Late last year Gordon College learned that it was one of 32 Christian colleges and universities that would be visited by the Soulforce Equality Ride, a group of activists who advocate for changes in policies the members believe discriminate against and are harmful to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students.
Based on the largely positive experiences of sister CCCU institutions, including Wheaton and Bethel, Gordon decided to engage in dialogue with the visitors rather than prevent them from entering campus. Our objective was to model civil dialogue and respectful conversation and to help our students develop a fuller understanding of the theological underpinning of our policies. We are grateful that we were able to accomplish both.
We are pleased to report that the members of Soulforce acted with integrity and courtesy throughout the visit. They appreciated the opportunity to be heard and left understanding that, while we will remain committed to our Biblical perspective, we can respect each other. It is also our hope that they experienced the love of Christ in our community.
"We cannot have influence if we don't start with a conversation," said Stan Gaede, Ph.D., Gordon's scholar-in-residence and respondent for the opening forum. "The Christ who calls us to pursue the truth also expects that we will bear witness to it, in both word and deed. Only then can we be salt and light in a culture badly in need of both."
The College community is proud of its students. "They set a wonderful example for the entire Christian community," said Barry Loy, dean of students and coordinator of the visit. "Their intellectual maturity, commitment to faith and empathy were evident to everyone." Loy also expressed his appreciation for the cooperation and good will modeled by the Soulforce Equality Ride visitors.