A California Christian university has capitulated to much of the homosexual agenda by revising its code of conduct to permit same-sex relationships, recognizing a campus support group for “LGBTQ+” students, and creating a “safe space” for LGBT students — all while claiming that nothing has really changed.
Effective this semester, Azusa Pacific University (APU) “removed language from its student standard of conduct agreement that prohibited public LGBTQ+ relationships for students on campus,” reported ZU Media, the school’s student-news website. “As an evangelical institution, APU still adheres to the biblical principles of human sexuality — the belief that ‘sexual union is intended by God to take place only within the marriage covenant between a man and a woman’ remains a cornerstone of the university’s foundation.”
The change, the website noted, “is a result of much dialogue between students and administrators.” Student groups, including the Student Government Association and the underground LGBT support group Haven, have been pressuring the administration to change its policy on LGBT relationships for some time now, but particularly since a university employee sued the school last year, claiming he had been subjected to physical and verbal abuse because other employees falsely believed he was homosexual.
Erin Green, co-executive director of Brave Commons, which describes itself as “an intersectional, queer and POC-[people of color]-led, Christian organization seeking to provoke a movement of faith and justice in the academy and beyond,” coordinated many of the conversations between students and administrators.
“We thought it was unfair to single out queer folks in same-sex romantic relationships while it is impossible to enforce or monitor [whether other students are remaining abstinent],” Green told ZU Media. “Queer students are just as able to have romanticized relationships that abide by APU’s rules. The code used falsely assumed that same-sex romances always involved sexual behavior. This stigmatization causes harm to our community, especially those serious about their Christian faith.”
Similarly, Associate Dean of Students Bill Fiala argued, “The changes that occurred to the handbooks around sexual behavior creates one standard for all undergraduate students, as opposed to differential standards for different groups.” He maintained, “The language changed, but the spirit didn’t. Our spirit is still a conservative, evangelical perspective on human sexuality.”
Not everyone at APU agrees. In a letter to the school’s board of trustees obtained by the American Conservative’s Rod Dreher, associate professor Barbara Harrington declared the new policy “nonsensical.” After all, while the school surely does not want even heterosexual students “making out” in public, it can at least hope that some of these relationships will blossom into marriages. But where does it hope that same-sex relationships will lead?
“Encourag[ing] students to engage in romantic homosexual relationships, but hope that they will stop short of having sex outside of marriage connotes that homosexual relationships are as healthy and normal as heterosexual ones,” wrote Harington. “We know as traditional Biblical Christians that this is not so, and we fail our students in our primary duty as Christian educators if we assent to this.”
Harrington also decried the recognition of Haven; the university’s acceptance of students’ personal-pronoun choices; and “the radicalization of APU students,” many of whom, she claimed, are converted from hopeful, Bible-believing Christians into angry social-justice warriors during their years at APU.
Besides changing the code of conduct and recognizing Haven, APU is creating a “pilot program to provide a safe space for LGBTQ+ students on campus,” according to ZU Media.
Fiala claimed the program’s mission is “consistent with Christianity,” but he gave away the game when he explained, “I’m not a big fan of who’s right and who’s wrong in this conversation.” In other words, either Fiala sides with the LGBT students or he isn’t willing to take a stand in favor of biblical morality.
Clear-eyed observers, on the other hand, know exactly where APU is headed unless something is done to reverse the school’s leftward turn.
“That’s all she wrote at Azusa Pacific,” observed Dreher. “They can tell themselves whatever they like about their ‘spirit,’ but it’s self-deception. This is how conservative institutions surrender: by giving up, then telling themselves (and their donors) that they haven’t surrendered. Saving face is not the same thing as saving the institution’s core values.”