A few weeks ago, we posted “An Open Letter to Dr. Tony Campolo” asking him to stand with us and to support an anti-discrimination policy at Eastern University for sexual minorities. Below is Dr. Campolo’s reply. Please stand with us! Our original letter currently has 187 co-signors! To add your name as a co-signor, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with your name and relationship to Eastern University (i.e. “Joe Smith, Class of 2013” or “Jane Smith, Parent of 2013 Graduate” or “Jamie Smith, Professor of History”). Also feel free to leave comments below!
April 26, 2013
I am responding to the open letter addressed to me from OneEastern, a group of Eastern University alumni, regarding the hopes and fears of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) people who attend Eastern University, or will be attending the university in the future.
Any form of discrimination based on race, gender, nationality, or sexual orientation is unacceptable to me, especially at Eastern, the school I have loved, and with which I have been proud to be associated since my own days as a student here more than 50 years ago. I want Eastern to be a place where a student, staff member, or faculty member can be open about his or her sexual identity without fear of recrimination. Prejudices will always exist, but discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation should not be allowed among Christians, and certainly not on the campus of any Christian college or university.
I fully understand that Eastern has those in its community who may not be in sympathy with such an anti-discrimination policy. I also am painfully aware that such a public declaration on the part of the administration might seriously impact the fundraising capacity of the Development Office and also the work of the Admissions Office. Nevertheless, I believe a commitment to Christ-like justice requires careful consideration as to what the official policies of our school should be.
I would expect GLBT students, staff members, and faculty members to abide by the standards which Eastern has already set and expects to be observed within the confines of the university campus. Being within the Evangelical tradition, our school holds to a policy of opposing certain forms of erotic behavior outside of the confines of marriage as defined by the student handbook.
As you know from my writing and speaking, gay marriage does not fit within my personal understanding of Scripture and Church tradition. However, I do not consider gay marriage to be a defining issue that should bar those in such relationships from being fully accepted members of any Christian body; any more than I would bar persons who are divorced and remarried from such acceptance.
I want to emphasize that these are my views and do not represent the stated policies of Eastern University, and it should also be noted that I am no longer a regularly active member of the University teaching staff.
My prayers are with those in the OneEastern movement, and with all the students, staff and faculty members, and others who love Eastern, who are struggling over this important matter.