An Open Letter to Evangelical College Students

Dear Students of Bethel UniversityCrossroads CollegeCrown CollegeNorth Central UniversityNorthwestern College, and Oak Hills Christian College,

A year from now, we in Minnesota will be voting on an amendment to our state constitution.  If passed, that amendment will define “marriage” as exclusively between a man and a woman.

There are many problems with this proposed amendment, but that’s not the point of this letter.

Christians are divided on this issue.  Honest, earnest, Bible-believing Christians disagree on whether a monogamous, Christ-centered, same-gendered relationship can be pleasing to God.  I’m on one side of this issue, while many Christians whom I trust and respect are on the other side.

The point is this: there are many students and faculty at your schools who oppose this amendment; indeed, there are many students and faculty at your college who support gay marriage.  Believe it or not, there are even gay students at your school.

Surveys show that your generation is very positive about gay rights and gay equality.

But I fear that, in spite of stated commitments to academic freedom, the administrations of your colleges will not facilitate an environment on campus where you or your professors can speak freely about your opposition to the amendment, nor your support for gay civil union and/or marriage.  I fear that the threat of reprisals against students and faculty are too great, and that you will be condemned to silence.

I am trying to find a way to facilitate conversations among evangelical college students and faculty in Minnesota who are against the amendment, or who are undecided.  If you are interested in such a conversation, please email me.  I promise that your identity will be protected and will remain secret, unless you choose to reveal it.  When you write me, please send me any suggestions you might have on how we can have this conversation over the next year.

You are not alone,

Tony Jones

  • CJ

    I teach at one of these schools and I have a student writing his research paper on whether churches should allow homosexuals to participate in the community. He’s coming to what will be considered a fairly liberal conclusion–yes, they should and no, homosexuality is not a sin–based on his research. At the end of the semester he and the other students will give brief oral reports on their research topics. I hate that I have to ask him if he’s prepared for the potential fallout of presenting this information, a question I don’t feel the need to ask about any other topic being researched by the class. I worry he’s going to get hit with a label–heretic, liberal, fag–so early in his college career. Maybe the other students will rise to the occasion, but I have my doubts about a few of them. I’ve talked about this with him and he says he’s ready. I rarely play my own liberal hand in the classroom, but I did tell him I had his back on this.

    Anyway, I’m wondering if this is the only place you’re posting this letter. It’s something they need to know about.

    • http://tonyj.net Tony Jones

      CJ, where else should it be posted? I feel that posting this on the Facebook pages of these schools would be an ethical breach by me. I’m not part of those communities, so I’d rather have students run across my post and spread the word themselves.

      But what do you think?

      • CJ

        Not sure–I agree that it would be overstepping to post it on an official school page. I wonder if you could get Justin Lee to post it on his site. I’m thinking about other places those students might be inclined to wander online–maybe Brian’s site, etc.,–places where students who are thinking about these issues might be looking for information, support, ideas, etc.

        • http://www.onewheaton.com Jessica

          I was just linked to this letter and wanted to say thank you for your call for open and honest dialogue Tony.

          In case you haven’t done it already, I would suggest that you circulate your supports to the college’s LGBT alumni networks. While I don’t specifically know if these colleges have organized groups, my experience organizing with Wheaton College’s LGBT alumni group, OneWheaton, makes me think they likely do. (Here’s one out Bethel alumni I found through a quick search: http://www.soulforce.org/article/1015) Another great avenue to spread your message would be through Coming Out Covenant (http://comingoutcovenant.com) or by reaching out to Andrew Marin’s Love is an Orientation blog.

          Just my two-cents. We’ve also posted your blog on OneWheaton’s facebook page :).

          Great letter Tony!

    • http://jontrouten.blogspot.com/ Jon Trouten

      It’s a liberal conclusion that gay poeple should be allowed to participate in the community? It’s *our* community, too. Why wouldn’t we be allowed to participate in our communities like anyone else?

      • CJ

        Jon, at colleges like these, this is a “liberal” conclusion.

        • http://jontrouten.blogspot.com/ Jon Trouten

          SRSLY? Just to clarify we’re talking about physical communities (like the city of Rochester, MN) as opposed to church communities (like membership at 1st Generic Church), right? If so, what hope is there for coexistence?

  • http://emarkthomas.wordpress.com/ Ethan

    As a former gay student at a Christian college – admittedly in New York – this means a lot to me. Thank you, Tony, and everyone who gets involved. Thank you. God bless and protect you, and may the Spirit move so that the Father may be glorified.

  • Frank

    Dear students,

    Nowhere in the bible is homosexuality mentioned in a positive light. Every instance of marriage spoken about directly or indirectly, including the words of Jesus, speaks about husband- male and wife- female.

    Anyone who says differently, demand scriptural support for their assertions. Homosexuality is a sin according to the bible and there is absolutely zero support otherwise.

    • Amykck

      Please read “A Letter to Louise” http://www.godmademegay.com
      My niece asked me to read it about a year before she came out. It helped me so much to be open to other ideas about what the Bible is saying and not saying about homosexuality.

    • http://getoutfromunderit.blogspot.com Andy Sherwin

      Electricity isn’t spoken of in the bible in a positive light. You’d better shut off your refrigerator. Unless you want to admit that you’re myopic, reading selectively, and bringing your own cultural biases to a text full of its own.

      Adultery is a sin. Should it be illegal? Should the government press charges against cheaters? I personally think that a complete lack of ethical discourse or intellectual pursuit, such as what you’re so flagrantly displaying, is a sin. I’d like your marriage to be invalidated, please.

    • Curtis

      Dear students,

      Nowhere in the bible is eating shrimp mentioned in a positive light. Every instance of seafood spoken about directly or indirectly, including the words of Jesus, speaks about seafood that has fins or scales.

      Anyone who says differently, demand scriptural support for their assertions. Eating shrimp is a sin according to the bible and there is absolutely zero support otherwise.

      • Mike B

        Actually, Acts 10 speaks in a positive light of eating those foods previously forbidden under the old covenant. This would include shrimp.

        • Curtis

          Indeed. And the “voice from above” did not limit itself to forbidden food. The command was “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.” That means *anything*. Perhaps this is the verse Frank is looking for?

          • Mike B

            Curtis, that doesn’t mean *anything*, only anything “that God has made clean.” Frank’s original point makes it quite clear what God *didn’t* make clean.

    • Frank

      You can deflect, spread disinformation, show your misunderstanding of the law and the different types of law but until you can provide scriptural support saying otherwise, homosexuality is still a sin.

      • Curtis

        Please provide scriptural support for these “different types of law”. Until you do, I will assume you are trying to deflect, spread disinformation, and show your misunderstanding of God’s grace.

        • Frank

          I am happy to provide what you ask and will you provide what I ask: Show me any scriptural support for Gods condoning and blessing homosexual relationships.

          Ceremonial Law: This type of law relates to Israel’s worship. (Lev 1:1-13) The laws pointed forward to Jesus Christ and were no longer necessary after Jesus’ death and resurrection. Though we are no longer bound to them, the principles behind the ceremonial laws, that is to worship and love God, still apply.

          Civil Law: This law dictated Israel’s daily living (Deut 24:10-11); but modern society and culture are so radically different that some of these guidelines cannot be followed specifically. The principles behind the commands are used to guide our conduct.

          Moral Law: The moral laws are direct commands of God. A good example are the Ten Commandments (Ex 20:1-17). The moral laws reveal the nature and will of God, and still apply to us today. We do not obey this moral law as a way to obtain salvation, but to live in ways pleasing to God.

          As far as shrimp goes:

          “While it is true that the word abomination is applied to both homosexuality and to dietary violations in the King James Version of the Bible, it must be noted that the KJV uses abomination for several distinct Hebrew words in the Old Testament. The Hebrew term used with respect to forbidden foods in Leviticus 11 (shaqats) is not conceptually similar to the term used to condemn homosexuality (to ebah) in Leviticus 18:22. Even in the listing of sexual sins, no category except homosexuality is followed immediately by the warning that it is an “abomination” (NKJ) or “detestable,” (NIV )

          So, why do Christians feel free to ignore OT commands regarding food laws in Leviticus, but insist that the commands regarding homosexual practice are still binding?

          The language and context used for these words makes it clear that food laws were distinctively Jewish laws, while the prohibition on homosexuality is a law binding on all nations, and so serious that their failure to observe it was part of the reason for God bringing severe judgement on them.

          The teaching of the New Testament clearly indicates that food laws (as well as some other ceremonial laws) are not binding in the post-Jesus period in which the good news goes to all nations.

          The OT framework on sexual ethics (permanent heterosexual marriage only) is reinforced and tightened by Jesus, never revoked, and male-male sex is specifically highlighted by Paul as an example of one of the most serious and flagrant sins, using exactly the terminology of Leviticus.

          http://lukeplant.me.uk/blog/posts/why-eating-shrimps-is-not-like-homosexuality/

          So can you answer my question? Anyone? Show me any scriptural support for Gods condoning and blessing homosexual relationships.

          • Curtis

            The terms “Ceremonial Law”, “Civil Law” and “Moral Law” are not found in the Bible anywhere. Why do you demand that other people defend their hermeneutics with specific, verbatim, scriptural references when you don’t have to yourself?

            By the way, Paul was just as hard on immoral male-female relations as he was on immoral same-sex relations. He didn’t condemn gay sex, he condemned immoral sex of any kind, whether straight or gay.

          • Frank

            Curtis really? You object to those classifications and the support behind them?

            I think you need to do some more studying about what Paul meant. Homosexuality is a sin, plain and simple and no amount of theological wrangling will ever change that so stop deceiving people!

            How about you show us some scriptural support for your position if you can?

  • http://pantheon.yale.edu/~kd47 Keith DeRose

    Frank: Do you think those in favor of gay marriage should be free to make their case in these institutions, or do you think they (students and faculty) should be subject to discipline for doing so? If the case is as one-sided as you think, do you take the “refute them” attitude that the other side should be freed up to make their arguments, so they can then be shot down decisively, or are you more a “silence them” guy? Just wondering, really.

    • C. Ehrlich

      I think a lot of people might sympathize with the “silence them” attitude when it comes to the arguments of flat-earthers or of the racist arguments of eugenics. Perhaps some ideas are just too daft or (morally?) irresponsible to merit the protection of academic freedom. Conservative evangelicals might try to make a case that, similarly, some ideas are just too doctrinally irresponsible within their institutions. If that is the defense, then we should certainly press them to try to make that case–especially for the issue at hand (where such a defense isn’t promising).

      • http://pantheon.yale.edu/~kd47 Keith DeRose

        Right, or at least (even if they don’t make the case for silencing) they should have to come out and say they’re for silencing. And whether they’re for silencing or not, they should have to acknowledge that the other side is being silenced, where that is the case. What’s to be avoided is them being able to make their ground-level case as if they’re participating in a fair debate, when in fact their opponents are not allowed to respond.

    • Frank

      Keith yes they should. And frankly I believe people can be with anyone they want. But when Christians try and say that the bible says homosexuality is something God condones, they are simply lying.

      I have yet to see a cogent argument that homosexuality is not a sin and certainly no one has provided any scriptural support for that position. All we see is word games, a distortion of platonic biblical relationships and secular reasoning.

      • Chris

        Paul doesn’t necessarily condone marriage either. He basically says “get married if you have to but I would rather you not.”

        I don’t wake up and decide to be attracted to my wife every day. I just am. Who am I to say who one should be attracted to?

        And for the record, I love shrimp.

      • Scot Miller

        Frank, I don’t disagree with you that the Bible (probably) regards homosexuality as a “sin,” but I’m a bit skeptical of the hermeneutic you employ to interpret exactly what that means. I’m pretty sure that the Bible reflects the historically conditioned understanding of a particular group or believers, but it’s not so clear that the Bible expresses “God’s point of view.” At best, the Bible is the reflection of a people who tried to make sense of their encounters with God. After all, it is inconceivable that any finite, human, historically conditioned mind could possibly understand the infinite, divine, unconditioned mind of God without distortion. In short, we can only understand God in human ways.

        For example, passages like Deut. 3:3-6 or 1 Sam. 15:1-3, say that the Lord commanded his people to certain men, women, and children, who were God’s enemies. If I follow your hermeneutic, I couldn’t really say that God considers infanticide as a sin, but as a morally permissible action. And in Psalm 137:9 actually attaches a blessing of sorts to killing the babies of God’s enemies: “Happy shall he be who takes your little ones and dashes them against the rock!” I would argue that the command to kill babies is morally wrong, and utterly inconsistent with God’s goodness. For me, it makes more sense to see these passages as barbaric attempts to justify morally impermissible actions by saying, “God told us to do it.” (There are also some dubious theological messages here, but I think I’ve made my point.)

        When it comes to the issue of homosexuality, it is not at all clear that the Bible is objecting to the same practices as we understand today. The Bible clearly objects to using people as means to achieve selfish sexual gratification (which is objectionable for heterosexuals or homosexuals). It is not at all clear that Paul or any other biblical writer was addressing the possibility of same-sex couples involved in mutually respectful and loving relationships. So the biblical objections to homosexuality also have a historical context, and are probably not addressed to the practice of homosexuality as we understand this concept today.

        God does not condone using people as objects for selfish gratification, but I’m not so sure this is an objection is to homosexuality per se. If you continue to maintain that God is opposed to homosexuality (indeed,l that homosexuality is a “sin”), then my question to you would be, “Why? Does God have any plausible moral reasons to object to loving and respectful same-sex couples, or is God just homophobic?” Because I have yet to see a cogent argument why God or anyone should consider homosexuality a sin.

        • Frank

          Scot there is certainly a debate about the inerrantancy of scripture and whether it is actually the word of God, mans flawed attempt at the word of God or something else entirely. I won’t go into this topic here but I do believe that the bible is the word of God and has no errors. It is difficult to have a theological discussion with those that don’t believe this because they always just fall back on the same position which is a dead end.

          Yes there are seeming contradictions in scripture which can be troubling. However when taken as a whole, God commands us not to kill. I know of no one who would say otherwise. Now I understand that some argue for justifiable killing but even they would not say that God says its ok for us to kill under all circumstances.

          As far as homosexuality is concerned I stand by my original post. Every mention of coupling in a positive light is man/husband and woman/wife. You just cannot get around that.

          As far as the word homosexual, do a search for THE SOURCE AND NT MEANING OF ARSENOKOITAI, WITH IMPLICATIONS FOR CHRISTIAN ETHICS AND MINISTRY James B. De Young

          As for your last question God is not homophobic, God does not fear, however God does not tolerate sin.

          The bible itself and many greater scholars than I have adequately laid out the clear case of sinful sexual practices, homosexual practice being one of them

          • Scot Miller

            Why is homosexuality a sin? Is the objection a religious objection or a moral objection? If it’s a religious objection (e.g., our religious tradition frowns on homosexuality, so if you want to be part of our religious tradition, don’t be gay), then the scope of the objection is rather limited. Objecting to being gay would be like objecting to dancing or alcohol or playing cards – not really a moral objection, but one that specifies how one’s group does things. On the other hand, if the objection is moral, you’re going to have to do better than “God says it’s immoral.” Why would God object? Does God have moral reasons, or is God just arbitrary?

          • Frank

            Scot I am not sure what you are looking for.

            God created man and woman and said be fruitful and multiply. God declared this good! Sin entered the picture and distorted everything including sexuality.

          • Scot Miller

            Frank, either God has intelligible moral reasons which other moral beings could grasp or God has no such reasons. It may be that the biblical objections to homosexuality are not really moral reasons, but reflect cultural objections that are not universally binding. Surely you can explain what the moral reasons are behind the Bible’s objection to homosexuality. So far, all you have said is that the Bible objects to homosexuality and praises heterosexuality, but you don’t explain why homosexuality is morally wrong.

          • Frank

            Scot the truth is that I have, you simply refuse to see.

            Simply – God created man and woman to be fruitful and multiply. Jesus confirms this. Therefore any other sexual expression is against Gods design and if God is perfectly moral than anything against Gods design by nature is immoral.

            This is affirmed all throughout the bible.

            So where do you get your opinion or is it simply arbitrary?

  • Charles

    Thank you, Tony, for this post. Diverse Christian families, such as ours, appreciate the thoughtful support of compassionate faith leaders.

    I’m curious, as is Keith DeRose I suspect, how ridged, conservative Christians deal with Galatians 3:28.

  • Patrick

    Welcome to the wonderful world of academia – where all points of view (we agree with) are tolerated! This is what it feels like to be a conservative on just about any college in the US. Karl Rove can’t speak, pro-Israelies can’t speak, the Army can’t recruit and the list goes on.

    It is wrong for universities (of all places!!) not to welcome and support the airing of all views.

    • Jonathan

      Well said, Patrick. I’m attending a rather liberal grad school, and a colleague of mine once whispered to me, “I believe in ‘the good,’ but please don’t tell anyone!”

      In either case, conservative or liberal, civil conversation and argument should never be subject to disciplinary action.

    • http://pantheon.yale.edu/~kd47 Keith DeRose

      I work at a liberal university. They had no problem with me being a Christian, and, though my political and theological views are in fact quite moderate (and would probably be thought quite liberal by many evangelicals), I’m quite sure my school would have little problem with my having even conservative views (unless, e.g., I had views about women or gays or some other group which would lead me to treat them badly). Meanwhile, I’ve spoken with Christians who teach at Christian colleges, and have been, e.g., called into the college president’s office, had their job threatened, and told they had to withdraw a paper from being published because it expressed a view that the president deemed theologically out-of-bounds. I am very grateful for the religious freedom I enjoy. At the same time, I’m also grateful for many of the great teachers I had at the Christian college I attended who served where they did despite, I imagine, wishing they had more religious freedom.

      • Jonathan

        So Keith, if you or I showed up in our classrooms next week and taught that Jesus was the only way to heaven, and that all unbelievers would go to hell, you think our respective schools would be ok with that? If so, you teach at a much stranger liberal university than I do.

        That said, you have made me reconsider something. I was thinking mostly along the lines of disciplining students, not teachers. Teachers do have certain responsibilities to teach true, relevant ideas, and I can see firing a math teacher for teaching wrong math, or an English teacher for teaching that Dickens wrote Hamlet, and so I can therefore see situations where firing a theology teacher for teaching wrong theology by the institution’s credal standards would be appropriate.

        • Scot Miller

          I taught philosophy at a Southern Baptist college for 13 years. Some student complained to the administration about what I was teaching, and I was called in to the Academic VP. When I invoked “academic freedom” in defense of what I was teaching, I was told that “The institution has academic freedom, not the individual instructors.” I couldn’t believe that, and asked the VP if he was kidding. He wasn’t kidding, just following the advice of the lawyers for the private, church-related university, who can discriminate against anyone in order to fulfill its private, church-related mission.

          As far as teaching that “Jesus is the only way to heaven, and that all unbelievers would go to hell,” I would suggest that a university (ought to be) a community of scholars in search of the truth. If the teaching you describe about Jesus a dogmatic belief that can’t withstand rational scrutiny in the marketplace of ideas, then don’t expect any kind of privilege for it. The strength of one’s convictions is no substitute for strength of rational argument. If you have a lousy argument, or simply make unsupported dogmatic statements, don’t expect other rational people to take you very seriously.

        • C. Ehrlich

          Jonathon, do the credal standards of these institutions really require students/faculty to vote one way or the other over the wording of the state’s constitution? Is there no room for reasonable disagreement regarding the proposed amendment even among those who support the credal standards of the given universities?

          (I suppose you’ve realized how inappropriate it would be to teach that “all unbelievers would go to hell” in the typical university course, whether or not the institution is “liberal”.)

        • http://pantheon.yale.edu/~kd47 Keith DeRose

          Jonathan: As far as teaching goes, of course one can’t just start teaching something irrelevant to the class the students decided to take, or create a class for proselytizing for one’s own religion, for that matter. I’m a philosophy teacher who does teach philosophy of religion. So it would be no problem discussing the philosophical aspects of exclusivism, and it wouldn’t be a problem if I was defending exclusivism, so long as the whole thing were suitably focused on philosophical issues–which it easily could be. As it happens, I am an exclusivist Christian–one who does believe that Christ is the only way to salvation, and I have had occasion to discuss this in class – with no trouble. But that’s because philosophy of religion is one of my teaching areas.

          What I was talking about was people being disciplined for what they write. I’m sure there would be no problem with my job if I started writing on the side in religious publications about how Jesus was the only way to heaven, etc. — so long as I also kept up with my philosophical writing, which is a big part of what I’m hired to do.

          As it happens, I have written something along these lines. I have had an on-line paper, which takes the position that Christ is the only way to salvation, posted for years at my Yale web site: http://pantheon.yale.edu/~kd47/univ.htm . So far (after about 13 years), no trouble. The paper’s position has no one going to hell, at least forever. But I’m sure I could also have defended that, too, so far as job actions go. And, as I said, the paper does advocate “exclusivism”: the position that Christ is the only way to salvation.

          • Jonathan

            Thanks for your reply. Exclusivism was just something I thought would not go over very well were I to teach it (as true) in a classroom. In some ways justifiably so, I’m not meaning to make an argument about that. I’m glad you have the freedom to publish as you like.

            And you make a good point, secular schools don’t much care what you write about religion (as long as you don’t say the earth was made in six days, or something like that), while Christian schools do, and are willing to discipline for it. But I really can’t see this as inappropriate. Christian schools have a responsibility to honor God, which secular schools do not. If a teacher is writing something blasphemous, blatantly contradictory to the school’s credal beliefs, and dishonoring to the living God, how can the administrators, in good conscience, maintain him as a teacher?

            Granted, this does require administrators to decide what counts as “blasphemous” or “dishonoring,” but it seems like an necessary practice if the school wants any sort of religious or theological identity. Academic freedom is fine and all, but it isn’t educations highest value.

            That said, I’m not sure state constitution politics really qualifies for the blasphemous/dishonoring thing. Please understand I’m not arguing anyone should be silenced on this issue Tony brought up. I’m more just exploring the contours of academic freedom and theological integrity. (If this isn’t the place for that, just let me know. There are no doubt more important conversations that need to take place here!)

  • Patty

    As a former Catholic and the mother of a lesbian I am happy to discover this conversation. My daughter and her partner worked tirelessly to defeat Prop 8 in California where they live. Their efforts were not equal to the excessive amounts of money spent by the Mormon Church and other religious entities.
    I see a similar battle in Minnesota. The Catholic Church is targeting gay marriage as though it’s recent scandals haven’t lessened it’s moral authority to do so.
    My Catholic school education showed me the subtle and persuasive ways that schools can lead students to bigotry…as in “pray for the sinners”. A reading of Bishop John Spong’s “Manifesto” is a very reasoned response to those who support their homophobia with Bible verses.
    As Minnesota begins a year where fear and hate will be used to make gay and lesbians “the other” I am glad to know that there will be a dialog that supports students who question the morality of their institutions stance on this issue.

  • Jeff Wilfahrt

    Marriage is a legal construct. At all marriages a legal document is signed and witnessed. The fact that DOMA, the Defense Of Marriage Act, exists verfies marriage is a legal construct.
    To deny access to the courts to seek legal redress and appeal DOMA via a constitutional amendment is un-American. Proponents of this amendment are placing their sentiment above the rights of their fellow citizens to access the courts.
    Defend the constitution in the ballot box. Vote NO.

    Jeff Wilfahrt, father of CPL Andrew Wilfahrt, 552 MP Company, KIA 2-27-2011, Kandahar, Afghanistan

  • Jay

    If a man in a heterosexual relationship, finds himself attracted to another man, does that mean he is gay? Should he remain in his heterosexual relationship or should he leave it and enter a committed relationship with another man? Yet perhaps he is actually bi-sexual in his orientation, and not sure which way to go. Would perhaps polyandry be a more realistic option for him? Now actually, I myself am a man in a heterosexual relationship, yet I find myself naturally attracted to other women. I guess I was born this way. Is this attraction wrong? Must I continue to fight against this attraction, or could I also enter a polygamous relationship. At least in the Bible there is considerable examples of godly men which had such marriages. Surely there were polygamous relationships in the time of Jesus’ earthly ministry, yet he never spoke a word against it.

    • LectorEl

      Attraction is not a law. It is possible to feel physical attraction, personal admiration, lust, intellectual connection, sincere affection and/or any combination of the above, without having to act upon it romantically. As I suspect you very well know, Mr. Smug Hypothetical Questions.

      You, being in a committed relationship, have an obligation first and foremost to do right by your current partner. Whether that means you two acknowledge the attraction and work together to overcome it, remove yourself from the environment where the person lives, part ways, seek counseling, or decide to experiment with polyamory depends on personality, practicalities, circumstances, and personal philosophies.

      And no, a man attracted to a women and a man is not gay. He’s bi- or pan-sexual.

  • http://late-emerger.blogspot.com Andrew Martin

    A lot of the comments here seem to miss the point: it’s not about the conclusion, it’s about having the freedom to discuss openly the different perspectives brought to this particular amendment vote.

    If College is not a safe place in which to ask difficult questions, to dialogue around and challenge received wisdom, then it is hard to argue that it is engaged in education- “indoctrination” might be closer to the mark.

    If Tony is able to facilitate an alternative safe ‘place’ where free discussion can take place, that can be only good – unless you happen to believe that the ‘truth’ is too fragile to be subjected to that treatment.

  • Kevin Gasser

    I just don’t understand why Christians, at times, will try to legislate ethics when no one is being harmed. I understand the arguements that say that same-sex marriage is degrading the morality of our society but the facts just don’t seem to back it up. I believe that how we interpret the scriptures and live them out should be task best left to our faith communities, not our secular governments. I agree with those who have questioned why this sin is lifted out by some groups and not another (eg divorce, adultery, etc.)

    • David Moore

      “I just don’t understand why Christians, at times, will try to legislate ethics”
      To try to limit stealing, murder, sexual deviancy, etc.

      Starting this off, Tony Jones said, “If passed, that amendment will define “marriage” as exclusively between a man and a woman.” As if this is something new and radical! I’ve seen this said many times by people who argue for same-sex marriage. We have man-woman marriage for all of human history, and now that it becomes necessary to codify what has always been understood, defenders of marriage are accused of writing something radically new into law. Astounding!

      • http://tonyj.net Tony Jones

        Dave, you’re not reading very carefully. Try again, and tell where I imply that this proposed amendment would codify something new.

        • David Moore

          You say, “If passed, that amendment will define “marriage” as exclusively between a man and a woman.” (Why is marriage in quotes?)

          You write that as if that is not the definition now, although it obviously is. “If passed” you say. If passed, marriage will still be between a man and a woman, as it has always been, both in law and in common usage, in all civilizations.

          • http://tonyj.net Tony Jones

            I put that word in quotes because that is the word being defined by the amendment. They’re not rhetorical quote marks.

            Jeez, maybe you’re the one who needs to take a deep breath.

          • Chris

            “Jeez, maybe you’re the one who needs to take a deep breath.”

            When someone makes a valid point that you don’t agree with,
            resort to snark.

  • Patrick

    Bingo, Andrew. Indoctrination is the perfect word. If universities had shame, they would rethink how they treat those who don’t subscribe to global warming, or Keynes, or Palestine, or Obama, or the UN, or culture over God.

    • http://late-emerger.blogspot.com Andrew Martin

      Patrick, yes and no. The power dynamic means that there is a significant difference between acceptance of diversity among the faculty compared to accepting dissenting students.

      As a faculty member in a university, I have a huge amount of freedom to express my point of view, on a broad range of topics, certainly including those you list – but my colleagues are not compelled to respect that point of view, and their lack of respect could be manifest through ridicule or loss of preferment.

      As an educator, if my students learned more about my views than they did about ways to reach their own conclusions, I would have failed in my task. That said, I don’t believe that value-free education is possible (or even a meaningful concept, really), so I will necessarily pick and choose the material I introduce to the class, based on my perception of what is worth knowing about.

  • Bethel Student

    I go to Bethel University and get very frustrated with the fact that these issues cannot be discussed. I can guess that it will only get more frustrating as voting day nears and I think about how misinformed a lot of my classmates are.


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