I’m off to face down Tristyn of Eschatological Psychosis and other fine speakers tonight at the Yale Political Union’s annual Party Prize debate (though I fear the topic “Resolved: Don’t Fear the Reaper” plays to the formidable strengths of someone whose blog includes the tags “Death is the prize” “Tom Waits is the soundtrack to my life” and “Yugoslavia is just a dance party.” Ok, maybe not that last one as much, but who knows?). I’m definitely looking forward to her speech, and I hope she posts it (nudge nudge) after the fact, like she did after the last prize debate. (UPDATE: she did)
While I finish my speech, I wanted to do a quick getting-up-to-speed post on the controversial “ex-gay” Christian speaker who came to campus last weekend for readers who aren’t students (or for students who weren’t following the story). I was luckier than the approximately 50 students who were turned away by fire marshals, and got to see the talk.
I ended up disagreeing with Christian, queer, and queer Christian friends about whether Yuan was offensive and what was the appropriate way to respond to him, so I thought his visit might provide a nice lens for a series of posts on sexual ethics and debating/conversing with people of different religious convictions (a perennial favorite at this blog).
In very brief: Christopher Yuan is, in John Irving’s phrasing, a non-practising homosexual. He was invited to give a series of talks to Yale Christian Fellowship and Yale Students for Christ, but, when word of his visit got out, LGBT groups on campus mobilized and turned up at the talk wearing ALLY stickers. There was no protest or disruption during the presentation, and, after Yuan’s talk, several queer and Christian groups hosted a conversation after the talk.
For more details, check out any of these articles:
“Controversial Minister Draws Outcry” Yale Daily News — Basic overview of the event and reactions
“The Nonsense of Christopher Yuan: the Christian Minister Speaks at Yale about God, Gays, and Holiness” Broad Recognition — Another reporting article which includes video clips from Yuan’s talk
“For a More Open Religious Community” Yale Daily News — Several Christians on campus wrote an op-ed rebuking Yuan for his message.
“Why We Invited Christopher Yuan” Yale Daily News — The Christian groups that invited Yuan issue a partial explanation, partial apology.
“For preaching, protests, proverbs, and proselytizing” Yale Daily News — A Catholic and a Jew team up to write a defense of Yuan and pitch more religious expression on campus
This is part of a series of posts which tackles sexual ethics and debating strategies (but not at the same time)