The Kansas State Senate on Wednesday passed S.B. 56, with twenty-six Republican senators supporting the measure, and six Republicans and eight Democrats opposing. The bill is ostensibly designed to protect students by making it illegal to display or present material that is “harmful to minors,” such as pornography. But the broad categorizations and vague language [Read More…]
Drew Davis and Juan Varona are two openly gay volleyball players at Erskine University, a private Christian school in South Carolina. Their sexual orientation hasn’t been a secret — it has even been publicized — but the players have often said they felt accepted within the school community.
That’s why last week’s statement against homosexuality by the school took people by surprise:
We believe the Bible teaches that all sexual activity outside the covenant of marriage is sinful and therefore ultimately destructive to the parties involved. As a Christian academic community, and in light of our institutional mission, members of the Erskine community are expected to follow the teachings of scripture concerning matters of human sexuality and institutional decisions will be made in light of this position.
What is that supposed to mean? The monogamy part makes sense, but what does that line mean about how members of the school community are “expected to follow the teachings of scripture concerning matters of human sexuality”? Will openly gay students be expelled? No, say school officials, but they didn’t really elaborate on how they would handle that situation.
I’l admit I laughed at this passive aggressive pushback on the school’s Wikipedia page:
Christianity-Promoting School District Says It Will Look Into Teacher-Led Prayers and Nativity Re-Enactments
The other day, I posted about the Eastern Howard School Corporation, a school district that was frequently violating the Constitution with its promotion of Christianity.
Even when confronted with the problem, district officials didn’t seem to care. Superintendent Tracy Caddell said of any potential complaints: “I mean really, what is a parent going to say — that we want you to love my child less or show them less compassion?” He wrongly equated Christianity with compassion, and that mindset permeated throughout the district.
The Freedom From Religion Foundation very quickly sent a letter to Caddell. They sidestepped the more ambiguous endorsements of Christianity and zeroed in on the most obvious ones mentioned in Lauren Slagter‘s story about the district:
Wheaton College certainly had good intentions when they hosted a Town Hall Chapel for students Monday night. The annual all-school forum is meant to offer an opportunity for students to engage with the College President, currently Philip Ryken, on campus issues.
But the goodwill toward men didn’t last. When Philip Fillion, a straight, married senior at the college, approached the microphone with a question about the school’s stance on same-sex relationships, things got weirdly violent. Fillion read his question aloud from a public Facebook note he’d published:
“All students, via the Community Covenant, and all faculty, via the Statement of Faith, are required to affirm a sexual ethic that denies everyone except celibates and married straight people a place in the kingdom of God. This sexual ethic is not at all universal and depends on a reading of scripture that is incredibly narrow and ignores history, culture, and science. The Statement of Faith and the Community Covenant also lack any language about the sacraments of the Christian church. Why is it the case that our college, in documents we all must agree to or be expelled, insists on formally condemning and denying equality to our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters, on spurious theological grounds, yet completely leaves behind baptism and Eucharist, which Jesus Christ himself instituted to grow and strengthen the Christian community?”
As Fillion was walking back to his seat, someone in the audience chucked an apple at him.
And nobody did anything.
“There was no response when the fruit was thrown. No boos, no gasp,” he says. “A student was in line after me and when it was his turn to ask a question, he began his time at the microphone by calling out whoever had thrown the fruit, remarking that such behavior was inappropriate and disrespectful. There was restrained applause for this.”
“President Ryken did not see the incident and did not fully understand what happened until after chapel ended,” Wheaton College told TIME in a statement.
But that wasn’t the end of it. Shortly after the forum, a person who claims to be the apple-thrower posted a letter defending himself on a public wall at Wheaton designated for sharing student opinions.