Faith and LGBTQ Rights at Christian Colleges

 

At Christian colleges there are behavior codes, required Bible study, Christian-infused curriculums and weekday chapel, so these colleges differ from secular ones in many ways. They once existed in a bubble, closed for changes and hardly accepting anything outside their traditional faith-based values. Together with new economic, social and cultural realities many students want to engage with and change the world and Christian colleges are changing in order to help them explore. There is a great competition for enrollment at all colleges and Christian colleges are working harder to get more students to their campuses so they are reaching out for students with interests beyond those that are based solely on religion. Nowadays, Christian colleges are discussing evolution, science, refuges and the role of women; but they have yet to face a very important issue – treatment of LGBTQ people. 

According to New York Times, students see no conflict between their faith and their LGBTQ identity. “I am a gay Christian. That is how I identify,” said Erin Green, who majored in Biblical Studies and just graduated from Azusa Pacific University in California. Yet, there are still some who fail to understand that being gay is not a sin. In February, Everett Piper, president of Oklahoma Wesleyan University, posted a long, vitriolic response to stories in The Pulse — a student news source at his alma mater, Spring Arbor University in Michigan — in which gay students were seeking affirmation and conversation. “How about ‘a conversation about how to bring feelings of white supremacy and faith into the light’ at the local Christian college?” he wrote. Why, he asked, “do we ‘normalize’ one sinful habit and predisposition but yet still condemn another?”

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While there are officials who describe homosexuality as a "sinful habit", acknowledging and supporting LGBTQ students on campuses will remain controversial. That is why LGBTQ students at some Christian colleges meet in secret, form clubs and communicate on Facebook with code names which makes them feel isolated. Most secular colleges are accepting and promoting differences between students while Christian colleges have tendency to fight the things that pass for "progress" at secular colleges. Nevertheless, they have to accept the reality and the fact that college students are becoming more and more progressive. Until recently, most Christian colleges didn’t admit to having LGBTQ students, but the increasing visibility of gay marriage and activism promoting LGBTQ rights is slowly changing that.

“Gay Christian” is no longer the oxymoron it used to be, according to Patheos, and that’s in part because many Christians don’t agree that the Bible is “explicitly clear” on the matter of same-sex relationships. While Christian students are changing, Christian colleges are under no obligation to change their stance on LGBTQ people; but if they want students to enroll they'll have to accept that progress is coming to their campuses.

Photo Credits: ABC News

 

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