Christian Professor Compares LGBT Allies to Racists and Calls Trans Identity a ‘Perversion’

Biola University, an evangelical Christian school in southern California, is also home to a secretive LGBT group. It’s brave of those students since the school would expel them if their sexual orientations were ever made public.

Still, the Biola Queer Underground is thriving and they’re now going after a professor who made some horrible remarks at the school.

Dr. Erik Thoennes (right)

Dr. Erik Thoennes — Biola’s “Professor of the Year” in 2003 and 2007 — sat on a panel called “Sexuality Matters” (a panel formed in response to the BQU group) and proceeded to:

1) Compare LGBTQ identities to racist identities.

2) Responded to the question of why there weren’t any Christian pro-gay representatives on the panel by saying, “I wouldn’t want a pro-racist person on this panel if the question were racism.”

3) Called the transgender identity a “dysfunction” and “perversion.”

Seriously, listen to the 1:42 mark of this video:

It’s despicable, even for a professor at a Christian school.

The Biola Queer Underground has started a petition against the professor. They’re not calling for his firing or resignation. They’re simply asking for an apology for ignorant remarks that have nothing to do with the Christian stance on homosexuality.

These comments not only propagate homophobia, transphobia, and a distorted view of racism, but they also directly harm the lives of LGBTQ students at Biola—students who can’t even speak out about their identities for the fear of expulsion. This is not acceptable. We ask Dr. Erik Thoennes to apologize for his deeply harmful homophobic, transphobic, and racist comments; we also ask Biola University to apologize for its lack of Christian LGBTQ affirming voices present in this dialogue and to commit itself to the inclusion of such perspectives in the future.

It’s really not a lot to ask for, which is why I’m amazed Biola has done nothing in response. Sign the petition. Tell people you know to sign the petition. Show Biola that we’re watching to see whether they remain ignorant bigots or have the decency to apologize for crossing a line that’s appalling even to other Christians.

So far, only one other professor has responded to the BQU about the petition at all. And here’s how the petition’s starter put it:

That professor let me know that I probably just misunderstood Dr. Thoennes’ comments, that he never “likened homosexuality to racism,” but was simply “making an analogy.” Last I checked making an analogy implies the terms are, you know, analogous. It was a far cry from an apology let alone a commitment to change.


About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.


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