Diversity=Conformity? Christian Colleges and Homosexuality

It had to happen at some point: the New York Times has discovered the policies against homosexual conduct at Christian colleges and universities. The story is predictable . . . courageous gay and lesbian students struggling for the right to simply be who they are on campuses where administrators have stubbornly refused to recognize that there really is no conflict between Christianity (properly understood, of course) and 21st-century sexual mores.

My alma mater is one of the schools scrutinized in the article, and the university where I now teach has policies similar to those that the students interviewed for the article complain about. I’m basically in agreement with those rules in that they attempt to reflect Biblical teaching in the area of sexual behavior. Students who chafe at these rules have the option to attend other institutions of higher learning.

I’m sure, however, that the people who are always talking about “diversity” will not rest until these policies are overturned by whatever means necessary. In their view, homosexual students and student groups must receive, as the article says, “the moral validation that would come with formal status” on campus, whether or not that validation is in direct conflict with the colleges’ founding principles.

The so-called advocates of diversity really want conformity. They want every institution in society to strike exactly the same posture towards every social and economic issue they consider important. They will use the power of the State to get what they want if their social relations efforts fail to convert pockets of society to their view. The “tolerant” will not tolerate any institutions that prefer to chart a different course.

Now that this issue is on the elites’ radar, I would not be surprised to see calls for the federal government to withhold financial aid from students who attend Christian colleges and universities with rules against homosexual behavior. Diversity advocates know that the feds are so deeply intertwined with the market in higher education that a removal of this subsidy to students could devastate these schools financially. Or the government could threaten to revoke the tax-exempt status of these schools to bring about the same effect. This was the strategy used several years ago against Bob Jones University to force the school to overturn its policy on interracial dating, and it worked.

If Christian colleges are wise, they’ll begin making plans to implement Grove City College’s strategy of weaning themselves off federal funds through the raising of endowment for operating costs. They may not have much longer before events force them into decisions that could compromise their identity.

About Dr. J

I am Professor of Humanities at Faulkner University, where I chair the Department of Humanities and direct online M.A. and Ph.D. programs based on the Great Books of Western Civilization. I am also Associate Editor of the Journal of Faith and the Academy and a member of the faculty at Liberty Classroom.
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12 Responses to Diversity=Conformity? Christian Colleges and Homosexuality

  1. Matt Lee says:

    thanks Jason, your thoughts gave me the boost i needed to write down my own thoughts on the article and issue http://kateel.blogspot.com/2011/04/thoughts-on-harding-universitys-policy.html

  2. worldtake says:

    The policies against homosexuals at any so-called Christian Universities are bigotry plain and simple and Jesus was not a bigot, therefore, your policies are not Christian.

    • Dr. J says:

      Worldtake, since you don’t define your terms, and since the conclusion in your syllogism doesn’t follow from your premises, I don’t think your comment really adds to our understanding of anything. (See, I can do it, too: “X thinks he’s a Christian, but X is a fireman and Jesus wasn’t; therefore X is not a Christian.”)

  3. worldtake says:

    The syllogism may not follow — you say it doesn’t, but that doesn’t convince me — but that doesn’t change the fact that the position of Christians against homosexuality is clearly bigotry. Bigotry against a group of people, who in the claim of the bigots, have “chosen” an evil lifestyle.
    I would like to ask you Dr. J:
    If you are heterosexual when did you choose to be so? I know that I became aware of my sexual preference at about age four and I remember the event clearly. I was sitting on the floor playing with some toys while my mother was conversing with one of her friends at our kitchen table. I glanced under the table and saw the ladies exposed calf and seeing this became instantly physically aroused.
    Even the most precocious human, will not have the understanding of such issues until long after urges in whichever direction occur. Anyone vaguely familiar with Piaget would know that a person would have to be at the level of formal operations to begin to have an understanding of such issues.
    Thousands of(bigotry spawned) studies in this century and the last have never been able to find any environmental or any other influence that can be shown to cause a person to be have one sexual preference or another. From this I conclude that one’s sexual preference is something one is born with. Just like ethnicity, one is born with it and just like with ethnicity, those who attack individuals from such groups of people , are clearly practicing bigotry.
    Expanding my argument beyond the issue of homosexuality, I would like to add that as I see it, bigotry is inherent in the big three (which I call one) religions that dominate our planet and have so increasing over the past 3000 years — Judaism, Christianity and Islam (Judchristlam). In my opinion the bigotry inherent is illustrated for us when the God of Abraham tells us in Exodus 20 “you shall have no other Gods before me.” Taking this further then, all others who do not worship this particular God are immediately designated as inferior. To designate a group is inferior is bigotry, therefore bigotry is inherent in the core belief of those who worship the God of Abraham.

  4. Dr. J says:

    OK, so I suppose you are defining “bigotry” as “designating a group as inferior.” Inferior how? (Malaysians don’t save as much of their incomes as Chinese. Malaysians are thus “inferior” to Chinese in this respect. Is anyone who notes this fact a bigot?) And please explain how exactly it follows that someone who doesn’t follow a rule is automatically designated as inferior.

    Even if we accept what I think is your problematic definition, the Christian position against homosexual behavior and the rules against homosexual conduct at Christian schools are clearly not bigotry. No one at these schools is claiming that people with homosexual impulses, whatever their source, are inferior. And no one is punished for experiencing these impulses.

  5. Human Factor says:

    A response to this blog turned out to be quite lengthy and changed to an independent article. Below is one paragraph. A link has been provided if you are interested in another opinion.

    Does Diversity Equal Conformity?

    Dr. J has expressed an opinion on behalf of himself and his university that students who don’t believe the Biblical teaching in the area of sexual behavior are free to attend other universities and colleges but preferably not his. The tone of his article seems to suggest anger and a sense of frustration. Why? Those students who feel as he does will group together and reinforce personal opinions and beliefs. But when class begins and he looks out over the faces of his students his job is to teach the laid out curriculum not judge the Asian student because of her different religion, or the black student because he has his arm around a white girlfriend, or because some young student is a homosexual . . .

  6. worldtake says:

    One aspect of bigotry is obviously thinking that the group you associate yourself with is superior to some other group. Designating all of those who do not believe in your particular definition of God, as evil and doomed to burning in hell for eternity while you get to play shuffleboard with W Bush for eternity, I think fits this aspect of the definition like a well-fitted glove. In your case, those frying on the devils pitchfork would be all non-Christians — About 5 billion people worldwide?

    Of course you will not accept my definition of bigotry, because it does not jive with your belief system. Whenever there is a disagreement with something that is believed absolutely, of course the critical mind of the believer is not allowed to function. This is why I claim that religious study by the religious, is an oxymoron. There can be no religious study by the religious. True believers involved in “study” are only seeking affirmation of their existing beliefs and ignoring everything else — as they are instructed by the bible.
    Am I saying that you do not have a functioning critical mind? No, I am sure that you know not to step in front of a speeding bus and being a literature professor can examine secular texts critically quite well, but since you are obviously one of the faithful, in that area of your faith, your absolute belief negates your critical thinking. They(homosexuals) are not considered inferior huh? Ask them and see what they think about their automatic second-class status in your educational community and see how they answer that question. Of course those who have not been brainwashed into thinking that what they are makes them evil by nature and who have enrolled with charlatans who claim they can cure them of their homosexuality as if it were a disease and not just a natural condition of humanity might agree with you. Also of course most homosexuals, unless they also have masochistic tendencies, would not choose to attend a conservative Christian university such as yours, so I suppose your homosexual population is small — I would hope so for their sake.

    • Dr. J says:

      Worldtake, your comments above indicate that you don’t have a very good understanding of the fundamental Christian doctrines of man’s sinful nature and the Atonement. Christianity teaches that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3). All are evil by nature. All, myself included, deserve to burn in hell. That some will not is purely the result of God’s grace. Those who are redeemed are not superior to those are not.

      “There can be no religious study by the religious.” If I understand you correctly, you are saying that the only way one can reasonably and objectively judge the truth claims of a religion is to decide in advance that they are false. On its face, that is a preposterous claim that you would laugh out of the room if it were made about anything other than religion. Positioning yourself as a neutral, unbiased observer on this question won’t work. If you want to play that game, I’ll just respond that there are things you believe absolutely (such as that the scriptures can’t be true) that you can’t think about critically. I can make all the same observations about your bias on the one side that you can make about mine on the other.

      The temptation to engage in homosexual behavior is one of many temptations people encounter as a result of our fallen nature. Not everyone encounters the same temptations, though. Homosexual acts are not something I’m tempted to engage in. However, I am often tempted to do other things equally condemned by the scriptures and the codes of conduct at Christian colleges. I pray for strength to resist these temptations and sometimes ask others (you might call them “charlatans”) to help me resist them.

      It would be easy for me to label as “bigots” the people who, from scripture, condemn the sinful actions I’m tempted to engage in. I could just say that God made me this way and that it must be OK for me to do these things. The only problem is that it wouldn’t be true.

  7. worldtake says:

    You addressed one point of my original post, but you didn’t explain when you decided to be a heterosexual.

    • Dr. J says:

      I don’t know. It is a moot point, because the Christian teaching against homosexual conduct stands regardless of the source of the impulses that influence people to engage in that conduct.

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