Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Why did Cedarville invite Soulforce?
A: We want to assure you that Cedarville University did not invite Soulforce to come. We informed Soulforce that our position is based on biblical convictions and is not open for change or negotiation. We strongly encouraged them not to come if changing our position was their objective. Despite our request, we were informed by Soulforce that they had included Cedarville on their itinerary. The ride included stops at 39 other universities as well. Even though it was not our decision for them to come, we determined to use their scheduled protest as an opportunity to present the biblical stance on human sexuality in a clear and loving way.
- First, their protest gave us an opportunity to reinforce the importance of being able to present a biblical approach to human sexuality. Our prayer is that our students and our entire University family are now better equipped to respond to this critical social issue in truth and love.
- Second, the presence of the protestors was an opportunity for us to share the gospel in a truthful and loving way.
- Third, logistically it would have been virtually impossible to prevent them from coming. Our campus is not a "closed" campus in the sense that we have no walls around us and no gate to shut. If we were to ban Soulforce, they could easily walk onto campus unknown to us in small groups. We prefer to have the opportunity to know where they are at all times and to better manage their interactions.
- Fourth, banning them from campus would allow them to gain additional media attention. We did not want to help them create a media frenzy. We desired to make the most of the situation for Christ's glory.
Q: How did you emphasize to students the seriousness of the protest?
A: The stakes are high from a spiritual and social perspective, so we emphasized the gravity of the protest. We are communicating to students that the Riders' goals are to influence opinions and change minds about homosexuality. To help our students understand and address the arguments, we held a series of preparatory workshops and also mandated that only students with a significant level of attendance at the presentations could attend interaction events with Riders.
We also know that this process is serious from an institutional perspective. Gay advocacy groups could affect Cedarville's ability to be re-accredited, our ability to make hiring and enrollment decisions based upon the Bible, and our students' ability to receive federal aid while enrolled at Cedarville. The Equality Ride was not a social event; it represented a spiritual issue at its core, and we emphasized this to our students.
Q: Weren't you concerned that having Soulforce on campus would pose a threat to our students, especially those struggling with same-sex attractions?
A: We were very sensitive to this concern. We remain committed to helping all of our students grow in faithful obedience to God's Word, and we seek to provide a campus environment that fosters this kind of spiritual growth. If you'd like more specific information about how this concern was addressed, please call Dr. Carl Ruby, vice president for student life, at 1-877-287-1943.
Q: How did Cedarville prepare for Soulforce?
A: Because this is a spiritual issue at its core, one of our first initiatives was a wide-spread prayer effort, open to students, faculty, staff, parents, alumni, and anyone else who wanted to join us.
We also formeded a task team, led by Dr. Carl Ruby, vice president for student life, to help the campus prepare broadly. This included a series of chapel presentations and workshops that covered the biblical, psychological, physiological, social, and political aspects of the homosexuality discussion. Only students with a significant level of attendance at the presentations attended interaction events with Equality Riders. We also distributed the booklet The Gay Debate (by Stanton L. Jones) to every student.
- Riders were not allowed in the residence halls.
- Riders did not stay overnight on campus.
- Riders did not speak in chapel.
- Riders were not allowed to freely distribute literature, although we did allow them to make some of their things available in a controlled setting.
- Riders were given opportunities to discuss the topic of homosexuality, but the opportunities included faculty presentations on a biblical perspective of sexuality.
- Each Rider was accompanied by one or two trained host(s) the entire time that they were on our campus.
Q: What if Soulforce had crossed the boundaries of the guidelines you had set?
A: A team had been in place for several months preparing for this visit. We worked through various scenarios of how we would respond to any breaches of the contract that we had with Soulforce. We also communicated with schools that were visited earlier in the itinerary so that we can had very realistic expectations. Soulforce had honored the commitments that they have made in similar contracts. However, we had also developed plans for a wide range of situations should they have come up during the visit. If you'd like more specific information about how this concern was addressed, please call Dr. Carl Ruby, vice president for student life, at 1-877-287-1943.
If you have other questions, please call us toll-free at 1-877-287-1943.
Revised April 25, 2007
Cedarville University Public Relations
Approved by Dr. Carl Ruby