The Religion News Service (RNS) reports, “Whitworth University, a Christian school affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), has revised its policies to allow for the hiring of faculty who identify as LGBTQ and to add sexual orientation to its non-discrimination statement.” The report adds that Whitworth is among a “sliver” of Christian colleges who have made the decision to hire “faculty in same-sex marriages.” Included in this list are Eastern University (American Baptist Churches USA) and, according to Vincent Funaro, writing for the Christian Post, “Goshen College in Indiana and Eastern Mennonite University in Virginia announced on Monday that they will now hire faculty who are in same-sex marriages.” Both schools are tied to the Mennonite Church USA. These moves have caused tensions with the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. In 2017, all seven members of the faculty senate at Gordon College resigned because the college refused to promote a faculty member who criticized the school’s opposition to same-sex marriage.
As important as a school’s official stance toward same-sex marriage is, and the LGBTQ agenda generally, this is what is happening among students and faculty. For example, when the president of Gordon College publicly opposed same-sex marriage, it stirred controversy among students and faculty who, according to a report in the campus paper, disagreed strongly with the president’s stance. Some schools have officially approved LGBTQ student groups. Others have unofficial groups.
According to a 2015 report, eight schools associated with the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities have school-sanctioned (approved) student-run LGBTQ groups. Some of those schools are those already listed, who have approved the appointment of homosexual and same-sex married faculty. Other schools include Calvin University. In 2020 the student paper, The Chimes, published an op-ed by Claire Murashima, “I Am Calvin University’s First Openly Gay Student Body President.” She writes,
One thing’s for sure: I am not straight. I’m sharing my story with the community because I take the weight of representation seriously, I have a desire to lead Calvin and the CRC into the future and want other queer students to see themselves in my story. I’d feel as if I’d made a mistake as student body president if I did not use my platform to do so.
She offers no discussion of the teaching of Holy Scripture on homosexuality and no reflection on the confession of the Christian Reformed Church on human sexuality, but she does complain that she finds no other LGBTQ representation on the faculty or administration.
Other schools with sanctioned LGBTQ student groups include Fuller Seminary, North Park University, and Pepperdine University.
PCA families and others may be pleased to know that Campus Pride (a pro-LGBTQ group) denounces Covenant College as among the “worst” for LGBTQ students on the basis of its student handbook:
As such, students are to live in accordance with the birth sex gifted them by their Creator. Actions taken toward adopting a different biological sex (Gen. 1:27), sexual immorality (I Cor. 6:18, 1 Tim 1:8-11), adultery (Exodus 20:14), homosexual practice (Romans 1:26-27), and all other sexual relations (1 Cor. 6:9-10) outside the bounds of marriage between a man and woman are inconsistent with the teaching of Scripture and will result in disciplinary follow-up by the College.
Students are also required to abstain from all activities which violate biblical teachings, such as theft, drunkenness, slanderous or profane language, all forms of dishonesty including cheating, and sexual sins (such as premarital sex, adultery, homosexual behavior and the use or possession of obscene or pornographic material).
There is not much in the student newspaper regarding the LGBTQ movement generally or about a LGBTQ movement among the students. One 2015 article chronicled the struggle of a few students with same-sex attraction and the attempt of the faculty and administration to address those issues.
Grove City College is #4 on the Princeton Review’s list of “LGBTQ Unfriendly Colleges.” Wheaton College is #8, Gordon College #10, and Calvin University #18. “One Wheaton” is a “grassroots network of alumni and students of Wheaton College, an Evangelical Christian college in Wheaton, Illinois, who affirm the full humanity and dignity of LGBTQ individuals.” It has no official standing with the college. The college, however, also has a “Sexual and Gender Identity Institute” the mission of which is “from a Christian worldview, to further our understanding of sexual and gender identity, and the intersection of these identities with religious identity, and to be a resource to the church and to the broader culture. We do this through research, training, and consultation.”
Analysis And Advice
Parents looking at colleges and universities with their children should obviously do their research. Financial aid is important, but so is the culture of the campus. The school under consideration may have an orthodox official policy regarding sexuality, sexual ethics, and marriage—but do the faculty and students agree? Is there a student-run LGBTQ group? In the case of Calvin University, it seems significant that the student body elected an openly “queer” student body president. Was this just a childish act of rebellion—middle-class, middle-American Dutch kids doing their best to make Mom and Dad uncomfortable—or does it signal a growing conviction among Gen-Z students that queering human sexuality is just fine with them? Any parent considering a school with an on-campus LGBTQ movement should investigate very carefully the situation on the ground.
Where do faculty stand on these issues? Will your student hear both sides of the issues? Will the orthodox position be treated respectfully and fairly? Is the historic Christian view well understood among the faculty?
There are some important off-campus questions to consider. Is there a confessionally Reformed congregation near campus? How are they handling these issues? Are they able and willing to help students think through the sexual revolution thoughtfully from a Christian perspective? Does the campus or a local church offer counseling from an orthodox Christian perspective to students who may be struggling with same-sex attraction? Are they using Chris Gordon’s New Reformation Catechism on Human Sexuality?
Has the campus invited speakers like Rosaria Butterfield to campus (as Covenant College has), or is it a haven for Revoice oriented advocates?
These are the kinds of questions parents need to investigate as they anticipate sending their children off to campus in the fall.
©R. Scott Clark. All Rights Reserved.
- Subscribe To The Heidelblog!
- The Heidelblog Resource Page
- Heidelmedia Resources
- The Ecumenical Creeds
- The Reformed Confessions
- The Heidelberg Catechism
- Recovering the Reformed Confession (Phillipsburg: P&R Publishing, 2008)
- Why I Am A Christian
- What Must A Christian Believe?
- Heidelblog Contributors
- Resources On LGBTQ And Revoice
- The New York Times, Sioux Center, And Calvinism
- Calvin, Yale, and Hastings College
- Support Heidelmedia: use the donate button or send a check to
Heidelberg Reformation Association
1637 E. Valley Parkway #391
Escondido CA 92027
The HRA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization