Soulforce made its uninvited visit to the edge of the Cornerstone University campus today. The organization had been repeatedly and kindly informed that its tour bus stop was not welcome and that riders would not be permitted on the campus.
When enough media were present Soulforce sent two of its members onto campus, knowing that Grand Rapids Police officers stood ready to arrest them. They got their photo op, handcuffs and all, which is standard operating procedure for the local police.
Soulforce is an advocacy group that promotes alternative lifestyles (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) in the name of Christianity. The group is supporting two spring bus tours, similar to the one it developed in spring 2006, to targeted Christian colleges and universities—19 last year and 32 this year. The group informs colleges or universities of its desire to come and schools have either responded with a “Yes,” allowing some engagement on campus, or a “No thank you,” allowing no access or on campus engagement. Cornerstone University said “No” for a variety of reasons we’ve listed on our website.
Meanwhile, CU did preclude or even discourage its personnel or students from interacting with Soulforce riders in off campus venues. A few of our people chose to interact with riders; most did not, primarily, I suspect, because it was business as usual at CU with all classes and other typical activities in full swing. I am proud of our students and personnel who in no way displayed anything but respect for the riders. For this I thank them.
As a Christian university, Cornerstone cares about people and their spiritual needs. We attempt to apply a biblical worldview to the entire scope of issues that present themselves in contemporary culture, including sexuality and sexual politics. But we also believe that whatever God calls sin we should call sin. And we believe it’s important to function in a manner that avoids extending legitimacy to a group like Soulforce that, ironically, stands for sin in the name of Jesus.
We do not believe that alternative lifestyles are the “worst” sin or the “unpardonable” sin. In fact, we believe sin is sin and while we are rightly concerned about the “speck” of sin in the form of sexual immorality in one person’s eye, we are also concerned about the “plank” of other kinds of sin in our own eyes (Matthew 7:3-5; Luke 6:41-42). Consequently, we do not hate nor even dislike the Soulforce riders. We believe they are spiritually lost sheep who are being used by an organization with an agenda—we say “used” because it’s the riders who raise money for this tour, take their time to participate, get themselves arrested and develop a record, while other sophisticated leaders and wealthy supporters of Soulforce watch from afar.
We will continue to pray for the riders. While we believe Soulforce has a right to exist in this wonderfully free country in which we live, we respectfully disagree with their values and actions. So while we affirm their right to speak in public venues, we also affirm our right to speak in our private venue. In the end, we want our actions, even and especially saying “No,” to be a form of the Scripture’s command to “speak the truth in love,” for we believe that love without truth is ultimately no love at all.
© Rex M. Rogers - All Rights Reserved, 2007
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