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JewishJournal.com

April 19, 2011

Christian colleges feeling some homosexual tension

http://www.jewishjournal.com/blog/item/christian_colleges_feeling_some_homosexual_tension_20110419/

From today’s New York Times:

Battles for acceptance by gay and lesbian students have erupted in the places that expect it the least: the scores of Bible colleges and evangelical Christian universities that, in their founding beliefs, see homosexuality as a sin.

Decades after the gay rights movement swept the country’s secular schools, more gays and lesbians at Christian colleges are starting to come out of the closet, demanding a right to proclaim their identities and form campus clubs, and rejecting suggestions to seek help in suppressing homosexual desires.

Many of the newly assertive students grew up as Christians and developed a sense of their sexual identities only after starting college, and after years of inner torment. They spring from a new generation of evangelical youths that, over all, holds far less harsh views of homosexuality than its elders.

But in their efforts to assert themselves, whether in campus clubs or more publicly on Facebook, gay students are running up against administrators who defend what they describe as God’s law on sexual morality, and who must also answer to conservative trustees and alumni.

The subject of this story surprised me, primarily because I don’t understand why the NYT reporter was so surprised, just like the LAT was two months ago to find that some crazy Christian colleges disapprove of homosexuality. Also, I’m not sure the reporter realized this, though it seems from later in the story that he did, but there are already Christians that accept homosexuality, even from their spiritual leaders. Growing up “as Christians” doesn’t tell the reader much on its own.

Anyway ... Sarah Pulliam Bailey takes this story to the woodshed over at GetReligion:

The RSS headline reads, “Gay Rights at Christian Colleges Face Suppression,” revealing an underlying sentiment in the story that students’ legal rights are being squelched in this schools that are, of course, voluntary associations. The online headline reads, “Even on Religious Campuses, Students Fight for Gay Identity,” sort of insulting the reader’s intelligence — as though sexuality issues would magically disappear on a religious campus.

The piece deserves Douglas LeBlanc style questions (I marked key phrases in bold letters). Let’s begin with the lead:

Battles for acceptance by gay and lesbian students have erupted in the places that expect it the least: the scores of Bible colleges and evangelical Christian universities that, in their founding beliefs, see homosexuality as a sin.

Why would Bible colleges and evangelical Christian universities be the last place expected for gay and lesbian students to find acceptance? What makes it so unusual? Homosexuality has nothing to do with fundamental beliefs about God, Jesus, heaven, hell, etc., so how is seeing “homosexuality as a sin” a “founding belief”?

There is a lot more of that line-by-line dissection here. Check it out.

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