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!

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.

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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