Recently, Gordon College, a Christian school near Boston, MA, has been in the news after its president signed a letter asking for exemption to a ban against discrimination. While Gordon College received much attention, it is not the only higher education institution to sign such a letter. Eastern University’s President Robert Duffett also co-signed a letter, which seeks the right for Eastern University to discriminate against LGBT individuals.1 Such an exemption would allow Eastern University to discriminate against LGBT students, faculty, and staff. While Dr. Duffett’s request for the ability to discriminate is disturbing, it is also troubling that his request has not been widely shared with the Eastern University community. Further, it is also worth noting that Gordon College is potentially jeopardizing their accreditation… something that could very easily also happen to Eastern University.
Below is a petition asking Dr. Duffett to rescind his request for the ability to discriminate against LGBT individuals. Please sign the petition, and ask your family and friends to join us!
UPDATE: (7/18, 7:31PM) Dr. Duffett has issued the following response:
To all our EU alumni, employees, students and others who are concerned about my signature on the Institutional Religious Freedom Alliance letter to President Obama,
Our position has not changed; Eastern University will not discriminate against students or employees based on sexual orientation.
One of the most significant theological tenets of the Baptist movement is the separation of Church and State. This means no government has the right to determine theological views and practices of religious institutions. I signed the petition with this Baptist theological conviction in mind.
The wall of separation that President Jefferson affirmed to the Danbury Baptists must be maintained to the benefit of society and all Christian institutions. It is precisely this wall
that has allowed Eastern University to flourish for almost 90 years.
We are excited to welcome aboard Angélique Gravely, who will serve as OneEastern’s Editor (in addition, unavoidably, to other roles)! Angélique is a recent 2013 graduate of Eastern University where she double-majored in English and Psychology. She was also a recent guest contributor to OneEastern with her post, “A Queer Experience of Christian College”. Angélique will be managing all of the posts on the website. So, if you know of someone in the Eastern University community who has a post to contribute, send them to Angélique at firstname.lastname@example.org. Welcome, Angélique!
We are very excited to welcome Guest Contributor, Angélique Gravely! Angélique is a 2013 graduate of Eastern University.
I have this bad habit of telling myself that my personal suffering or experiences of injustice are unimportant, because they are not always the kind of suffering discussed. They’re not that deep traumatic suffering which crushes your heart and shakes your soul when you acknowledge their existence; therefore, my experiences must be trivial regardless of how deeply they still hurt me. I tend to feel like my suffering is not bad enough to share with people outside my close friend group because there are so many people who suffer more;thus,I keep parts of my story to myself in order to make room for those people who really deserve to have their stories heard.
Well, I’m trying to get over that which is why I want to write about my problems with the Christian college I attended. Problems rooted in the fact that I’m queer. Continue reading →
We are very excited to welcome Guest Contributor, Jen Kane! Jen is a 2011 graduate of Eastern University.
This post is a story. In a way, it is my story. And in a way, it is bigger than my story.
I was raised in the suburbs and went to public schools. I spent summers at the beach. I watched romantic comedies with my friends at sleepovers. I went on dates with boys. And like many other childhoods, mine included going to church. During my adolescent years, that meant that I came to understand homosexuality as a sin. That was the teaching of my faith tradition. But that is just the beginning of the story. This, like many other stories of life, is a journey.
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 email@example.com 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.
We have been in dialogue with Dr. Tony Campolo regarding our open letter seeking his support for a more inclusive anti-discrimination policy at Eastern University. Dr. Campolo is planning to respond to the letter and has asked for first-person accounts of discrimination based on sexual orientation or perceived gender identity occurring at Eastern University. The accounts have to be first-person, we do ask for the accounts to identify any staff or faculty that took part in discrimination, or harassment (in any year, in class or out of class), but you will remain anonymous (if you would like your name to be attached to your story, please let us know). Please help us gather the stories by sharing this request with your friends and classmates. All stories can be sent firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note: the purpose is not to convince Dr. Campolo that there is discrimination, rather, it is to support his forthcoming response and our call for a more inclusive anti-discrimination policy.
We are very excited to share this reflection from Dr. Betsy Morgan who has look been part of the Eastern University family as a student, professor, and dean. In this reflection, Dr. Morgan reflects on her experiences, but also shares her dream from what EU could become.
Editor’s note: Dr. Ronald Sider is a professor at Palmer Theological Seminary, the seminary of Eastern University. Dr. Sider is also the Founder and President of “Evangelicals for Social Action”. Over the course of its history, ESA has made troubling statements and has affirmed troubling positions in regards to sexual minorities (see “The Manhattan Declaration”). ESA publishes a bi-monthly magazine, “Prism”. The current November/December is almost entirely focused on sexuality with many disturbing articles, including an article written by Dr. Sider (Dr. Sider’s article- here; the full issue- here). It is disappointing that these attitudes emerge out of Eastern University.
However we know there are other voices that speak for justice within Eastern, and one of those voices is Dr. Yolanda Turner, co-chair of the Psychology department at Eastern University. Please welcome Dr. Turner as she shares with us her response to Dr. Sider’s article, adapted from a presentation she gave earlier this year. OneEastern is deeply thankful for Dr. Turner’s response. A brief bio for Dr. Turner is found at the end of this post.
Separation of Church and State:
Let me begin by stating that for me this is not simply a question of being for or against same-sex marriage. The question is larger than that: by what criteria do we want our government to make legal decisions?
This is not simply about whether homosexual relationships are biblical or holy. It is about what should be affirmed in a pluralistic society – in a democratic republic that promotes religious freedom, as well as other types of freedom and privacy.
We are thrilled to pass along the first “It Needs to Get Better” video submission. It comes from Amy Yoder McGloughlin— the pastor of Germantown Mennonite Church, and a 1994 graduate of Eastern University. Also featured in the video is a possible future EU grad— Amy’s daughter, Reba. It is an excellent video, and a great start to this campaign. Thanks, Amy & Reba! Click below to watch the video…
Periodically, we will be emailing the administration of Eastern University the links to newly posted videos. Within the next week or so, there will also be a video page on this website where all submitted videos will be linked. This is a great start and we anxiously await more submissions! Please email videos, links, or contact info to email@example.com. We can’t wait to share yours!
We are proud to announce our first campaign, “It Needs to Get Better”. And we need your help! We are now collecting videos of you explaining to Eastern University why “It Needs to Get Better” and why EU needs to be a fully inclusive, welcoming, and affirming university. We are asking you to record yourself speaking directly to the camera to explain why it must get better. You do not need to be a professional videographer, a webcam, works great (and so will most still cameras in video mode!). Please make sure the camera is mounted and doesn’t move. Feel free to share personal stories. And this campaign is open to anyone: alumni, students, parents- anyone at all! To see an example of the videos we’re hoping to receive, check out what Notre Dame’s community recently did here.
Once you have made your video, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll find a way for you to send us the video either electronically or by snail mail. We hope to post a compilation video representing many people within our community who know that it needs to get better. So start recording, and let’s help Eastern understand.
Peace and love– OneEastern
We could really still use help covering the hosting costs of the website. If you’re able to contribute any amount, please click this link. Thank you!