Richard Flory Breaks the News: Gays and Lesbians Attend Christian Colleges!

Richard Flory, USC Center for Religion and Civic Culture

If you don’t know Richard Flory, you should.  He’s the author of several books that explain GenX religion better than just about anything out there.  Before heading to USC, where he is the associate research professor of sociology and Director of Research in the Center for Religion and Civic Culture, he taught at Biola (that’s the Bible Institute of Los Angeles).  He’s written a post with his view on the recent NYT piece on GLBT students at Christian colleges:

At Biola University, where I taught for several years, homosexuality among students, faculty and staff members was an open secret, as it is within most evangelical organizations. But according to the university’s bylaws and public relations officials, there are no gay or lesbian students, and certainly not any staff or faculty who identify as homosexual.

The recent stories in the New York Times and other news outlets, coupled with the outward expressions of belief at Biola and other evangelical schools, suggest that evangelicals have always opposed homosexuality. That notion hinges on the fact that the guiding documents of their organizations, particularly at evangelical colleges and universities, include prohibitions against sexual behavior outside of marriage, whether hetero- or homosexual. Yet this depiction of evangelical culture doesn’t quite square with the history of the schools that serve as its intellectual anchors.

via USC Knight Chair in Media and Religion.

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  • Well, THIS should get interesting. Whenever actual research contradicts public image and/or marketing, the fur usually flies !

    It is going to be fascinating in the coming decade to see how the biological reality (sheer percentage of the population) is held in contrast to those six “clobber” verses. I know how I would love to see this whole thing reconciled… but for the life of me can not figure out how we would possibly get there.

  • Burton Bagby-Grose

    I am gay and I attended a Texas Baptist college. It was actually a great experience with many supportive faculty and students. Don’t know what it would be like now.

  • Charles

    “I know how I would love to see this whole thing reconciled… but for the life of me can not figure out how we would possibly get there.”

    I don’t understand your lack of hope for reconciliation. There are many Christian churches that have already arrived at the point of reconciliation with the “clobber passages.” Have you researched the topic at all?

  • Charles, thanks for asking. I am intimately acquainted with the landscape on this one. But I also spend time with Evangelicals and Charismatics all over N. America who don’t know the difference between exegesis and hermeneutics … and that is a real sticking point on this particular topic.

    I didn’t mean to sound discouraged. I was shooting for somewhere between ‘bewildered’ and ‘baffled’.

  • Robin Magonegil

    I am gay and attended Bethany Bible College in Scotts Valley, CA. I was closeted at the time and although I had my first “real” relationship with another woman at college, I lived in constant fear of having my secret discovered. I have several friends that attended college with me who are also gay or lesbian. I hope that someday gay and lesbian christians will be able to attend Christian colleges and be open and honest with their sexual orientation and that it will be a non issue. That is my prayer.

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