A Liberal, Gay Cleric Defends Campus Crusade

Peter Gomes (1942-2011)

It seems that the late Peter Gomes stared down the administration at Harvard University when they tried to oust an evangelical campus group. Gomes won.

Now, Vanderbilt is attempting to do something similar to Cru (the new name for Campus Crusade), and Cru’s defenders are invoking Gomes’s memory in their defense.

From Bob Smietana at the Tennessean:

When Vanderbilt wanted its freshmen students to learn about ethics, the school turned to the late Rev. Peter Gomes to teach them. Gomes’ book, The Good Life, was required reading for the Vanderbilt class of 2015.

Now some critics of Vanderbilt’s nondiscrimination policy hope the school will turn to Gomes, a Harvard professor who died last year, once again.

In 2003, a Christian group at Harvard called the Harvard-Radcliffe Christian Fellowship ran afoul of that school’s nondiscrimination policy because it required its leaders to hold specific beliefs.

Harvard’s administration told the group to change its ways or leave campus. But Gomes, a professor and minister of the Memorial Church at Harvard, defended the student group, saying the university was discriminating against it.

“How can a profession of faith be irrelevant in the leadership of a faith-based group?” he wrote in a 2003 letter to the Harvard Crimson, the university’s student newspaper.

Read the rest: Foes of Vanderbilt’s nondiscrimination policy point to Harvard | The Tennessean | tennessean.com.

RIP, Rev. Dr. Peter Gomes

Peter Gomes has died.  Gomes was the minister at Memorial Church at Harvard University, known for his brilliant intellect and his wonderful preaching.  He was also known for embodying the odd mix of being Christian, black, gay, and Republican.  As the Boston Globe reports,

He was the first black minister of Memorial Church and the first pastor of that church to participate in a US president’s inauguration. The Rev. Gomes also was the only gay, black, Republican, Baptist preacher most people would ever meet. Descended from slaves, he nonetheless delighted in serving as trustee emeritus of the Pilgrim Society and celebrating his hometown’s Mayflower history, a distinctly white Anglo-Saxon Protestant tradition.

Gomes came out as a gay in 1991 and later wrote about that in in several books, including his bestselling, The Good Book.  He even went comedically nose-to-nose with Stephen Colbert: [Read more…]