Gay Rights Group Stops By Wheaton College

A gay activist group seeking equality for gay students held a public forum at Wheaton College on Thursday to discuss theological and biblical issues concerning homosexuality.

Some 33 gay activists arrived in a bus at the Rev. Billy Graham’s alma mater under the banner of the Soulforce Equality Riders. Wheaton, Ill.-based college is among one of 19 religious schools on the organization’s 51-day bus tour.

"We're hopeful that God will manifest Himself today and that the truth will be revealed in meaningful discussion," College Provost Stan Jones told the Equality Riders, according to The Naperville Sun. "We hope our students reflect well what our school is all about."

Soulforce – a group that seeks equality for gay students at Christian colleges banning enrollment of LGBT students – models itself after the Freedom Riders of the 1960s who attempted to desegregate buses and bus stations.

Members of Soulforce were greeted by Wheaton college students and staff as they filed out of the bus, according to the Sun. The president of the Wheaton College student body, Esther Lee, said she welcomes conversation with the gay activist group.

However, staff and faculty voiced that although exchange of ideas are welcome, the college still holds to biblical teachings that homosexuality is a sin.

"Sexual intimacy belongs with the confines of marriage," Jones said. "We don't single out homosexuals. But we do stand on historical and biblical Christian beliefs that have remained the same over the centuries."

New Testament professor, Gary Burge, agreed with Jones.

"Religious institutions have certain boundaries,” he said. “We believe that the Bible teaches that homosexuality is a sin.”

Officials at Wheaton College said that the Soulforce visit will not have any impact on the “community covenant,” which all students must sign pledging to withhold from sex outside of marriage and say that homosexuality is a transgression against God.