Thursday, August 1, 2013

LGBTQ College Offices: Diversity, Non-Discrimination or Something Else?

In a recent alumni college magazine I receive, a letter to the Editor referred to the newly created Office of LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer or Questioning) Services on the campus of my alma mater as "recognizing diversity among individuals. The office creates a space in which no one is ostracized, marginalized, sidelined or ignored." As a biblical evangelical and an alumnus, I would say "really?!!" On a fairness level, I would ask, Where is the Office of BEC? (Biblical, Evangelical Christianity) Interestingly, biblical evangelical students at the college have been made fun of in class settings (I have witnessed this), ignored by many, and simply not included in many decisions and so-called college progressivism. And this reflects a society today that sees biblical, evangelical people as narrow, bigoted, hateful, repressive and not worthy of respect, a hearing and an audience in planning and promoting.

I can hear my alma mater crying loudly against such an assessment. But I hear more voices there crying against letting these Christian students have a real voice in college affairs, plans and promotion. It has always been so, unfortunately. For all of our swagger, all of our so-called diversity planning and events, the biblically defined evangelical Christian is left behind. Or shuttled to the sidelines. Why? It's not an issue of intelligence, or sophistication, or liberal-arts savvy, or excellence inside and outside the classroom. It is for the simple reason that such people adhere to and proclaim absolute, God-centered truth that trumps all other definitions, all other rationale, all other man-made toleration variables. Where are the biblically defined voices in college forums and special events? Are there not scholars with such values and credentials that can be seen and heard in a liberal arts forum?

And, hence, the problem. For the biblical, evangelical Christian, "truth" is not negotiable. It is not decided by our post-modern proclivity to reading the text "our way." And, from Jesus' own command, the Christian is obligated and commanded to "make disciples" of all peoples--including self-proclaimed LGBTQ people. A thorough and fair examination of biblical texts speak directly against homosexuality and its outcomes. This was true in the ancient Israelite society as well as in the Apostle Paul's day and now in our own. That is interpreted as "hate speech" by a number of LGBTQ people, or simply ignored for the time being. But the biblical, evangelical Christian is under a "higher" authority than any university-related restrictions can ever stifle.

My alma mater has chosen to define "diversity" as inclusive of people they believe have been marginalized for too many years. I say again, "really?!!" What about the marginalization of biblical evangelicals? What about the slighting of biblical, evangelical scholars in the fields of biology and the other sciences? Is this not anti-diversity? It is a fundamental "religious" gut-choice of the university to ban or bar such professionals from interacting with and dialoguing with their students.

So, instead of diversity or non-discrimination, something else is going on. Whether consciously or unconsciously, there is a rejection of Judaeo-Christian moral standards going on. There is a rejection of biblically informed values going on. There is an intentional sidelining of what has been good and wholesome and morally innocent going on. The sad thing is this is not the college I recall or value anymore.