Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Evolution on a Christian Campus?

At Westmont College, a Christian school near Santa Barbara, Calif., incoming students sign a campus code forbidding "occult practices, sexual relations outside of marriage, homosexual practice, drunkenness, theft, profanity and dishonesty."

Now a campus discussion is underway about one of those activities, and it ain't theft.

The Los Angeles Times
reports that earlier this month an open letter appeared in the college newspaper from 31 gay and lesbian Westmont alumni describing the "doubt, loneliness and fear" they felt while students.

I'm impressed that the 31 found each other. Their gaydar must be as finely tuned as a Bose radio.

Last week, 50 of Westmont's 92 faculty members wrote their own letter, asking "forgiveness for ways we might have added to your pain." In fact, the Times reports Westmont is having a Kumbaya moment, as "parties on all sides are issuing declarations of love and respect, with calls for a campus-wide dialogue."

Yet everyone assumes the ban will remain.

"Administrators say the ban is not on being gay but on the 'practice' — just as there's a ban on sex between unmarried straight students."

Okay, let's say a lesbian 18-year-old agrees to the rule of no sex for all students and enrolls. Can she say she's a lesbian and not suffer any consequences? Can she date (sex-free), just like a straight student? Can she want to have sex really, really badly, just like a straight student?

These are the questions Westmont and some other Christian colleges will apparently sort out over the months and years to come. The fact that they appear willing to face them is progress.

The process will be painful for everyone. I hope their guidance is divine. In both the religious and gay sense.