Steven Jackson, a sophomore at the University of Buffalo is gay. He’s also the treasurer for his college’s Intervarsity Christian Fellowship group. When staffers and board members found out Jackson was gay, theytold him he needed to step down from his leadership position.
Not because he’s gay. No. Of course not. Christians *love* gay people.
The problem was that Jackson didn’t accept the anti-gay Bible passages as Absolute Truth.
Steven Jackson. (Photo credit: Meg Kinsley of The Spectrum
IVCF Vice President Leslie Varughese said the club’s executive board members, including Jackson, mutually decided that Jackson’s resignation would be best for both Jackson and the club, not because of Jackson’s homosexuality, but because of his refusal to accept Biblical scripture — specifically, those Bible passages that condemn homosexuality.
Simply put, the problem was not that Jackson is gay; the problem was that Jackson doesn’t accept Bible verses that condemn gay people.
When asked whether Varughese’s characterization of the resignation as a mutual agreement was accurate, Jackson said yes and no.
“It was definitely a pressured [resignation]…They made it clear that they felt like I should step down and kind of made me uncomfortable enough to the point where I just wanted to leave,” Jackson said.
“We told Steve that it would be very difficult for him to lead with integrity in an organization that had contrary beliefs…We didn’t ask him to leave the Fellowship, and we do not want him to leave the Fellowship,” Varughese said. “We love him, and we want him to continue to seek God and grow in his faith.”
How many mistakes can you make in one sentence…?
“We love him” — No, you don’t.
“We want him to continue to seek God” — He’s still a Christian. He already “found god.”
We want him to “grow in his faith” — That must be a new euphemism for “He needs to stop liking dudes.”
Even if the IVCF leadership is serious about getting rid of Steven not because he’s gay but because he didn’t fully accept what the Bible says, they’re still guilty of selectively choosing which verses to follow. Odds are there are students in the leadership who have had pre-marital sex, worked on the Sabbath, and wore wool and linen together.
Jackson added that the group’s leadership knew he liked other men when he was elected to the post, despite the fact that he was dating a female at the time:
“They were under the impression that I was straight because I was dating a female at the time,” Jackson said. “[I think] they were under the impression that I had ‘changed.’”
Jackson wants to make clear that he defines himself as gay, but he hasn’t “closed [him]self completely off” to other modes of sexuality. And he said that at the time that he was elected treasurer, IVCF members hadn’t known that he defined himself as gay. Once they found out, he said, the events leading to his resignation were set into motion.
At least the Student Association at the school did the right thing. When they discovered that IVCF had a clause in their Constitution that forced executive board members to sign a “faith-based agreement” (which says you must believe the Bible is “divinely inspired” and therefore 100% true, and implicitly says you can’t ever act on your “gayness”), they suspended the group:
“All peripheral privileges afforded to Student Association clubs are revoked for Intervarsity Christian Fellowship until further notice,” wrote SA Treasurer Sikander Khan in a Friday letter to the IVCF’s executive board.
Surprisingly, Jackson, the student caught in the middle of all this, fought against the suspension:
“I believe the article in Friday’s Spectrum was wholly accurate,” Jackson’s statement read. “Had my [sexual] orientation not come up, I do not believe that this would be happening right now…If [the IVCF's requirement to sign
a faith-based agreement] is illegal, I do not blame Intervarsity. I blame the Student Association for failing to properly review club constitutions and inform clubs of their legality.”
Steven. I know your heart is with the group. But don’t blame the Student Association for the inability of certain Christians to read the rules.
They can be bigots in their churches all they want. But they don’t get to be bigots on campus when tuition dollars
support the organizations. ($6,000 in tuition money for this year’s budget to be exact.)
IVCF is arguing that they don’t discriminate against members of the group, only its leaders. But that’s a useless distinction, since the leaders are elected from the general membership.
It doesn’t matter that they’re a Christian group. If you’re an official campus organization — able to get meeting rooms for free, able to apply for event funding, able to have a $6,000 (?!?) budget — you can’t discriminate against members or leaders. It’s that simple.
(Thanks to Wesley for the link)