The Dartmouth Observer

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Weblog Commenting and Trackback by Listed on BlogShares

Monday, November 21, 2005
Dissenting Opinions? Gay-friendly opinions on the Christian Right

I was reading Christianity Today online a short time ago when I stumbled onto a link that contained a suprisingly interesting discussion. The article, entitled, Baylor Dismisses Gay Alumnus From Advisory Board, detailed the removal of a very active alumnus from the Baylor social scence.

The article tells a story typical of good people who are betrayed by their Christian, supposed cosmopolitan, community due to a politicized difference:
He graduated from Baylor University in 1983, with a degree in accounting, worked his way up in the business world, picking up a Harvard MBA, working with a venture capital firm, and running a technology company. In the last decade, he has personally given about $65,000 in gifts to Baylor, and he raised another $60,000 to endow a fund in honor of a business colleague and the colleague’s wife — the couple had met at Baylor.

But this fall, he received an unexpected call from the business dean telling him [Smith] he would need to leave the advisory committee because he is gay.

Smith said he would find other places for his philanthropy and his time now. And he said he does not feel any personal bitterness toward Maness, who Smith said faces unfortunate pressure to adhere to anti-gay policies. “No dean at Baylor is ever going to get fired for getting rid of a homosexual, but he does risk his job for retaining one,” Smith said.

No one is, naturally, surpised that a conversative Baptist institutions is homophobic. Sadly, we have come to expect that an institution based primarily on an act and gift of love by it's founder, Jesus Christ, would subscribe to some of the most hateful behavior. What was interesting here were the comments on the article.

The comments take directly to task the flawed logic of politicized difference masquerading as sound theology.

This was a choice comment:
Do you think Baylor has ever dismissed someone from their board for coveting the possessions of others? because that’s also an abomination. Deuteronomy 7:25 “thou shalt not covet the silver or the gold that is on them, nor take it unto thee, lest thou be snared therein; for it is an abomination to the LORD thy God.”

This person was probably a social scientist:
Shelia, The Bible is somewhat ambiguous about these issues, but, as we can see, not all religious institutions think the bible requires them to expel gay people – and some think that it requires them to provide them with health benefits ! Since it is impossible to get an objective reading of what constitutes the “correct” religion, I think that people should proudly declare that they don’t like gay people – even if they are discrete about it – and stop hiding behind a bible (which they selectively quote from).

This person wins the apposite sound bite award:
I suppose IF homosexuality were a sin, Christians at Baylor would have the inherent abiltiy to “Love the sinner and hate the sin.” Was dismissing Smith an act of love. I think not. So, homosexualiity, as matter of life and not choice, its “acceptable” to hate the person. Makes me wonder... What would Jesus REALLY do? He probably wouldn’t apply to Baylor and if he did, he’d probably be dismissed for not wearing trousers!

My personal favorite:
Sinners need not apply
I’m with Sheila: everyone who violates a single tenet of the old or new testament should be shunned by all Christian people and banned from their schools and administrative positions.

That would include:

Artists & photographers ("You shall not make for yourself a graven image")

Football players ("Remember the sabbath day")

Soldiers ("You shall not kill")

Divorcees w/new spouses("You shall not commit adultery")

The Secretaries of State, Defense, and Homeland Security ("You shall not utter a false report")

George W. Bush ("You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor")

White people, straight people, Christians, oh, and everyone else ("You shall not wrong a stranger or oppress him")

Congratulations, Sheila, you’re the new Advisory Board of Baylor University!

And of course, the one that goes for the gullet:
No one’s “shocked” by the actions of Baylor University, Sheila—we’re appalled. Appalled at the hypocrisy; appalled at the self-righteousness; appalled at the startling lack of sophistication displayed by “liberal Christians,” “compassionate conservatives,” or what have you, in reading, interpreting, or applying their own scriptures. Notice how the bible is always “clear” only on issues that suit the conservative social agenda, but mysteriously unclear when it comes to interpreting those prohibitions that good Christians violate on a daily basis. Somehow gays and liberals are the only ones who need to be held accountable to scripture, while the administrators who make these decisions have managed to stay clear of “sin.” Please...sell me some beachfront property in Arizona while you’re at it! When good Christians start holding their own leaders (and themselves) accountable to the same standards that they apply to others, then maybe the rest of us will take such “principled” stands as the one Baylor has taken a little more seriously. Ask George Bush to step down, then tell me it’s okay to dismiss gay people from their well-earned positions in our schools, churches, and communities.

Appalled is exactly right. Maybe there is hope for a counter-bigotry position to arise from within Christian communities. I could just be too optomistic though.