***Update***: The group’s founders have responded to a couple of my questions below.
Biola University, an evangelical Christian school in southern California, is one of those schools that will expel you if they find out you’re gay. (Because, you know, they love everyone.) In fact, they just put out a Statement on Human Sexuality (PDF).
Biola University affirms that sexual intimacy is designed by God to be expressed solely within a marriage between one man and one woman. This view of sexuality and marriage is rooted in the Genesis account of creation, reflected in the teachings of Jesus Christ himself, and is maintained consistently throughout Scripture. It is a view based on the biblical teaching of monogamy — that God designed sexual union for the purpose of uniting one man and one woman into a permanent, lifelong, one flesh union in the context of marriage.
Considering all that, it’s pretty damn amazing that a group called The Biola Queer Underground has formed in spite of all the risks.
They’ve already responded to the school’s Statement:
The recently published policy, eighteen months in the making, did not bring change except to make it clearer that Biola views “any acts of sexual intimacy between two persons of the same sex as an illegitimate moral option for the confessing Christian.” It did not even attempt to address those with transgender or other non-conforming gender identities. Nor did it speak to the consequences for those who do not view their own or other’s homosexuality as “a struggle to maintain sexual purity.”
Biola claims to want a dialogue. However, unless LGBTQ students who don’t view homosexuality or transgender identity as sinful are allowed to speak openly without threat, this conversation will continue to be one–sided. Without inviting Christians speakers who have a different view of homosexuality, fruitful dialogue will not happen. In the past, your monologues on homosexuality have not been good or fair to us. We understand your interpretation of scripture; please hear ours.
The obvious question is: Why do they remain at Biola? Why not transfer to a more accepting school? They’ve answered those questions here.
Christian blogger John Shore did a phone interview with one of the group’s founders and offers a bit more insight into how and why the group formed.
For anyone who attends Biola and may be questioning or hiding their sexuality, here’s what the group suggests:
If you would like to be apart of what we are doing, or want a safe place to be yourself, we would love to talk to you. Because of the nature of our community however, we cannot simply post a time and a place for you to meet with us. If you are truly interested in joining or talking to us please email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Here’s hoping they stay hidden from the university — but known to (and able to find community with) their fellow LGBTQ classmates.
I asked the founders what the response has been like from the other students. They said:
This has caused quite a stir at Biola, more than I think most of us had expected. By the second day we had one thousand Facebook likes and a dozen tweets on our website. The Chimes, our school newspaper, was very quick to get a story on us, and it is now the most popular in their history. Many students are angered over the group, but we have been pleasantly surprised at how many students are completely supportive of us. And not just in a “love the sinner hate the sin” type of way, a lot of students don’t think homosexuality is morally wrong and are excited to help us as a group. This has been shocking but wonderful.
And how many members are currently in the group?
We would like to maintain a level of mystery as to how many people are in our group. We feel comfortable saying we are comprised of a few dozen individuals. (although we’re fairly certain more LGBTQ people go to Biola than exist in our group). We definitely aren’t just one or two kids, we have structure like any other group. We represent several majors, range from freshman to seniors and are happily made up of L,G,B,T, and Q’s. One thing that might surprise people is that we have a fair amount of transgender people in our group. Sadly, that is a group of people completely ignored and whose struggles and lives are dismissed at Biola.