Five members of the gay activist group Soulforce held hands Wednesday afternoon and stood to face about 50 Liberty University students behind the school's DeMoss Hall in Lynchburg.
They had just returned from donating five gay-affirming Christian books to the school's library, and Caitlin MacIntyre invited onlookers to join them in singing "Amazing Grace."
"No thanks," one student said.
Across the sidewalk, students paged through Bibles as the hymn's familiar first verse filled the air.
Liberty student Lawanda Sowell said she was searching for passages to describe her belief that homosexuality is a sin.
"They believe in what they believe because they are blind," she said.
The song ended, and the two groups stood opposite each other with two different opinions on how to interpret the role of homosexuality and the definition of marriage in the Bible.
Liberty was the first of 15 planned stops at faith-based institutions on Soulforce's annual Equality Ride, a national bus tour meant to encourage an inviting environment for any on-campus gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender students.
"Nowhere in the Bible does it say, 'homosexuality is sin,'" said Soulforce member Nicholas Rocco DeFinis.