Grammy-Nominated Musicians Support The Freedom To Marry

With the 55th Grammy Awards tomorrow several of the nominees have spoken out in support of marriage equality. Freedom To Marry put together a list of quotes from some of them. These are my favorites:

Jack Antonoff on the importance of everyone being free:

 

Michael Buble talking about his gay uncles:

 

The ever lovable Pink on the importance of being ‘color blind,’ so to speak:

 

Check out all the others at the above link to Freedom To Marry, and be sure to check out the Grammy Awards tomorrow.

Fear

Fear.

Fear is something I have been observing for quite some time among my fellow conservative Christians, but it became especially noticeable in the past two weeks as the Boy Scouts of America contemplated removing their national ban on gay scouts and scoutmasters.

I am not talking about the primal fear that a person gets when confronted by a rabid dog or a mountain lion. Nor am I talking about the fear that a person gets when someone breaks into their house wielding a knife or a gun.

No. I am talking about fear of the boogeyman. Fear of the unknown. Fear of ‘the other.’ Fear of ‘the enemy.’ Fear of those who are different. Fear based on lies, half-truths, and ignorance.

This is the fear that pervades the conservative Christian community, though it is by no means unique to conservative Christians. Such fear is a far too common dark side to human nature and society.

Being a fairly, though not entirely, conservative Christian myself, I obviously notice it most among those that are my friends and connections.

Libby Anne, the blogger at Love, Joy, Feminism, talks about some of her fears in a post about Fear and the Fundamentalist Child. Now that I am older, the fears–and lies–that I notice are things like fearing that Obama is a Muslim Marxist, that liberals hate America and are secretly socialist or even communist out to destroy our nation, that gays are out to molest and recruit children, that marriage equality will destroy our society and nation, that the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has “a deliberate strategy to marginalize, stigmatize, and repress the speech and democratic rights of conservative Christians.

The fear is everywhere, even Patrick Henry College’s existence is wrapped up in this fear: the fear of secular colleges indoctrinating children (who are really adults at that point) away from the faith.

As I said before, this is not something unique to conservative Christians, but I believe it is especially heinous that it is basically preached by so called Christian leaders almost like dogma.

Why so heinous? Because the Bible everywhere speaks against fear.

1 John 4:18 “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”

Romans 8:15 “For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.””

Hebrews 2:14-15 “Since the children have flesh and blood, He too shared in their humanity so that by His death He might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil—and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.”

1 Peter 3:14 “But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled.”

2 Timothy 1:7 “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”

Does the Bible not contain promises about these things?

Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”

Why then do parents fear to send their children off to a secular college? Their fear causes them to not trust the promise of God. Or perhaps it is that they know in their hearts that some or even much of what they have taught their child is not really of God.

Philippians 4:6-7 “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Matthew 6:25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?”

If you are a girl and listen to many of those that preach about modesty it would be easy to think that indeed clothes–the right ones–are indeed what it is all about.

Romans 8:31, 38-39 “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? … For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Hebrews 13:5b “…for He has said,”I will never leave you nor forsake you.””

1 John 4:8 “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.”

If nothing can separate us from the love of God–and indeed God is love–and perfect love casts out fear, then why do Christians fear so much?

Perhaps most well know of all:

Psalm 23 “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

Fear cripples. Fear destroys. Fear is the enemy of love. So when Christians preach fear and go around spreading lies to reinforce the fear, they are working against everything they claim to stand for by calling themselves followers of Jesus Christ.

Love is the antidote and vaccine to fear.

Love, don’t fear.

Love.

Welcoming Our New Readers

We’ve had quite a spike in reader traffic lately, so we thought our new readers might appreciate a quick tour of the site.

Queer at Patrick Henry College (also known as QueerPHC or QPHC) is a community of LGBTQ and allied students and alumni of Patrick Henry College, a small private Christian fundamentalist college in Virginia. We exist to provide encouragement and a sense of solidarity to those LGBTQ students and alumni in the Patrick Henry College community.

This blog has already seen its share of controversy in its short lifetime. After we created QueerPHC, school chancellor Michael Farris threatened to sue us for copyright infringement. After some media attention and a call from an attorney acting on our behalf, he withdrew his threat. A few weeks later, President Graham Walker alluded to a possible LGBTQ conspiracy targeting Christian college and university campuses.

All three QueerPHC bloggers have attended PHC, and we know the isolation, shame, and fear often associated with being LGBTQ in the PHC environment. The prevailing voice in the PHC community is one of condemnation. But we don’t think you should have to be ashamed of who you are and the way you love. We don’t think you should be forced to choose between your faith and your sexual orientation or gender identity.

We saw the artificial boundary lines that had been set, and we decided to camp out here in the middle and chat with those who walked by. We’re building a community with other wanderers. We all have a story to tell, and we’re only just learning how to tell it.

We welcome all new readers. We moderate our comments, so please keep your comments civil. And if you have a guest post idea that is both relevant and affirming to LGBTQ students and alumni of Patrick Henry College, send it our way at queerphc@gmail.com.

We hope you’ll stay for awhile!

‘A Peculiar Synchrony of Message and Method and Timing’

I recently shared the full text of a letter that Dr. Graham Walker sent to Patrick Henry College Alumni about QueerPHC and the recent media attention. For the sake of brevity, I won’t quote the full text below. All text in italics is from Walker’s letter. Note: I use the term “homosexuality” because PHC rhetoric about LGBTQ issues is usually limited to the LG portion of the spectrum.

It seems that many of [the journalists reporting on QueerPHC] can scarcely believe that a community could exist in our day that still believes what Christians have believed for two thousand years about the good, the true, and the beautiful as they apply to sexuality. But PHC has always been clear about where we stand as an institution.  Even apart from our PHC Standards and Honor Code, our commitment to the inerrant Bible would be enough, by itself, to make our position evident.

Yes, thanks to the PHC Handbook, we’re well aware of where PHC stands as an institution. However, apart from such documentation (and the many, many verbal statements that PHC leaders have made about sexuality), the college’s position on homosexuality would be far less clear.

Walker and other PHC leaders would like to reduce the conflict about homosexuality to a fight between Christians and non-Christians, in which the non-Christians support “deviant lifestyles” and the harried Christians attempt to defend traditional marriage against the onslaught of abuse, divorce, adultery, marital rape — oh, I’m sorry, against the onslaught of the homosexual agenda.

The homosexual agenda.

Unfortunately, liberal Christians and queer Christians complicate matters.

Failing that, Walker attempts to explain this conflict as a struggle between those who take the Bible seriously, and those who don’t. In this mindset, taking the Bible seriously means believing in the inerrancy of the Bible, and believing in the inerrancy of the Bible leads to an immediate and obvious condemnation of homosexuality, also translated as “all that weird butt sex stuff.”

For argument’s sake, let’s assume that taking the Bible seriously means believing in its inerrancy. Plenty of Christians wouldn’t equate the two, but we’ll leave them out of this round. However, even after we’ve excised this portion of the Body of Christ, we still have a deeply divided group.

Pro-LGBTQ Christians who still believe in an inerrant Bible believe that culture and context are important to understanding the Bible’s “clobber” verses about homosexuality, and usually believe that those verses actually refer to temple prostitution or pederasty or (in the case of Sodom) gang rape. PHC leaders commonly use the rhetorical tactic of claiming that the anti-LGBTQ side is the only side that takes the Bible seriously, and that the Bible’s position against homosexuality is self-evident. As a queer Christian, I don’t believe the Bible is the sole property of anti-LGBTQ fundamentalists. I take it seriously, too! I just interpret those verses differently.

As you may know, Patrick Henry is not alone in dealing with controversy along these lines.  Lots of Christian colleges are dealing with the same thing right now.  There are a number of new campus-aimed blog sites, all arising at about the same time, all targeting conservative or Christian campuses, and all deploying more or less the same rhetorical strategy.  All these sites display a peculiar synchrony of message and method and timing.

When I first read this paragraph, I burst out laughing. “A peculiar synchrony”? What are we, the League of Extraordinary Queer Pajama Bloggers? (We’re printing the T-shirts now!) QueerPHC was not part of some vast queer conspiracy. We started the blog on our own, hoping only to encourage the LGBTQ students and alumni of PHC. Now we’re in contact with leaders of LGBTQ groups at other Christian colleges and universities. The support and encouragement we receive is phenomenal.

If there is any synchrony, it’s because many LGBTQ and allied students and alumni of Christian colleges and universities realize that the time to speak out is now. We’re not conspiring; we’re organizing!

I anticipate that the media coverage will blow over soon, since there really isn’t a story here.  

The threat of a lawsuit, the denial of our existence, the accusation that LGBTQ students or alumni are liars because they signed an honor code — none of this is newsworthy in Walker’s eyes. This is erasure. Walker doesn’t think the school’s treatment of LGBTQ students and alumni matters.

But regardless of whether it does or doesn’t, please be assured that PHC will calmly maintain its principles.  I aim to extend love and good will even to those who may think of themselves as our enemies.  I think of them as potential friends.

I’m just gonna leave this here.

memeagain

We’re Back!

Sorry to disappear on you for awhile. After the lawsuit threat and the ensuing round of media about the blog, the three of us decided to take an emotional health break to enjoy the holidays.

But we’re back! And we have a lot to catch up on. For example, a few weeks ago, the BBC interviewed us, and they also interviewed Michael Farris.

“There’s no doubt that people are in patterns of living and patterns of thinking that is generally described as a homosexual orientation,” Farris said. “There’s no doubt that some students will come through here that are tempted in that direction. But you can’t tell the truth in the admissions process, and can’t tell the truth relative to the student covenant and the statement of faith that we require of all students, and also believe that homosexuality is anything other than a sin.”

Listen to the rest of it here. We’ll be posting the full transcript and a response later.

And in the December update of the alumni newsletter, PHC President Graham Walker wrote this:

Dear PHC Alumni,

It’s always interesting and sometimes disturbing when your alma mater is much in the news.  What with articles in the Loudoun Times, the Chronicle of Higher Education, and the Washington Post, all characterized by a generally hostile tone, it’s hard not to be a little concerned.

It seems that many of the writers can scarcely believe that a community could exist in our day that still believes what Christians have believed for two thousand years about the good, the true, and the beautiful as they apply to sexuality.  But PHC has always been clear about where we stand as an institution.  Even apart from our PHC Standards and Honor Code, our commitment to the inerrant Bible would be enough, by itself, to make our position evident.

As you may know, Patrick Henry is not alone in dealing with controversy along these lines.  Lots of Christian colleges are dealing with the same thing right now.  There are a number of new campus-aimed blog sites, all arising at about the same time, all targeting conservative or Christian campuses, and all deploying more or less the same rhetorical strategy.  All these sites display a peculiar synchrony of message and method and timing.

I’m keeping in touch with your incoming Alumni Association President, Daniel Noa, to keep him informed and get his advice.  I anticipate that the media coverage will blow over soon, since there really isn’t a story here.  But regardless of whether it does or doesn’t, please be assured that PHC will calmly maintain its principles.  I aim to extend love and good will even to those who may think of themselves as our enemies.  I think of them as potential friends.

Thanks for your prayers and support.

Graham Walker
President, Patrick Henry College

In related news, Patrick Henry College’s Marvin Olasky recently interviewed Dr. Rosaria Butterfield, a pastor’s wife and Purcellville resident who identifies as a former lesbian. The interview is part of Olasky’s Newsmakers Interview Series. David Weintraub at Equality Loudoun had a few good thoughts to share about orientation and individual choices in light of Butterfield’s interview.

You can watch the full interview here. We are mulling over our response now.

Gay and Happy: The Journey of a PHC Alumna

By Anonymous

At QueerPHC, we welcome guest posts that are affirming and relevant to LGBTQ students and graduates of Patrick Henry College. To submit your own guest post, email queerphc@gmail.com.

I’m an alumna of PHC, and I’m going to tell you how I – finally – came out of the closet. If you are at PHC, you probably haven’t heard a lot of narratives from people in the LGBTQ community, let alone happy ones, let alone from someone who shares your background.

I was home-schooled overseas; the fundamentalist, non-denominational Bible church that my grandfather founded was the locus of my social life. I never fit in with the girls at youth group and preferred to shoot hoops with the guys. Boys were my pals, not my crushes. I pushed down any inklings that I was gay. I told myself that I had more important things to think about than love, like college admissions. I remember catching myself staring at bikini-clad women on the beach. This is wrong, I told myself. Not only is it a sin, but if I tell anyone of these inclinations, even my parents, I will be seen as an abomination. And so I didn’t. I didn’t even fully admit these tendencies to myself.

Continue reading

Homosexuality: It’s an Orientation, Not an Action

When the story of Patrick Henry College Chancellor Michael Farris’ threatened lawsuit was picked up by various news outlets and blogs in the past week, we at QueerPHC braced ourselves for the inevitable response from the Patrick Henry College community telling us that we were unnatural, immoral, unbiblical, you name it.

Instead, the response from Farris was far more disturbing. He said we don’t exist.

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Guest Post: Straight Talk about QueerPHC

By R.L. Stollar

“This is great silliness of course, but it is the great silliness of highly intelligent and perceptive people.”
~ Alasdair MacIntyre

I committed a decade of my life to the HSLDA-sponsored homeschool debate league, NCFCA. This league was started by Michael Farris’ daughter, Christy Shipe. During that decade, I learned the importance of approaching controversies with a rational, balanced perspective. I was taught to respect opposing viewpoints and that giving viewpoints the freedom to exist was essential to both the American political experiment as well as Christian morality.

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An Interesting Take on Bisexuality

My fellow contributor, Alan Scott, brought this story by Chris OGuinn of AfterElton.com to my attention. The clips that have been compiled in the article (it’s 3 pages long) are from Make It or Break It on the ABC Family network.

Admittedly, I’ve never watched the show myself, but I have watched a handful of programs produced by ABC Family and I’m found them to be interesting enough that I’ve usually watched them in their entirety. One aspect that has stood out to me in the past is their protrayal of LGBT characters. They don’t use inflammatory material, tired Glee-style stereotypes, or the over-the-top hyperbole of The New Normal. What I’ve seen on ABC Family is primarily LGBT characters being portrayed as they exist in real society–dynamic, diverse, many-cultured, and going about their daily lives just like heterosexuals.

What stood out about this particular example was the description of Max’s (our character’s) sexuality. His true struggles are acknowledged. It’s not easy being in the middle. What is even more striking is Max’s straight friend’s reaction upon discovering that Max is bisexual. No hyper-hetero “I have to punch you/something to restore my manhood” no panicked fear and aggression. It’s very unusual to see this kind of portrayal. Personally, I want to think about it some more, but watch the videos, I’m curious what insight you readers have on the issue.

Farris Retreats From Threat to Sue QueerPHC

Update, Dec. 7, 11:35 p.m.:

Libby Anne of the Patheos blog Love, Joy, Feminism has made a post about us and the recent happenings.

Update, Dec. 5, 7:32 a.m.:

Hemant Mehta of Patheos blog has run a piece on the recent lawsuit threat.

Update, Dec. 3, 6:52 p.m.:

NYMag ran a short article on the lawsuit threat.

Original post: 

Michael Farris commented on a link on the Queer at Patrick Henry College Facebook page shortly before 5 p.m. this afternoon:

farris4

For those who cannot read the text on the jpeg, it says, “After further consultation, I withdraw my note from yesterday. While we believe in the inappropriate nature of the use of our trademarked name, we believe that litigation is not appropriate.”

While we believe our use of “Patrick Henry College” to be legal and appropriate, we are happy to hear that Farris will not be suing his own students.