As I pondered the situation at Taylor University, I knew that there had to be more to this story than we were being told. This university is known as a solid, Bible based school. So, why were the students so horrified at the thought of VP Mike Pence coming to their school to speak at their graduation?
First I looked at the school’s website. I wanted to see their beliefs, values and rules. I saw things like this:
“Prohibited Behaviors: Certain behaviors are expressly prohibited in Scripture and therefore are to be avoided by all members of the community. They include theft, lying, dishonesty, gossip, slander, backbiting, profanity, vulgarity, crude language, sexual immorality (including adultery, homosexual behavior, premarital sex, and involvement with pornography in any form), drunkenness, immodesty of dress, and occult practice. (Mark 7:20–23; Romans 13:12–14; 1 Corinthians 6:9–11)” source
But then the Lord led me to what I believe is the culprit of this uprising of students against a solid Christian man – Mike Pence. The leadership of Taylor University maintained that VP Pence was still invited. Obviously this uprising was strictly the student body and not the administration at Taylor.
The reader MUST understand that everything below (except for my comments at the end) are from allies and proponents of LGBTQ:
The “Coming out” of Jeffry Neuhouser
“Like the dawn, it slips in quietly, almost when you’re not looking. Courage.
Taylor University students arriving for breakfast at the dining commons this morning found a yellow sheet of paper typewritten on both sides sitting there on each table, right alongside the “News of the Day’ campus announcements. This was a different sort of announcement: Student Senate President Jeffry Neuhouser, a senior history major set to graduate in May, coming out as a gay man in an open letter to the campus community.
“I want to personalize what has become simply an “issue” on campus,” he told my husband and me this morning over breakfast at a cafe near Upland. His phone kept up a steady hum all through the meal. “I’m getting a flood of text messages and emails,” he said. “People have a lot of positive things to say.”
Here is his letter to the Taylor University student body:
The gay student’s Letter to Taylor U’s community:
“Dear members of the Taylor Community
“Forgive me. Forgive me for not being completely honest with you. Forgive me for hiding behind my fear and trepidation. Forgive me for the mask I have worn. More often than not I forget 2 Timothy 1:7, “For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self control.”
This is my story.
I have struggled with same sex attraction since middle school, and I thought for a long time that I would be able to change my attractions. I believe that the struggle was just a sin that I was susceptible to and that I could get over it with enough prayer and determination. After coming to college, I tried multiple times to date because I believed that attraction to women would come with a relationship. I tried several times, but eventually realized that the attraction was not going to come to me. That was the point when I finally “came out” to myself.
I realized that I am gay.
I was not able to change my attractions. So, the question I faced at this junction was, “how does my sexuality play into my faith?” The process has been long and hard and I have not reached all the conclusions that I want to nor do I have the answers. I will be the first to tell you that I do not have all the answers! I do, however, have a renewed understanding of God, of struggles, of pain, and of people. There have been points when I have felt like giving up on God and have questioned whether he even exists or not. But through my journey, I have determined to keep living for God and seeking to find out his will for my life. I do not necessarily seek to be happy even though that would be nice. Rather, my focus is searching for the truth and finding joy in truth.
Why am I coming out publicly?
I do not come out to you, my community, as a way to gain attention — at least not for myself. I do this to help you become aware that same-sex attracted people exist at Taylor, and we all have names and faces. Up to this point you may have only heard anonymous quotes and stories in the Echo…. but do gay people really exist at Taylor? Yes, and I know this because I am one!
I am writing this letter to you all for the sake of people like me. We are your roommates, we are your classmates, we eat in the DC with you, we play football with you, we sing with you in chapel, we pray with you in church, we are your friends, and we are your siblings, but most importantly we are children of God created in his image. Many of these people are scared, as I am, of what will happen if and when they come out.
I am removing my mask, so that you may know the truth about me.
You have probably also heard the quote by CS Lewis: “To love all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possible broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in the casket, safe dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.” I love Taylor and I love the people at Taylor. I love you all too much to lock up my heart, in my comfort I am afraid I will lose my chance and ability to be vulnerable and open with the Taylor community. Honestly, I am afraid right now of all the potential fallout, consequences, and backlash. This fear is what has kept me from coming out sooner.
Lastly, but most importantly, my purpose in opening my heart to you is to glorify God. My story, and by default my sexuality, means nothing without God. I hope to glorify God by helping people understand the stories that God has written because each of our stories is precious to God and should be used to shine light on him.
How should you react to all of this new information?
Reflect on this new information. Rethink how you treat people and how you view the issue of sexuality. Reread Scripture and try to look at it with new insights. Listen to people’s stories are your words and actions showing that you are safe and open to people sharing their stories with you? Educate yourself on the language surrounding same-sex attraction and the arguments on both sides. Most importantly, respect people and their personal experiences.
None of us have everything figured out. I am just Jeffrey. But together, we are a community, willing to take a position of humility to better understand and hopefully work this out together. There is so much more I want to say, but I will wait for a later time and venue. Perhaps we can grab coffee sometime.
“The ultimate message of man is not where he stands in the moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” MLK, Jr.
Walking toward Christ together,
Jeffrey Neuhouser” source
A website which SUPPORTS gays at Taylor University:
“LGBTU ALUMNI & ALLIES
COMING TOGETHER: LGBTQ Alumni & Allies of Taylor University in Support of Current Students
Sometimes it doesn’t take much. In four words, we can voice a powerful message to LGBTQ students currently at Taylor University: “You are not alone.” Or in three words: “It gets better.” In two, “Keep hoping.” In one, “Welcome.”
Bryn Marlow here, class of 1981. When I came out to myself as a gay man in 1995, I had long since graduated. By that time, I was back at Taylor working in the alumni office, serving as university editor. I very much believed I was the only gay man on the campus of Taylor University, perhaps the first ever. I was that naive, that arrogant, that stupid. I felt that alone, that overwhelmingly alone. Noah-opening-the-ark-door-and-looking-out-after-the-Great-Flood alone. Jeremiah-in-the-bottom-of-the-pit alone. A-lamb-chop-dropped-into-the-lions’-den alone. Sheesh.
I wasn’t, of course. Wasn’t the only LGBTQ person at Taylor, wasn’t the first, wouldn’t be the last. Nor was I so alone as I imagined. In time I found a loving, supporting, welcoming community of LGBTQ persons and allies—outside of Taylor, beyond the village border, out in the “real world.” This was an important step in my journey and healing.
Today I find it affirming and instructive to touch base with others regarding their experience of Taylor University as LGBTQ persons or allies. There is strength in numbers—comfort, too—and in growing awareness of the many facets of a shared experience.
WHAT’S BEING SAID
Taylor makes its official stance quite clear, seeing gender variant persons and their relationships as unacceptable, misguided, pitiable, broken, sinful. These are not life-affirming messages for students (or faculty and staff) who are coming to understand their sexual orientation as other that university-sanctioned heterosexual. It’s no news to those of us who have lived through it: misleading and demeaning messages about sexuality and sexual identity have lasting negative impact. Doesn’t matter if those messages of intolerance are built with hate speech or come cloaked in church-talk, delivered with the best of intentions. Across much of the evangelical landscape and from many corners of the Taylor campus, LGBTQ persons hear the sermon that they are less than whole, less than human, less than worthy of full participation, acceptance and welcome. Such messages are as insidious as they are pervasive, and inflict moral injury. They perpetuate self-hatred, depression, alienation and feelings of isolation.
A ROLE FOR LGBTU
As LGBTQ Taylor University alumni and allies, we are uniquely poised to be of service and offer support to LGBTQ students and allies currently at Taylor who may be struggling with the integration of faith, sexual orientation and gender identity. Many of us have been there, have “fought the good fight” and have come out the stronger for the deep personal and spiritual work we’ve done to reclaim our souls and celebrate our selves. We stand as living proof that there is a broader worldview and are more options for putting together a life than that and those sanctioned by the university.
WHAT WE CAN OFFER
As LGBTQ Taylor University alumni and allies, we can serve both as example and as resource. We can create an online space where our stories can be shared, accomplishments celebrated—alumni news and views the university ignores or suppresses. We can offer website links to resources we ourselves have found helpful; we can serve as contact persons for students who want to process their thoughts and feelings. Together, we can blend our voices to break the silence on issues of sexual orientation and gender identity many of us experienced during our time on campus.
WHO WE ARE: DIVERSITY OF EXPERIENCE & BELIEF
As LGBTQ Taylor University alumni and allies, we represent diverse life experiences and theological points (or non-theological) of view. We don’t all think, act or believe alike. Herein lies our strength. We don’t have to subscribe or agree to a uniform code of doctrine in order to unite our efforts on behalf of others. I like the way it’s put by One Wheaton, an LGBTQ and allies group of Wheaton College: “… we need to be clear that we are not a church, denomination, or ministry; therefore, we have no need for theological or doctrinal unity. Our unity and common ground is ready-made in our shared experiences as Wheaton alumni, and beyond that, as alumni who are able to embrace and affirm LGBTQ identities and relationships. In our life journeys, some of us came to believe that there is nothing intrinsically wrong with being a Christian and in a same-sex relationship. Others are still wrestling with these issues and are working to synthesize these different aspects of their lives. Others have moved on from beliefs they held in college. Because of this diversity, we feel we are uniquely situated to help students trying to piece together their identities as they enter adulthood.”
VOICING OUR SUPPORT
One Wheaton posted an open letter to the college campus, initially signed by 600-plus LGBTQ alumni and allies. That’s a powerful example. If you’re interested in signing your name to a similar open letter to the Taylor community, please contact me [ firstname.lastname@example.org ]. Then contact your own network of LGBTQ Taylor alumni and allies. Share this on Facebook and other social media sites. Ask your friends if they’re interested in learning more, and/or lending their name to the effort. There is strength in numbers. Perhaps we can’t wield 600 signatories, but our voice may be heard more clearly and ring more loudly as it is amplified many times over.
We can make a difference.” source
There is also a FB page in support of gays at Taylor:
“Criminalization of Christianity is on America’s Horizon”
A few excepts from the article – I encourage the reader to read this piece in its entirety. Its author speaks TRUTH:
“Don’t be shocked when many “Christians” cheer the criminalization of Christianity. The number of supposedly Christian individuals whose moral compasses are calibrated to the spirit of the age rather than the authority of scripture has become astounding.
As I read the enraged responses from professing Christians at the news that Vice President Mike Pence would be the commencement speaker for Taylor University (a leading private, Christian institution located in tiny Upland, Indiana) I realized something.
Keep in mind that Pence has been one of the most outspoken Christian public servants in recent decades. He makes no effort to hide his faith, acknowledging himself as, “A Christian, a conservative, and a Republican…in that order.” Therefore, it is completely logical that a Christian institution would invite him to speak, in addition to the fact that he was a long-time congressman from the Hoosier state, as well as its governor, before ascending to the second highest office in the land.” Read rest of article HERE
So brethren, there we have it. The false Social Justice Gospel has reached our Christian universities and its students. Please notice that the gay student who “came out” and wrote to the student body, told the students how to react to his “coming out.” He instructed them that they should accept him and all gays at Taylor. Basically, the gay student felt that his emotional words would trump God’s Holy Word.
He is WRONG and the student body aligning themselves with him are WRONG.
How can we not realize that we are indeed in the last of the last days? The apostasy and deception is upon us, and I believe that for many it is just too late. The young people have believed the lie of the “Social Justice Gospel.”
“And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting” (Romans 1:28).