Got this in last night from reader Jenni French:
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:
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.