Christians apologizing a new campus craze?

mega-adorable Jenni

Got this in last night from reader Jenni French:

Hi John,

I’ve been following on your blog the story of the girl with the green sweater, and I thought I’d share a story of my own.  I am attending Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana, which is a wonderful, liberal bright spot in the middle of a rather conservative state.  It’s kind of like a mini San Francisco, but with no ocean.  🙂 In any case, I was a bit surprised to hear of this event happening on my campus:

Sexual By Design: A Series of Lectures with Doug Wilson

This man was coming, tonight, to speak at IU to a group from ClearNote Church, an ultra-conservative fundamentalist group in town that sponsors and supports ClearNote Campus Fellowship (CNCF) [which is, according to its website, “a reformed and evangelical Christian student organization (or campus ministry) seeking to reach students at IU with the gospel.”]

I wasn’t that surprised that CNCF wanted this kind of speaker for their meeting. What bothered me more was that it was happening on a secular campus.

I wasn’t the only one who was bothered. (There’s also a Facebook event page about it here.)  A group of students from our campus GLBT office, as well as members of my church’s congregation and several other groups, decided it was important to be a presence at this meeting.  There was a group that would gather outside of the meeting tonight to offer an alternative perspective to the goings on inside, as well as a group actually attending the meeting itself.

I was really, really tempted to attend the meeting. As an ex-fundamentalist and a lesbian, it would have been a chance to flex my Scripture-memory muscles, as well as defend the rest of Christianity. Because really this is what bothered me most about this meeting: anyone on campus who saw the signs advertising it would think, “Great. Another Christian group that hates gays.  Wonderful.”  And then people would get the impression that we’re all like that. But we’re not all like that. And it irks me to no end when people are turned away from God because of the failings of his/her followers, especially when those followers choose to spew hate at a particular group of people just because they’re different

Instead of going to the meeting itself, however, and running the risk of going postal and inviting headlines of “Grad Student Throttles Fundy Speaker,” I decided to stand with the group outside. And I brought my girlfriend with me. And I carried a sign.

After reading about the girl with the green sweater, I had no problem coming up with captions for my sign.  And although I didn’t stay outside as long, or get as wide a range of responses as she did, lots of people read my sign and smiled. And a couple of them came up to hug me because the sign encouraged them.

And that’s the whole point, isn’t it?  We’ve all read about way too many gay teens committing suicide recently, almost to the point where we can sigh and say, “Another one?” whenever we hear the news. But the girl in the green sweater encouraged me to make a sign, which then encouraged others, and hopefully will help stop the madness.

I just thought I’d share.  Maybe you can pass this along to the girl in the green sweater and the brave friend who hugged her.

"Tell me are you a piss-drinker?"

The fundamentally toxic Christianity
"If I may ask, what would you consider a good argument?"

Atheist and Christian argue about hell ..."
"wow....if that last sentence doesn't scream "I'm a racist" nothing does."

The fundamentally toxic Christianity
"Nikki, you naughty boi. You know your mommy banned you from being online unsupervised after ..."

The fundamentally toxic Christianity

Browse Our Archives

What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Beautiful 🙂

  • I would like a shirt with this slogan on so I could wear it around my city.

  • Valerie


  • I would like a t-shirt with this slogan on it to wear around my city.

  • Elizabeth

    Note to self: wear more sweaters. A lovely letter, John.

  • Tammy Lubbers via Facebook

    Wonderful story. Thank you for sharing!

  • Reed

    ““Grad Student Throttles Fundy Speaker” – Oh, Jenni French, I LOVE you.

  • Leslie Marbach

    Wow. I’m just overwhelmed at the outstanding character of both Jenni and Chloe. They both exhibit such kindness, wisdom, and overall maturity than I ever remember having when I was that age. Shoot. I wouldn’t even come out in college because the comments like “ooh, did you know that girl’s a dyke?” were so common that I was scared of being ostracized. And my first college was a women’s college!!

  • LSS

    did Kathy Baldock, of Canyonwalker Connections, start the STR8APOLOGY meme generally? Her original shirts say something like “hurt by church? Get a straight apology here” … Then there’s those demonstrators with the christian apology signs at a Pride somewhere, whose photo of them hugging with a marcher in his underwear kind of went viral.

    Well maybe it doesn’t matter as much who started it, as to support and continue it…

  • Such an awesome woman! This makes me much happy.

  • Laura Bradley

    The mother of the girl in the green sweater says, “Well done, Jenni!”

  • Girl in the Green Sweater

    I definitely can’t take credit for starting this, only for continuing the momentum. I’m so happy to hear that it’s spreading! Jenni, I’m so happy to read your story, so glad we have John Shore to connect us. And I have so much faith that we can stop the madness.

  • LSS

    Which, i meant to say, obviously the young ladies in the recent posts are doing a great job at.

  • LSS

    It’s great to bring it to campuses. We are trying at the college i work at, we had a glbtq/etc. awareness workshop and it was pretty amazing how many people in this extremely conservative town wanted to make things better for glbtq/ students. We hope to have more ally training and some kind of antibullying organization.

  • Annette Ervin via Facebook

    It seems “the girl in the green sweater” has started a movement.

  • Lisa Metzler via Facebook

    THANK YOU, CHLOE!!! And thank you, John, for sharing her with us!!!!

  • Now there is hope that the Christian community won’t be seen as a blight, like it is seen by so many. I believe in good Christians =, but you guys got to stand up or you will become irrelevant.

  • Mindy Brown Carney via Facebook

    Just wonderful. Carry the message forward – –

  • Thanks!

  • Lymis

    Jenni, that’s wonderful. Thank you!

  • Excellent write up Chloe..In the 70’s when I was in College in Chicago, I was harassed by fellow students (all verbal). I hope/don’t think that would happen today. It’s brave people like you who make the path easier for future queers..

  • I am not ashamed of the gospel, but I am ashamed of people who use it as a weapon.

  • PoppynJohn Kelly via Facebook

    Amen!! Thank YOU John Shore for sharing this story and giving us all hope that a new generation WILL Love Others!!

  • Melissa Chamberlin

    Well, John, it looks like you have officially entered the t-shirt market. Me too!

  • Patricia Boese

    What a wonderful act of courage. I think in these times we can no longer refuse to be ambiguous about what side we have chosen and we have to back these decisions with actions whether it is something very active like this loving public act or even something more simple like speaking up when someone is being bullied. To do nothing is to have chosen a side and we must examine our own consciences if we allow ourselves to sleep well, pretending that all is good under the cross we wear if we say nothing while others are hurt and condemned in the name of our Christian God.

  • d-ractor

    Oh aren’t they adorably smug. Most of the ‘apologizers’ need to be apologzing to God for cherry picking scripture on sexuality.

  • Allie

    You seem to be cherry-picking Scripture on being kind to your neighbors and not back-biting.

  • DR

    The cognitive dissonance of comments like this is terrifying. It really is, to think there are parents who display this kind of hostile unconsciousness freaks me out.

  • Soulmentor

    Back in the 90’s I was an activist writer in the regional newspaper here in LaCrosse, Wis. I wrote a LOT of opinion letters and guest columns on gay issues, often in reaction to something that happened or someone said locally or in the state. In one case, a pastor of a conservative church in a nearby town criticized me with the typical charge of “smorgasbording” the Bible to suit my “gay agenda”. WELL……they do have a way of painting targets on themselves don’t they. I wrote back illustrating his hypocrisy with several verses from Leviticus, offering some advice about his wife no longer serving pork dinners, doing his sermons naked rather than wear vestments of differing materials and that perhaps he should condemn to stoning the next congregant that comes to him with an adultery confession, and suggesting that he was indeed, the expert on “smorgasbording” the Bible. My response appeared in the Sunday edition and I have no doubt many of his congregation saw it before attending their church service that morning.

    I never heard from him, or anyone else again about “smorgasbording” the Bible.

  • Christians misusing the gospel make me afraid. ‘Course it’s not like you get a prize for scaring me as i’ve got high blood pressure and fragile nerves. lol.

  • Gene

    Check out this page on the ClearNote Fellowship to see of the truly scary things they believe. It seems to me that their campus ministry is a Trojan Horse that comes in the guise of wholesome Christian fellowship and then, once it gets a foothold, teaches some truly scary things.

  • Tyrannus Evsiceratus

    Christians are never supposed to apologize for their fath in Christ or the actions of other Christians. We are answerable to God himself not Gay rights groups and certainly not some random woman in a sweater with a sign.

    If your embarassed to be a Christian your not a Christian.

    Christianity is not about being politically correct or being cool one day the Antichrist will have dominion over the earth and being a Christian will mean torture and death.

    It is our duty as Christians to remain strong in our faith under pain of death. If we cannot remain strong and United before the meager threats and jabs of politicians and talk show hosts then what hope do we have against the Beast himself and the horrors he will blanket the earth with.

    This woman is an embarassment to all Christian Martyrs especially Saint Georgius who faced execution by the Emperor of Rome rather than recant his beliefs even when the emperor offered him a fortune and a pardon for doing so..

    She doesn’t speak for me.

  • Matthew Tweedell

    You seem to have misunderstood it: she’s *not* apologizing for *her* Christian faith but the “Christian” faith of others—perhaps yours; but then she’s *not* aiming to speak *for* you but in fact against you.

    And let’s leave the deciding of who’s a Christian to Christ, shall we?

    And yes, that does cut both ways: it would perhaps be best if she *didn’t* use quotation marks in that sign. The problem with that though is that—a sign is a concise medium to work with, and certainly so relative a blog comment—it just wouldn’t be sufficiently clear with such a brief statement that, rather than being anti-Christian, she in fact identifies as a Christian herself. Now, you certainly would seem understand the importance of her doing so, as you mistakenly accuse her of being embarrassed to be a Christian when in fact she is out and proud in her Christian identity. I mean, when’s the last time that you stood around on a liberal university campus carrying a sign with a message that clearly identifies you as a Christian? Or is it perhaps you who are more of an embarrassment to Saint Georgius?

  • Tyrannus Evsiceratus

    I would be fine with her holding up a sign that says “Christian” at a liberal college and I would salute her for her bravery, but she isn’t doing that. Even a sign that says Christian for gay marriage would have been fine. I wouldn’t agree with it, but at least it didn’t throw all the other Christians under the bus and she is still promoting her cause as she has the right to do.

    She has a sign that says I am a Christian, but I am not one of those Christians so let me hang out with you.

    Its a I bowed to peer pressure sign not a I am proud of who I am sign.

    When Christians turn against each other or fear to stick up for each other it isn’t a good thing. Christians need to show solidarity and unity under Christ not take shots at each other especially in troubled times.

    I am fine with letting Christ determine who is and who isn’t a Christian.

  • Eric

    She is proud of who she is and she is proud of her religion. She’s openly Christian, and celebrating that fact with a sign that implicitly says so.

    She is insulted by the other Christians. She is not throwing Christianity or all other Christians ‘under the bus’, however, only the ones she morally disagrees with.

  • Tyrannus Evisceratus

    I stand by the fact that Christianity is stronger when we stick together. Lets say I get a sign that says Christians for gay marriage aren’t real Christians(not what I believe per say) and wave it around at Texas A&M. That would be rude right. More importantly while me and her are waving our signs at each other people who aren’t Christian are looking at us like we are crazy. People who maybe were curious about Christianity are now turned off by it. All the Christians in the world are never gonna agree on everything, but we can talk about issues among ourselves and present a United front to onlookers. What we have in differences is tiny compared to what we have in common. Maybe that is too idealistic to be a reality.

  • Christy

    When it came to Injustice and rule based religion lead by pious leadership Jesus didn’t hold back in public when it came to how he dealt with the religious leaders of his day. He offended them. And e didn’t apologize for it.

  • Tyrannus Evisceratus

    That is true. Are Christians doomed to be at odds with each other like Politicians then?

  • de la Nae

    Yes. That is the doom of Free Will.