Focus on the Family, the evangelical organization that has promoted anti-gay and other conservative social beliefs, isn't what you'd call "progressive."
But the organization has progressed a lot over the past few decades, leaving behind much of the vitriol of the '90s in favor of a more subdued approach. (You can read about those changes in "Change of Focus" from June 2011.)
Thus, it is slightly less surprising that Focus leaders have agreed to meet with a group of young LGBTQ activists — rather than have them arrested the minute they set foot on Focus' lawn.
The activists are a part of a bus tour, the "Equality Ride," that travels the country, protesting evangelical organizations with discriminatory policies. Yes, it's similar to the famous Freedom Riders of the 1960s, who took to the road to oppose racial injustice. (Though one would hope the modern version faces less chance of severe public beatings.)
In addition to their Focus visit, the demonstrators also plan several protests. There's still time to make it to their protest outside Young Life today at 3 p.m., as well as demonstrations tomorrow. Read on to learn more:
National “Equality Ride” Young Activists to Meet with Focus on the Family for First Time in Five Years of Tour
LGBTQ Social Justice Bus Tour to Bring Message of Acceptance to Colorado, Protest Colorado Christian U and Young Life
COLORADO SPRINGS, CO – Today, Soulforce’s “Equality Ride” – a national social justice bus tour that promotes a message of acceptance to evangelical colleges and universities that have lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) discriminatory policies – announced that the 17 young activists aboard the bus will visit Colorado this week.
From Sunday, April 15 through Thursday, April 19, the "Equality Ride" will tour Denver and Colorado Springs, where they will meet with evangelical organization Focus on the Family, which has agreed to sit down with the "Equality Riders" for the first time in the five years of the tour. On Monday, Soulforce’s Executive Director Rev. Dr. Cindi Love will join the activists on Focus on the Family's campus to discuss the organization's oppressive values that target the LGBTQ and allied community. In past years, Focus on the Family has arrested individuals advocating for LGBTQ rights on their property.
Following the visit, Soulforce will address Young Life’s discriminatory position on LGBTQ rights by non-violently protesting outside the headquarters in Colorado Springs. On Tuesday, in a non-violent protest of Colorado Christian University's anti-LGBTQ policies, the "Riders" will address the school’s lack of anti-discrimination or bullying policies that would specifically protect the rights and safety of all students, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Along with the non-violent protests the “Riders” will be holding a service project at Clinica Tepeyac and networking events during their time in the Denver area.
Soulforce "Equality Ride" Colorado Events Open to the Press:
WHO: Soulforce — a nonprofit organization committed to the freedom of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) people from political and spiritual oppression. Currently in its fifth tour of the national “Equality Ride,” Soulforce's 2012 social justice bus tour is traveling across the country from Philadelphia, Pa. to San Francisco, Calif.
WHAT: Direct action in front of the Young Life Headquarters
WHEN: Monday, April 16 from 3 to 5:30 p.m.
WHERE: Young Life Headquarters, 420 N. Cascade Ave, Colorado Springs, CO 80903
WHAT: Protest of anti-LGBTQ policies at Colorado Christian University
WHEN: Tuesday, April 17 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
WHERE: Colorado Christian University, off campus location, 8787 w. Alameda Ave., Lakewood, CO 80226
WHAT: Spoken word event hosted by Soulforce. Performance pieces by “Riders” and the public.
WHEN: Tuesday, April 17 from 9 to 11 p.m.
WHERE: Mercury Cafe, 2199 California St., Denver, CO 80205
WHAT: Community networking event. Meet and mingle with “Riders” during happy hour at Hamburger Mary’s.
WHEN: Wednesday, April 18 from 5 to 8 p.m.
WHERE: Hamburger Mary’s, 700 E. 17th Ave., Denver, CO 80203