“[T]here used to be no conversation. Now people are talking about [LGBT issues] all the time, and the university can’t pretend that there aren’t gay people who attend the school… Although many of these colleges explicitly ban “homosexual behavior,” they are now home to dozens of LGBT-friendly student groups.” – Philip Francis and Mark Longhurst in The Atlantic
I have talked to them, students at Wheaton, Biola, Patrick Henry and other campuses where homosexuality is strictly forbidden, where administrators tell donors that no gays attend the school.
Two girls from Wheaton, arms around each other, laughed and told me, “Yeah, there are ‘no LGBTQ students’ here!”
No strict policy or pledge will prevent LGBTQ students from attending these colleges, nor will they change anyone’s orientation. No position of resistance will even slow down the growing avalanche of acceptance of LGBTQ people.
These colleges are in denial and squelch any meaningful dialogue about homosexuality.
“Supporting LGBT causes can still have serious repercussions on college campuses. At George Fox University in Oregon, an LGBT group called OneGeorgeFox initially attracted support from many faculty members. Then, according to OneGeorgeFox founder Paul Southwick, the college held ‘an all faculty meeting, saying that if you support the OneGeorgeFox letter [calling for conversation around LGBT issues] you will be in open violation of your employment agreement.’ Faculty supporters have been less vocal since that meeting.”
I’m still haunted by Patrick Henry’s Michael Ferris statement that homosexuals don’t exist at Patrick Henry, then threatening owners of the Queer at Patrick Henry College Facebook page.
“This page is in violation of our copyright of the name Patrick Henry College,” Farris wrote. “… you must remove this page at once. On Monday, we will began (sic) the legal steps to seek removal from Facebook and from the courts if necessary. In the process of this matter we can seek discovery from Facebook to learn your identity and seek damages from you as permitted by law. The best thing for all concerned is for you to simply remove this page.”
Why? What drives the shutdown of dialogue and threats of reprisal? What are the administrators afraid of??
And that right there is the driving force. Fear.
Fear of somehow losing control of their students, the culture, this issue that in their view has turned the world upside-down. Fear of being ‘on the outs with God’ for not keeping people in line. Fear of not stopping people’s sin.
They are so afraid that they do not even see that their treatment of gays – these beliefs and policies – actually violate the very core of Jesus’ life they claim they are teaching.
Once again, one of my favorite stories leaps forward. When Jewish religious leaders wanted to stop some men from talking about this upstart religion, they arrested them and put them in prison. Then one of their leaders gathered them together privately and said, “Why are you doing this? Don’t you know if it’s false, it will fall apart by itself?”
This Jewish leader went on: “Let these men go. If this new religion is not real, it will all fall apart. If it is real, then it is from God. You will find yourself to be fighting God.”
College leaders, allow the open dialogue, trust the God you claim to represent. If being gay is some kind of rebellion against you, it will fall apart.
But if it does not fall apart, then there is something to it, more than you understand. Not sin, not a heart that’s deceitfully wicked, but people wanting to live as God created them – and that does not, and should not change.
And despite prayers, God has not changed it.
God apparently does not have the trouble with this that you (who try to stop it) do.
You may discover that your battle has not been with these gay Christians, who love the Lord and are at your school hoping to learn more about following Jesus and God’s call on their lives – but your battle may actually be against God.
Religious leaders have fought against God before — more than once — and they always lose.
Love your students – all of them. Focus on teaching them what Jesus said is important – loving God and loving others. And trust God with the individual lives of your precious students.