Monday, March 13, 2006

Activists Arrested at Falwell's University

(Link) In an unusual twist, queer protesters decided to crash the fundies' party at Rev. Falwell's Liberty University, where students aren't at liberty to dance much less be "homaseckshuls."

1 comment:

LNewsEditor said...

JIC Post:
By Sue Lindsey
Associated Press

LYNCHBURG, Va. (AP) - More than 20 gay rights activists were arrested on trespassing charges Friday as they tried to step onto the campus of Liberty University, the school founded by the Rev. Jerry Falwell.

Many of the activists were part of Soulforce, a group on its first stop of a nationwide "Equality Ride" tour to promote gay rights at the nation's conservative Christian universities and military academies.

Invoking the memory of the civil rights movement, Soulforce member Jacob Reitan said: "We want to come to the school today to say, 'learn from history.'"

"We have a right to be here, because this school teaches that being gay is being sick and sinful," said Reitan, co-director of Equality Ride. "We have a right to question and to show how we are children of God."

Reitan and other Soulforce members said they did not intend to be arrested at the campus, but just hoped to talk to Liberty students.

Some 60 people, including 35 members of the Equality Ride bus tour, gathered for the late morning rally on a sidewalk outside the school's main entrance. A music group played guitars and sang 1960s peace songs.

Several Liberty students spoke to the Soulforce members. But the group didn't always find support.

Comparing homosexuals to drug users and adulterers, Liberty senior Tray Faulkner said the university disapproves of any alternative lifestyle. "I know you guys don't think it's a sin," he said. "We do."

Campus police charged all of those arrested with trespassing, and two faced additional charges of inciting trespassing. They were restrained in plastic handcuffs before being taken to a local magistrate.

Falwell, the university's chancellor, had warned the group that it would not be permitted on campus, saying he would not allow his school to be used for a media event aimed at raising money for gay rights.

"Neither will we permit them to espouse opinions or otherwise suggest beliefs or lifestyles that are in opposition to the morals and values that this institution promotes," he said in a statement issued earlier.