Declaring, “[w]e want to be treated with equality and respected as another facet of Biola’s diversity,” a purported student group is calling upon Biola University to accept homosexuality as normative behavior (see group’s website here) . The group does not offer theological justification for its position, and instead refers visitors to an off-site source which it claims holds “similar views” (see that site here). “Biola Underground” explains that its mission entails “[r]econciling faith with non-conforming gender/sexual identities is our most important and difficult goal. This of course will take time. We begin by sharing a few of our personal stories and writings.” Lacking a defined theological position, why does this group believe Biola should change its theological stance? Does the group believe that if Biola is harassed long enough, it will eventually change?
These students rather ingeniously portrays itself as a persecuted group, writing, “Biola is … spiritually and emotionally harmful towards those at our school part of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community” (source). But they do not explain how the university is “spiritually and emotionally harmful” toward them, except that Biola won’t accept homosexuality as normative.
The group’s purpose appears to be to deny Biola’s right to self-identify. In the tradition of academic freedom, I have no objection to students challenging their school’s positions; ultimately, however, students must decide why they are there. I was once a student at a Christian college (the now-defunct Bethany University in Scotts Valley, California) and although I did not agree with every position the school held, I respected the school’s right, as an historic institution, to determine its own creed. I felt I could be a part of that process, but only a part; I did not believe I had the right to insist upon my own way, exclusive of the university’s right of self-identification. In fact, such an attitude on my part would have been arrogant and naive. If I so disagreed with the university, I was perfectly free to withdraw, and to start my own school.
It’s unfortunate that this purported student group chooses to remain anonymous. While calling upon the school to engage in a discussion, they offer no face, save a website. What they want, then, is not a discussion, but a monologue. In my judgment, this conversation has gotten off to a bad start.
Biola has issued a series of statements, which can be found here.
- None Found