View Full Version : Why did the equality ride turn down a debate forum?
03-09-2006, 12:02 PM
I understand that one of the schools that the equality ride will be visiting offered Soulforce a debate forum and was turned down. Does this not undermine your desire for "open dialogue?" Or, does Soulforce just want an audience to share their opinion with?
03-09-2006, 12:07 PM
There is a lot happening with regard to the seventeen religious schools, the two military academies, the CCCU conference, and the Equality Ride. Can you be more specific about which school visit you heard this about?
03-09-2006, 12:23 PM
From what I understand, the school President (Dr. Paul Conn) has not offered an open forum such as chapel, classroom, lecture hall, etc. for Soulforce. However, I also understand that an open debate was offered to this group. It just seems that a group such as yours would welcome any avenue to express your opinions.
03-09-2006, 01:40 PM
Here is why we at Soulforce do not accept invitations to debate:
Why I can't wait to end this debate (http://www.soulforce.org/article/585)
For us the debate is over (http://www.soulforce.org/article/homosexuality-debate-verdict-video).
03-09-2006, 01:57 PM
I have no problem with your desire to open the dialogue with the conservative right. My concern is that you are dressing up your own intolerant agenda in the disguise of open dialogue. In fact, I would not have a problem with the "equality ride" at all if it did not promote itself as a dialogue. Under the first amendment, you have the right to peacefully protest. I am just asking you to be upfront and honest about the nature of these protests. This is not about dialogue, but about agenda.
Allow me to be clear on a couple of points:
#1 - I am not homophobic and I am ashamed at how homosexuals have been treated by the church.
#2 - I believe that a person can consider themselves homosexual and still be a Christian if they are not practicing. I would say the same about a heterosexual couple abstaining from sexual intercourse prior to marriage.
#3 - I have nothing to lose if I am wrong. I can (and do) accept homosexuals for who they are and hope that they find the fullness of life that Jesus describes in John 10:10. But, what if you're wrong?
03-09-2006, 02:23 PM
From what Jamie has shared, it doesn't sound like they are asking for dialouge in the sense of "lets debate about the issues."
And after reading that incredible article by Mel White... I can clearly see why.
Awesome! I need to spend some time thinking about that article... In the past I've spent way too much time "debating" with homophobic christians. Lately my focus has been reaching out to gays & lesbians caught up in ex-gay ministries... and while that can end up being a debate, it's different.
Or is it?
03-09-2006, 02:28 PM
I don't want to get stuck on specific wording here, but dialogue does not necessarily mean debate, does it? I mean, I can understand why debate is no longer an alternative for this group. But dialogue can take place in the midst of the protest, can it not? Dialogue, or persons talking to one another, even if their points of view are different, can go on even in the midst of protesting against another person's particular viewpoint, or protesting more specifically against a policy of intolerance. I also don't want to believe because the Freedom Rides are going to schools to protest or dialogue, or both, that that in turn means that our Soulforce representatives will definitely be confrontative and/or disrespectful in their manner. THe premise of this community after all is about peaceful, nonviolent behavior, and I would think that would mean nonviolent verbal behavior as well. Thoughts?
03-09-2006, 04:05 PM
I would like to respond to the notion of debate as the Soulforce Equality Ride Co-Director.
When we debate, we spend our time defending our humanity. Instead of talking about the reality of the suffering of GLBT persons, we defend ourselves from accusations of pedophilia, beastiality, promiscuity, and other negative characteristics. I refuse to stand up on a debate platform and focus on these periphery accusations which distract from the true issues - that discrimination against GLBT students exists on these campuses.
Furthermore, when there are two strongs sides to an issue represented in a false dichotomy of school versus riders, minds and hearts are not open for true understanding and discussion. The students come into the forum looking for their side to 'win points' - it devolves into a place where one side wins and one side loses.
In addition, I am not going to debate the minutae of the Bible in how I am impugned and unworthy. I can offer all sorts of scholars and theologians to explain why Romans I and Paul's letters do not condemn me, but that information is readily available elsewhere for those who are truly interested.
And finally, our visit to a school is not going to be the impetus for a school to stand up one more time to discriminate against me and my GLBT brothers and sisters. They can speak that religion-based oppression every day of the year - we want one day to share a different perspective on an undeniably pertinent issue. Our perspective on homosexuality is one not heard on these campuses precisely because of the discrimination and fear that emanates from their policies and their religious teachings.
03-09-2006, 10:14 PM
I need to be brief as it's late and I need to get some good rest before work tomorrow, but just wanted to weigh in quickly.
I'm not completely sure where I stand on this. I agree completely that going into a debate with the mindset of "proving" our worthiness against biblical accusation is self-defeating. At the same time, there's an element of polemic in Mel White's article, and I find time and again that polemics are useful only if you don't really believe in them. ;) That is, if you take a polemical stance too seriously, it has a hardening effect that makes it tougher to move, grow and change later when the spirit leads you there.
What intrigues me is that in debates like that, everyone wants to talk about WHAT they believe, but what's really interesting is WHY people believe what they believe. If a debate were about why, I can imagine it being helpful as it humanizes the discussion. I'd be interested in that.
03-10-2006, 08:34 AM
Tenturtles: thank you for your input as a rep. from the Equality Ride, because that has been missing from this thread. I agree with your points on debate, and I feel a strong sense of support and pride in this event as it is happening. I hope that even if the reception from schools is scripted and planned out to the smallest detail, that some minds may be changed more than you might see while you are still on the campus. It brings the issue to light, which I am sure many of these schools do not want. And it offers support to some closeted students on these campuses that probably feel quite alone, unloved and rejected. Be safe in your journey and keep us posted if you can. Peace and Love, Vanessa:pray: :love:
03-11-2006, 01:28 AM
Thanks Schoolboi, that was a really good article. That reminds me of what Mike Haley said in response to the Equality ride, to “Discuss the myth of the gay gene.”
As if to say, “Now remember, they actually ‘think’ they’re gay, and the story of the ‘myth’ of the gay gene is a nice and Christian way of explaining to them that they’re delusional.” Which is precisely Mel’s point in the article. It frames the issue as our being in need of proof of our own eye witness testimony, undermining our integrity from the outset.
Then, he’s using absence of the gay gene to assert that homosexuality is ‘wrong’ without offering any evidence of a straight gene to qualify that heterosexuality is ‘right.’
1. No straight gene and no gay gene equals zero plus zero. “Now remember to explain that the second zero doesn’t count.” (As opposed to the first one that really adds up.)
2. As a genetic equal he's decided he and other genetic equals are in a position to make a genetic distinction.
3. Neither of these points are recognized as illogical, OR if recognized but not acknowledged, they indicate a potentially willful use of a strawman argument for the purpose of deception!
4. Zero plus zero plus zero equals he-knows-better.
-And they want us to prove we're not delusional?
He’s an “ex-gay,” who likens the occasional temptation to a "pesky little fly." I’ve read his book, "101 questions about homosexuality." So that's 1 down and 100 to go...
That’s what I should write, "101 questions about the answers to the questions about homosexuality." :D
It just seems that a group such as yours would welcome any avenue to express your opinions...My concern is that you are dressing up your own intolerant agenda in the disguise of open dialogue... This is not about dialogue, but about agenda... I have nothing to lose if I am wrong. I can (and do) accept homosexuals for who they are and hope that they find the fullness of life that Jesus describes in John 10:10. But, what if you're wrong?
Peter, I don’t know if you’ve considered these things or not, so I’m not assuming them of you, but they are extremely important in consideration of any meaningful dialogue. Despite the tolerance and compassion your post indicates, it also indicates an assumption of guilt and this is not tolerable. Your cavalier use of the word 'agenda' to describe our activities without also applying it to the religious right also demonstrates a lack of awareness of the intentional agenda of lies spread for the sole purpose of attacking gays, in the name of Christianity. (P.S. 'indicates' does not mean I'm 'concluding')
To ask me to consider that I might be wrong implies you are unwilling to consider the same of yourself, breaking the golden rule that Christianity is based on and disqualifying you from asking the question as a Christian.
It further implies that in the midst of the overwhelming rhetoric of my evil sickness, that I have never considered before that I might be wrong, and have frivolously concluded that my sinful behavior is equal to heterosexuality, which also implies I do not know the difference between love and evil. If there’s no malice in loving another human being how can it be evil? If it is not evil how can it be a sin? “Because the Bible says so” demonstrates only a belief that God, and therefore Love, can be arbitrary. I perceive this to be an “intolerant agenda.”
It is understandable to think that homosexuality is not natural and thus must be the result of delusion, and then interpret the Bible as confirmation of this. To conclude this without careful investigation of eye witness testimony for the sake of certainty is the insulting part. The insult is not in the implications mentioned above, but in the fact that they have not been considered, or if they have, have not been clarified. If I’m delusional, aren’t you going to want to know how and why first in order to avoid any misunderstanding?
I appreciate that it was not your intention to be insulting, but before I can respect someone’s inference that they might know me better than I know myself, I need to know that they have done their homowork.
(^I swear, it jumped out of nowhere -- I couldn't resist, I'm sorry.) :)
Sometimes all it takes to accomplish this is a simple "I realize that you feel ... but I understand differently because..."
(This is an edit) I just found this here from yesterday. Now This is how to ask, "What if you're wrong?" And again, I apologize if I'm judging you too harshly, I know, you know yourself best in that regard, which is precisely my point so I offer it in that vein.
03-11-2006, 08:54 AM
It further implies that in the midst of the overwhelming rhetoric of my evil sickness, that I have never considered before that I might be wrong, and have frivolously concluded that my sinful behavior is equal to heterosexuality...
I thought Emproph's response illustrates a recurring frustration we gays and lesbians have with our heterosexual brothers and sisters. Many of us went through long struggles where we fought our orientations for years because we believed the teachings of our denominations. We forfeited relationships and said things that weren't exactly true trying to prove to God and ourselves that we were actually straight. Some of our fellow gays do not make it through that struggle.
Once we reach the place of finally accepting ourselves, though, a strange thing happens in regard to our relationships and conversations with many heterosexual Christians. They ask us, "Have you ever considered the idea that you might not be gay?"
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