i LGBTQ at a Christian College | College Writing: Debate(s) In Higher Education
12. December 2016 · Comments Off · Categories: Blog Post 4

Brittany Vosen

SNC college claims that they value all individuals. In fact, SNC’s mission statement claims they “uphold the sacred dignity of all persons. However, being that SNC is a catholic college, some LGBTQ individuals are afraid to identify with their sexual preference because of the stigmas that are held at SNC. In Wolfgang Grassl’s article “Diversity is not a Catholic Value”, he expresses how differences in sexuality are not a part of Catholic colleges values, like SNC. When students and staff do not feel comfortable enough to express their sexuality they are unlikely to keep attending SNC or keep working at SNC. If the stigmas revolving around sexuality at SNC change then LGBTQ individuals will feel more accepted.

Looking further into Grassl’s article, he states the fact that “There is no mention of diversity as a goal of Catholic life in the Catechism of the Catholic Church or in any of the pastoral, moral, or social constitutions and encyclicals before and after Vatican II”. Grassl then explains how Catholic colleges strive for artificial diversity by reaching out to potential students who are of a particular race or are LGBTQ. This, however, does not improve the world of a Catholic college, instead, it creates challenges that these colleges have to  face. These challenges are the fact that some people may feel unwanted, excluded or even not safe at a Christian college.

Students and staff who identify themselves as LGBTQ individuals are the people who feel unwanted by Grassel’s line of thinking. This was the case in a prominent article in Inside Higher Ed. In this article “Gay at a Christian College”, the anonymous author can relate to these feelings. The author explains how he feels unwanted at the Christian college where he works because he can not identify as gay. He feels that if he comes out as gay at his workplace then he will potentially lose his job. It is not fair to this author and others who go through the same feelings, to not be able to express their true selves at their workplace or college. Christian colleges want diversity to strengthen their image, but in order to actually strengthen their image, they need to actually accept those diversities.

Christian colleges claim they do accept the diversities that are present in their school, however, in the article “Letter to a Gay Professor”, the author, Stanton L. Jones, writes a response for the provost of a Christian college to the article “Gay at a Christian College”. Jones’ responds to the gay man working at a Christian college is for the man to “not become what we are or want to be, but become what God wants us to be”. In other words, Jones’ is asking for the man to keep an open mind about his sexuality and think about what God would want him to do. In my opinion, this is an absurd way to respond to someone’s feelings and sexuality. No one should be told to “keep an open mind” on how they feel, especially when it comes to sexual preference, something that you can not change. A person’s sexual preference does not affect the way they teach, therefore Jones should not be telling this man to “think about what God would want”.

The article also states how at Wheaton College, where Jones is employed, they hire and retain those whose beliefs are consistent to the colleges. Jones does not say to the anonymous gay man that his sexual orientation is wrong nor does he say that his sexual orientation is openly accepted, he’s pretending to take a position on the argument to avoid controversy. This kind of prevaricating does not solve anything, it still leaves LGBTQ individuals feeling unwanted and unaccepted.

If the stigmas revolving around sexuality at Christian colleges change then LGBTQ people will feel more welcomed and accepted. This can be done by educating other people about the LGBTQ community on and around college campuses. In the article, “Catholic Colleges Greet an Unchurched Generation” by Beth McMurtrie, discusses how teaching people about LGBTQ has improved the negative stigmas at Marquette university about LGBTQ people.  If teaching students and staff about LGBTQ individuals at SNC by offering seminars and programs to attend then more people will be accepting of LGBTQ individuals and the LGBTQ community will feel more welcomed at SNC college.


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