Nineteen Christian colleges throughout the United States don't accept applications from students who identify themselves as homosexual. To protest the admissions policy at these schools, a group of twentysomethings who identify themselves as gay Christians will begin a cross-country trip next month to speak with students and faculty at these colleges.
I do wonder the reasons Christian colleges have for this non-admission policy. I understand Christian colleges must present a biblical perspective on the gay lifestyle. I wonder why there is an outright rejection of any gay applicant. What happens to the young Christian man or woman who is struggling with homosexuality, who longs to immerse themselves in a supportive Christian community during the most difficult and formative years of their life? Does this send a message to them that the church doesn't want them, that their struggle is worse than someone's with heterosexual lust, or with lying, or anger, or hatred?
Are these colleges creating the perception of degrees of sin, albeit unintentionally? It seems when a person is told, directly or indirectly, that their behavior is worse than others, they begin to believe they're at the point of no return. Which leads to thinking there's no opportunity for forgiveness or change.
If the colleges' intent is to protect their other students from behaviors that might lead them down the wrong path, I think they are doing their students a disservice. Gay students need to feel the love of Christ. And maybe to an even greater degree, heterosexual students need to learn how to give it, and be able to vocalize 1) what the Bible says about homosexuality, and 2) how God still loves a person even when he's angered by that person's behavior.
Of course, there are many Christian colleges that consider applications from students who identify themselves as homosexual. Many Christian schools also admit students who aren't Christians. Policies on a number of topics vary widely from school to school, from where students can hang out (some schools don't allow opposite-sex visitations in dorm rooms) to smoking (some Christian colleges allow it).
So, lest it sound like I'm bashing these 19 schools--and they have every right to establish rules and regulations to further their educational and spiritual goals--rather, I'm wondering aloud about the reasoning for no-gays policies. I do respect them for being specific on the issue: It's better to be candid about a college's environment than for a student to enroll and find out they're not wanted there.
I'd love to hear thoughts about the admissions policy of these 19 institutions, especially from Christian college alumni (I didn't attend a Christian college). This is a microcosm of how homosexuals may feel treated by the church at large, thus certainly worthy of discussion.
1) Should Christian colleges allow gay students to apply? Why or why not?
2) How do you communicate God's love without condoning behavior that's antithetical to biblical teaching?
3) What would you say to the organizers of this cross-country trip? How do you feel about the parallels they are drawing between their program and the civil-rights movement?
A 'Freedom Ride' to Anti-gay Colleges