Monday, March 02, 2015

SC Christian College Bans Homosexuality ... Then Says It Didn't

Last year, over at Erskine, a private college, a private Christian college, in Due West, South Carolina, two volleyball players, Drew Davis and Juan Varona, came out as gay. Take a minute to let that sink in … rural … South Carolina … Christian college … gay.

But still they came out, and it wasn’t easy, even though their team supported them. Drew Davis, left, was outed by an ex-boyfriend, then his father disowned him and his mother told him he'd be unemployed for the rest of his life; oh, and he attempted suicide. And now he faces a new policy at Erskine, enacted by the school’s new president, Dr. Paul Kooistra, which bans homosexuality as a "sin and contrary to the will of the Creator."

Can you actually “ban” homosexuality? I think not. But it seems that Dr. Kooistra will ban all homosexual students under his new policy.

The policy statement appears to threaten those students who fall outside the narrow view of Dr. Kooistra in a section where it states that "members of the Erskine community are expected to follow the teachings of scripture concerning matters of human sexuality and institutional decisions will be made in light of this position."

‘Institutional decisions will be made.’ That sounds like Kooistra plans to somehow punish, perhaps by expulsion, any gay students.

And Juan Varona, right, is fearful of what that means for LGBTQ students at Erskine, saying "the school took several steps back instead of progressing towards a future where everyone can be treated as an equal."

During an interview with Outsports, Varona mentioned the Ten Commandments:
"I understand the religious stand on adultery, which is part of the Ten Commandments in the Bible, and that would apply to heterosexual and homosexual people."
And, well, Cyd Zeigler, of Outsports, took that a step further with his own question:
“It's insightful that Varona would mention the Ten Commandments. There's another Commandment among the 10 that's given higher priority in all versions of the Bible: ‘Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.’ We're assuming this means that Erskine College will also ban all of its athletic teams from practicing or competing on Sundays. That's unfortunate, because on Sunday, April 19, the men's volleyball, men's golf and women's golf teams have tournament games scheduled. The following Sunday four teams - softball, women's lacrosse, women's tennis and men's tennis - have matches scheduled. For the school to ban homosexuality but not ban these competitions on the Sabbath would be the highest form of hypocrisy.”
Hmmmm …. 

Of course, with the media attention on the banning of homosexuality at Erskine, the school is now on the offensive … rather than just being offensive … by suggesting the media didn't understand the "context" of its statement, and stressing that since it posted the statement it has not banned – or expelled – any gay people.

In fact, after the story broke, as bigots and homophobes do, the school actually moved the anti-LGBT policy statement on its website and in its place posted a PDF of its newsletter, including its response to the media, titled, "Context for Erskine’s Statement on Human Sexuality." This new ‘context’ statement says its ban on homosexuality describes the college's  ‘position,’ not its ‘policy’:
"No students have been asked to leave Erskine based on this statement."
The statement then goes on to brag that "Erskine does not discriminate against any protected categories of individuals in the administration of its policies, programs, or activities."

Sure they can say that, because in South Carolina, there are no protections for LGBT people.

So they haven’t really changed anything at all, they’ve just swept it into a nice pile in the corner where they can still get to it, but hope that no one sees it.


the dogs' mother said...

Sweep it into a bin and put it on the curb. Lest you end up like Arlene's.

Helen Lashbrook said...

These Christian foundations rely far too much on the hate filled rants of book 1 of the bible and not enough on the teachings of love and tolerance in book 2