Soulforce activists to meet SWBTS officials
FORT WORTH, Texas (BP)--Members of Soulforce, a homosexual activist group, were scheduled to meet privately Oct. 27 with representatives of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, as part of the 2008 Soulforce Equality Ride, an annual tour of schools the group uses to get publicity for homosexual issues.
According to a statement released by Southwestern Seminary, both parties "agreed to have a respectful discussion regarding their opposing viewpoints about faith and sexuality" at the seminary's Riley Center.
"In an effort to ensure a meaningful dialogue, the one-hour meeting will be closed to the public and media," the statement said. "Each side will give a 25-minute presentation of its beliefs, with the remaining time spent in dialogue about disagreements."
Soulforce has used similar campus visits in the past to create disturbances and get media attention for their cause, but a seminary spokesman expressed hope that would to be the case this time.
"I have received personal confirmation from Katie Higgins that Soulforce will abide by the pre-agreed arrangements of our dialogue," said Thomas White, vice president for student services and communications at Southwestern Seminary. "I believe this dialogue will demonstrate that we have real differences in our beliefs about Scripture and concerning the proper interpretation of Scripture, but I believe they will find Southwesterners to be ones who endeavor to speak the truth in love."
As a confessional institution of the Southern Baptist Convention, Southwestern Seminary holds the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 as its statement of faith, White noted. Article XV of the Baptist Faith and Message states: "In the spirit of Christ, Christians should oppose ... all forms of sexual immorality, including adultery, homosexuality and pornography," and that Christians should "act in the spirit of love without compromising their loyalty to Christ and His truth."
Twelve members of Soulforce were arrested during a two-hour sit-in outside the office of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President R. Albert Mohler Jr. in March 2007. The protest was in response to comments Mohler had made on his weblog about the possibility of prenatal testing and treatment for homosexuality. Mohler said, in part, that "if a biological basis [for homosexuality] is found, and if a prenatal test is then developed, and if a successful treatment to reverse the sexual orientation to heterosexual is ever developed," Christians should support its use.
Two dozen Soulforce members were arrested in March 2006 for trespassing on the campus of Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., the first stop a bus tour of 18 Christian colleges and military academies.
This year's tour includes stops at Liberty University; Columbia International University in Columbia, S.C.; Morehouse College and Spelman College in Atlanta; Palm Beach Atlantic University in West Palm Beach, Fla.; Mississippi College in Clinton; Louisiana College in Pineville; Dallas Baptist University; Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, Ark.; Central Baptist College in Conway, Ark.; and Union University in Jackson, Tenn.
Compiled by Baptist Press assistant editor Mark Kelly.