What makes this stop for the West Bus on the tour so sad is that school administrators have actually made its anti-gay policies even more stringent that last year when the Soulforce riders came to the campus. Oklahoma Baptist now bans any advocacy by LGBT or straight allies. It also failed to add sexual orientation and gender identity to its policies, something it had promised last year after the first Equality Ride.

When the Equality Riders arrived on Thursday they were warned by campus security that any entrance onto campus would result in arrest. Relentless in their mission to talk with students about the university’s discrimination against LGBT students, 5 of the Equality Riders chose to go onto campus anyway in the hopes of initiating conversation.

“Many OBU students are disappointed with the administration’s decision to deny this opportunity for dialogue. Last year, important steps were taken in expanding the minds of students on the issue of faith, gender, and sexuality. This year, however, administration has decided to remove inclusive perspectives from the discussion, exemplifying the injustice that has brought the Equality Ride here,” said Co-Director Jarrett Lucas.

In addition to the harsher policy, a student’s request to include LGBT students in the university’s anti-discrimination policy was rejected this past year. The rejection came in spite of the university’s previous promise to add sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of protected groups.

…Many OBU students are disappointed with the administration’s decision to deny this opportunity for dialogue. Last year, important steps were taken in expanding the minds of students on the issue of faith, gender, and sexuality. This year, however, administration has decided to remove inclusive perspectives from the discussion, exemplifying the injustice that has brought the Equality Ride here,” said Co-Director Jarrett Lucas.

On the East Bus newsfront, the 25 riders visited Central Bible College in Springfield, MO, where its student handbook notes that one can be placed on suspension or probation for “homosexuality” and “lesbianism.”

“Central Bible College had a wonderful opportunity to engage in conversation about faith and sexuality with a new perspective added, but they chose to reject an affirming voice and went so far as to arrest two heterosexual Equality Riders who wanted to address their peers,” said Jarrett Lucas, co-director of the East Bus.

The Equality Riders remained undeterred in their determination to bring a message of inclusion and academic freedom to Central Bible College. Reikow and Daniels walked onto the campus in order to talk with students exiting from CBC’s worship service. Springfield police immediately arrested both women for criminal trespassing.

The vigil and civil disobedience action came after campus officials refused the Equality Ride’s attempts to initiate dialogue. Today’s civil disobedience was conducted in a spirit of nonviolence, in the hopes of creating conversation among students about discrimination against LGBT students.