Bake sale killed by ‘divine discrimination’
An American Seventh-day Adventist University has been forced to explain why it pulled the plug on a bake sale organised to raise funds for homeless gay people.
Following a media firestorm over the cancellation of the event, organised by student members of the unofficial LGBT group, AULL4 on behalf of Project Fierce, Andrews University President Niels-Erik Andreasen, above, said in a statement:
The Church’s religious and moral views do not allow for the pursuit of intimate LGBT relationships, including marriage.
Andreasen said that, while the University was all in favour of providing “care and compassion wherever and for whoever needs it”, the “perceived mission” of the Project Fierce agency was that it advocated:
Behaviors contrary to Adventist beliefs.
Andreasen denied that the university was in any way anti-gay:
The problem of LGBT homeless youth in particular is a heartbreaking national problem – perhaps as many as 40 percent of the homeless teens on the street at any one time are LGBT. Many of these teens were in Christian families who rejected their child’s orientation and, in the process, their child. A safe place and genuine care must be provided for these homeless LGBT youth.
But he then went on to lay the blame for the furore on a student who exposed the cancellation to the media:
As the University was saying ‘no’ to the specific, proposed agency, an administrator suggested an alternative support agency in Chicago that also deals with homeless LGBT teens. That suggestion does not appear to have been pursued by the student who instead proposed an additional unacceptable agency.
Shortly thereafter, the student stopped his conversations with administrators, asked for a ‘written’ clarification of the decision not to support his recommended agency, and went to the press/social media.
This portrayed the University:
In a light that was neither fair nor accurate.
Students should engage in serious-minded dialogue about fundraising options with club sponsors or University administrators. Together, students and faculty/staff should explore whether a particular recipient of funds is largely and primarily aligned in support of the University’s mission and its faith commitment.
According to this report, Andrews University is the largest evangelical Christian institution of higher learning in Michigan and the first in the nation started by the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
It boasts over 3400 students, an endowment reported at more than $26 million, and a history that began in 1874, in Battle Creek – the same town where John H Kellogg, also a Seventh-day Adventist, founded a sanitarium and the company that today is best know for making corn flakes.
After speaking with AU students and staff, Zach Stafford, writing for the Guardian, spoke with Abigail Muldoon, a graduate student at DePaul University, the largest Catholic University in the US, about the bake sale and her research to better understand why Christians are so bent on hurting certain minority groups.
It’s ‘Divine Discrimination’, she told me, a term she uses to discuss the phenomenon of using Christian beliefs to justify minority harassment.
Discrimination justified by Christian beliefs may be particularly harmful, as faith carries powerful weight … how do you argue with someone who believes they are doing God’s work when hurting the LGBT population?
Muldoon, who is a devout Christian, added:
There is no way Jesus would have stopped that bake sale. He would have been the first one in line.
Hat tip: Trevor Blake.