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Soulforce Equality Ride to stop at ACU

For immediate release
March 24, 2006

Soulforce, an advocacy group for gay and lesbian rights, will stop at Abilene Christian University next week during its cross-country Equality Ride bus tour of 19 colleges.

Soulforce notified ACU in early January of their intention to visit. After careful consideration, the university decided the best way to affirm its core Christian values would be to treat Soulforce as Christ would, by allowing a peaceful, patient dialogue, said Dr. Michelle Morris, vice president for university relations.

“As a university grounded in Christian principles and affiliated with the Church of Christ, we strongly believe that sexual relations are only appropriate within the bonds of marriage between a man and woman,” Morris said. “However, as Christians we also believe that Christ loves all people and that He seeks for us to show that love to one another.”

The mission of Abilene Christian University is to educate students for Christian service and leadership throughout the world. To that end, ACU integrates faith and learning throughout its curriculum, and faculty, staff and students strive to live their lives based on Christian principles.

“Although we did not invite Soulforce to ACU, and we disagree with several of their core principles, we believe that open dialogue is a critical element of a quality educational institution,” said Dr. Dwayne VanRheenen, ACU’s provost. “Part of this education is to prepare our students to think through a wide variety of issues they will face while in college and after graduation and to approach such circumstances in a Christ-like manner.”

To ensure a peaceful dialogue, ACU began working with Soulforce in February to plan the details of their visit on March 26 and 27. During their visit, representatives from Soulforce will meet with ACU administrators, faculty, staff and students during various sessions to be held throughout the day. Sessions include a forum discussion, visits to select classes, attendance of daily Chapel, a discussion with students and faculty from the Graduate School of Theology, and a conversation regarding the portrayal of sexuality in the media.

If you have questions regarding the Soulforce Equality Ride visit, contact Michelle Morris at morrism@acu.edu.



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