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Equality Ride visits campus

Last fall Dordt College learned that it would be one of thirty-two Christian colleges and universities visited by the Soulforce Equality Ride, a group of advocates touring the country in what they describe as a “pursuit of justice” for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. They targeted schools with policies they feel are discriminatory.

Dordt College staff tried to dissuade the riders from visiting campus and suggested alternate ways to discuss college policies. The Equality Ride still chose to visit Dordt.

“Rather than have them arrested, we decided to use this as an opportunity to give a strong Christian witness to our position and to provide an educational moment for our campus on how to engage a critical social issue of our day from a biblical point of view,” said Dr. Carl Zylstra.

Dordt College’s policy with regard to sexuality is based on its biblical beliefs that the only appropriate context for sexual intimacy is within the bonds of the marriage covenant between a man and a woman. The college planned ways to help students grow in their biblical understanding of how to think about homosexuality—something many students will face once they leave campus—and to share that understanding with members of Soulforce.

The visitors felt that the college had been gracious, and many students learned something about how to show love and respect to people they wholeheartedly disagreed with.

“If Christians want to reach this population… the first step has to be dialogue,” said one student. A faculty member adds, “The Soulforce visit provided the opportunity for the Dordt community to move discussions concerning homosexuality and sexual orientation from the abstract… to real people.”

“We pray that it was good for the visitors to interact with a Christian community that doesn’t fulfill their stereotypes but instead articulates clearly the gospel of God’s good and gracious law for human sexuality in a kindly manner,” said Zylstra.

Vice President for Student Services Ken Boersma said, “I continue to be in prayer for the institutions that have yet to be visited, for the Riders themselves, and for the Dordt College community as we continue to wrestle with the issues raised by the event.”