San Francisco on May 2.

On Monday, the group left Minneapolis where they visited North Central University. They are headed to Oklahoma where they will stop at Southern Nazarene University in Oklahoma City and Oral Roberts University in Tulsa. From Oklahoma, the ride heads to New Orleans before arriving in Texas.

In Dallas, Soulforce will visit Dallas Baptist University.

In past years, Soulforce has visited other schools in the area including Baylor in Waco, Abilene Christian and Hardin Simmons universities in Abilene, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Southwestern Assemblies of God University in Waxahachie as well as a previous stop at Dallas Baptist.

The reaction on different campuses has varied from having dialogue at schools to arrest for trespassing campuses.

—  David Taffet

Bigot of the Day: Voddie Baucham

Voddie Baucham

Voddie Baucham is a preacher at Grace Family Baptist Church in Spring, Texas. On Saturday, he addressed the opening session of the 2011 National Religious Broadcasters, an annual gathering of Christian broadcasters that’s taking place in Nashville. According to The Christian Post, Baucham urged them “to not buy into the ‘gay is the new black’ propaganda, but instead to remain committed to defending biblical marriage on the airwaves.” Baucham lamented that some broadcasters have become reluctant to bash gays on the air:

“The reason is the homosexuals have effectively co-opted blackness…to where now, we actually believe gay is the new black and we actually believe homosexual marriage is a civil rights issue,” he explained.

“I’m insulted that people equate not just a sinful behavior but a behavior that’s a special category of sin called abomination with the level of melanin in my skin,” he said.

On a more positive note, the Rev. Cindi Love will appear Tuesday at the National Religious Broadcasters. Love, a former Dallas resident who now serves as executive director of Soulforce, reportedly is the first gay or lesbian leader invited to NRB. According to a press release, Love will participate in a Public Policy Debate on the church’s response to the gay rights movement. The panel will be moderated by socially conservative radio host Janet Parshall, and Love will square off with Joe Dallas, “former homosexual” and “ex-gay rights activist” and co-author of The Complete Christian Guide to Understanding Homosexuality.

“I’m grateful that the NRBC has offered me the opportunity to debate a prominent opponent of LGBT rights before an audience of Christian broadcasters,” Love said. “Christian media has played a major role in spreading and heightening anti-gay sentiment in the U.S. and around the world. The most recent horrific example has been in Uganda, where the use of media as a tool by American evangelicals to spread misinformation and inflammatory rhetoric about LGBT people and support anti-gay legislation has created a climate of hatred, violence and fear for the country’s LGBT population. By participating in this debate, I intend to confront the rhetoric that has cost lives around the world, and attempt to open up an honest dialogue that has been absent for far too long.”

—  John Wright

Soulforce riders to arrive in Abilene

Soulforce, the group founded by Rev. Mel White that “works to end the religious and political oppression of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning people” arrives in Abilene today.

Rev. Cindi Love wrote, “May I ask for your help in Abilene today? The Soulforce Equality Riders arrive today to visit Abilene Christian University (my alma mater) and Hardin-Simmons University. Our local news outlet, Big Country Home Page, has posted a poll to ask local citizens if the riders should be welcomed. Please go to the site and vote “yes” to help us ensure that a welcome is supported and to give visibility to the incredible witness of Riders.”

Of course, the no votes are running way ahead of the yes votes.

—  David Taffet