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An Interesting and Fun Time at URI

As many of you know, last week I had the honor of giving a speech for the inauguration of David Dooley as the President of the University of Rhode Island. There was a good bit of controversy surrounding my participation in this event. Hearing that I was an “evangelical,” some people were concerned that my participation in this event might not be affirming to GLBT members of the URI community. (How sad that the label “evangelical” has come to evoke such concerns.) In response, many who attended the inauguration ceremony wore rainbow colored ribbons and a large rainbow colored banner was hung in the upper deck of the auditorium directly in front of the podium. It was, for me, a very exhilarating environment to speak in.

Well, everything turned out wonderfully. I shared a little bit of my life story as a way of explaining why I loathe the fatalistic song “Que Sera Sera.”  At one point in my message I railed against various  “enemies of freedom” such as forms of “group think” that stereotype us according to our race, nationality, social class, gender, sexual orientation or religious affiliation.  It seems the point was well taken. I think GLBT members of URI as well as evangelicals at URI (and, I hope, everyone else) felt welcomed and affirmed during the event. Following the event, I had several very friendly “bridge building” talks with people who identified themselves as belonging to the GLBT community.  I enjoyed myself immensely and it was, I believe,  a good day for diversity at URI.

Beyond this, I’ll just say that I appreciated the warm hospitality I received by everyone at URI. I had a fantastic time hanging out with President David Dooley, his amazing wife Lynn along with their kids and a ton of friends. I especially appreciated the fact that, despite David’s position at the University and in the community, there isn’t a hint of self-importance in this family. David is a man of vision if ever there was one and I’m certain he’s going to do a fantastic job leading URI into the future. It was truly an honor — and a lot of fun — to be allowed to play a small role in his inauguration.



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