Gay Activists Target Christian Colleges

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A group of alumni from Wheaton College have formed OneWheaton, an
organization to provide
support for the gay community on the conservative Christian campus and
to promote the view that homosexual practice is compatible with the
Christian faith.

“If you are a student and this is part of
your story, your sexual identity is not a tragic sign of the sinful
nature of the world,” a letter to Wheaton students posted on the group’s website reads. “You are not tragic. Your desire for
companionship, intimacy and love is not shameful. It is to be affirmed
and celebrated just as you are to be affirmed and celebrated.”

letter, worded as a response to “a recent chapel message on Sexuality
and Wholeness,” is followed with a list of several hundred alumni
signatories—all of whom are either homosexual or support the
campaign—with their graduation years and cities. The group’s organizers
also reached out to students by distributing informational fliers
outside a chapel service, prompting an internal email from Dr. Philip
Ryken, college president, affirming “the full humanity and dignity of
every human being, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender
identity” but restating the school’s biblical position on homosexual

OneWheaton’s campaign is the most recent incident in a string of
challenges to Christian colleges’ policies on sexuality. The pro-gay
advocacy group Soulforce organizes events to put pressure on Christian
colleges and churches to embrace homosexuality. Since 2006, Soulforce
has conducted annual “Equality Rides” that have demonstrated at schools
such as Oral Roberts, Regent and Lee Universities. Soulforce has has
also demonstrated outside well-known megachurches and met with pastors
such as Eddie Long and Joel Osteen in an attempt to persuade them to
adjust their views on homosexuality.

While some schools have held
firm in their prohibitions against homosexual behavior, others have bent
to student pressure and allowed gay student organizations. An April 18 New York Times
article noted the presence of an unrecognized “club to discuss
sexuality and fight homophobia” at Baylor University (a historically
Baptist school), as well as similar groups at Abiline Christian and
Harding Universities.

As many Christian college students receive
federal and state financial aid, it remains to be seen if the debate
will remain in the realm of public conversation and move toward legal
challenges for schools that maintain conservative standards regarding
students’ sexual conduct.

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