I was chatting on the phone with a friend the other day who happens to be a professor at a Christian college/university. And we got to talking about the softening of Christian colleges toward GLBT persons — be they students or faculty. And I wondered aloud which school would be the first to accept gay students.
Here are the necessary caveats:
- What is a “Christian” college? That’s a relative description, to be sure, because one could include colleges like Gustavus Adolphus College and St. Olaf College, each affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. But when used in common parlance, a “Christian” college generally refers to an evangelical college, like those associated with the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. So let’s agree on that for a definition.
- Of course, each of these schools has G, L, and B students (and, gasp, faculty!) — some of them even have T students. And, depending on how you define Q (Queer or Questioning), they’ve got some of those, too.
That being said, Christian colleges and universities generally have clearly articulated statements against homosexual sex, like this from the Covenant for Life Together at Bethel University:
The Bible also identifies character qualities and actions that should not be present in the lives of believers. For example: destructive anger, malice, rage, sexual immorality, impurity, adultery, evil desires, greed, idolatry,slander, profanity, lying, homosexual behavior, drunkenness, thievery, and dishonesty…We believe that sexual intercourse and other forms of intensely interpersonal sexual activity are reserved for monogamous, heterosexual marriage. We recognize that sexual purity involves right motives as well as right behaviors.
We prohibit the possession and use of pornographic material. In addition we condemn sexually exploitive or abusive behavior and sexual harassment in any form.
Schools like Bethel have softened their stances on other issues in the last couple decades. For instance, some have dropped their prohibition of off-campus, or even on-campus dancing. Others have allowed their faculty to imbibe alcohol. Etc.
My conjecture is this: While it seems that the Christian colleges in the Reformed tradition have been more progressive in their posture towards traditionally prohibited behaviors like alcohol, dancing, and card playing, I think it will be a school in the Wesleyan tradition that will be the first to open itself to openly gay students.
Do you think I’m off my rocker?