Valparaiso University - "Beyond Sexuality"
I spoke at Valparaiso University on April 19 through the invitation of the Campus Crusade for Christ student group at VU. On March 25 the VU Diversity Concerns Committee organized a school sponsored event titled "Beyond Tolerance" where Dr. Niedner (former Theology department head) shared how he moved from a traditional understanding to a progressive understanding of homosexuality (read a local newspaper's reporting of this event here). Although my invitation was months prior, the timing seemed perfect to continue the conversation with the Crusade event by calling it "Beyond Sexuality" focusing less upon sexuality and focusing more upon a relationship with Christ.
Unfortunately, many were "concerned" about this Crusade event. Faculty, staff and students wrote two editorials in the school newspaper expressing their objection before having any idea of what I was going to say. One editorial even had 44 VU professor signatures. You can view both editorials here.
The meeting went very well and only two picketers (who were not from the school) showed up. It was great to see many students from the Gay Straight Alliance present who wore a pink triangle in solidarity. Most were civil with only a few who audibly expressed their objection. The question and answer period was a nice opportunity to continue the conversation by hearing from the audience. The questions were mostly concerns and objections. In particular was the issue of my drug involvement. Even though I had clearly stated in my testimony that not all homosexuals do drugs, this accusation came up more than once.
The evening ended and several people came up with more questions. Most did not agree with me but several thanked me for coming and respected me and my position. Two particular people stood out for me. One was a young girl who said that she was an atheist and a GSA ally. She was ashamed of her school because of how they treated me but I remained civil and even apologized once when I lost my patience. She said, "If there is a god, then you are a man of god." Another student came up to me who was transgendered male-to-female and said, "I appreciate you coming and sharing your perspective. But I don't know why I am wearing this pink triangle. It is supposed to represent tolerance but you were shown anything but tolerance today."
There were a few reporters at the meeting as well. An unbiased reporter seems to be a rare find today. But the four articles which came out, one from a local paper and three from the school newspaper, the Torch, were written well. You can view the front page article here (page 1 and page 2) and here are the links to the two editorials.
I am thinking about posting the video of my presentation on Youtube. Let me know if you'd be interested in watching it. Be blessed!
This is an editorial which came out a week later in the school newspaper where students pointed out that VU's disapproval of me speaking as not tolerance, but intolerance.