With this being said, I also feel like I am better able to stand up for myself and what I believe and to speak my opinion more openly when I need to. This has been tested time and time again in more than one situation in the past month or so, but it has happened more than ever in the past few days.
My school is divided right now. There is a new group trying to get chartered on campus called the Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA). I support this group fully. I am definitely straight and don't have to deal with the same things that those who are not have to deal with, but I can see the need for this group, now more than ever.
Here is a link that I found about this group: http://gsanetwork.org/
This group would not be the only one of its kind. They are found all over on many other college campuses. The problem that people see with this group being here at A-B is that we are a Baptist Affiliated college. (But there are 5 other Baptist colleges that have them, from what I hear at our open forum on Tuesday night) Since, according to the Bible, being gay is an "abomination" (Leviticus 18:22 - and please don't think I'm "throwing Bible verses around", as I have already heard numerous people say about the other Christians that DO oppose this group who have used the Bible as proof that we shouldn't have this. I'm simply using some of the ones that I have heard as examples of what is being said.)....anyway, yes. Since the Bible states that a man lying with another man as a woman is an abomination, there are those that believe having a group that lends support to the gay community of A-B's campus is conforming to society and not listening to what we are supposed to do as Christians.
Before I go further, let me just say that I believe everyone has a right to their own opinions, whether it agrees with mine or not. It doesn't mean I will change my opinion because it doesn't match yours, but I will not think poorly of someone as a person if they don't agree with me. All I ask is that in the discussion of this topic that everyone be respectful, which many are not. I know that many friendships are being ruined over this debate, and I don't want that to happen with mine. Those that know me know that I don't usually speak out about something this controversial unless I feel very strongly about it. I will speak my peace if I want to because that is my right, but I will not make this debate personal. I refuse to do that.
Back to my discussion...
The Bible does indeed say this. It also says many other things that are not relevant today. There are things mentioned that were relevant then, but what some of those things actually are have changed between when the Bible was written and today. If everything was the same, yes, I would take all of the Bible's instructions and defend them, every last one. However, times are not the same. They have changed drastically. Here is an article that lists some things that the Bible says that give directions for what should be done in various situations: http://gayteens.about.com/od/glbtteenlifestyle/ss/the_bibile_4.htm. It's hard to even imagine any of those being done today. That is why bringing up that the Bible says that it is wrong can't really be used against this group. Yes, it says that, but the things that it refers to during biblical times are not the same situations that we're talking about today.
Another thing: God creates all of us. He creates us to be flawed and to make mistakes so that we can learn about ourselves and be humble. He doesn't want us to be perfect. If he did, we would be. I read on the Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=183995698312174) where someone said that God created us all with our futures in mind. He knew them before we did, along with what choices we would make and how people would react to them and make choices in return. I believe that is true. I don't believe being gay is a choice. Why would someone make that choice, given the alternative, knowing what kind of discrimination and other trials they would have to endure? (I'm not referring to A-B in particular right now with the discrimination, so no one freak out about that statement) I don't know anyone who is gay that says that they made the choice to be gay. (Oh and I know it's not PC, but I'm using gay as a general term here)
So why? Maybe God made people to be gay to challenge us. I'm sure some would say that if that is true it is to challenge us to stick by every word of the Bible. I'm not so sure if that's why. To me, I think it has more to do with the fact that He does not want us to judge and ridicule each other for our decisions. He is the only one who can truly judge anyone. I know Christianity isn't supposed to be some fuzzy soft security blanket that never hurts or offends anyone, but it's not supposed to be something that leads you to create torment for someone else either just because they are of a different mind about something than you are. I think the challenge is to find ways to compromise with each other. We can help each other become stronger in our faith so that we can can make our OWN informed decisions about our lives, but those decisions HAVE to be a person's own. Shoving your own opinions down anyone's throat and saying that you are the only one that's right will not get you ANYWHERE with your cause. If anything, it will turn people away from it. And isn't our purpose as Christians really supposed to be to help other people see the light and be saved? That's what I've always learned. That will not happen here if what is happening now continues.
As far as the group in particular goes? Who is it really going to hurt? Nobody. If you don't agree with it, you don't have to have anything to do with it. It is not promoting homosexuality. It is simply there to offer those that need it a safe environment to talk about things that they deal with that are specific to their situations. Yes, it is true that they can talk about these things with their friends and families if they choose...but if the people they choose to talk to about it are not in the same kind of situation, it won't do as much good. It helps, in anything, to be able to talk to someone about something if you both have that topic in common. That is called common sense.
True, they could get together on their own time. It was even suggested that they go to another school that has the group, if they want it that badly. Come on, really? That's just being insensitive. This kind of thinking is another thing this group hopes to prevent and to change. No, you don't have to change your religious beliefs or other views -- but the kind of thinking that says, "I don't agree with this, therefore, no one on this campus should be able to have anything to do with it." The group is called an "alliance" because it is supposed to help the college and town community as a whole understand each other better and lead to more tolerance.
It is also true, that the fact that there are gay people on this campus was not a huge deal before this group was brought up. But you know what? Now that they are asking for something, this group has become an issue because the people who would mainly benefit from it are gay. Whether anyone else wants to admit it or not, that sounds like discrimination to me. Tell me, if it were straight students asking for a group that would help them cope with problems in their lives, would it face this much controversy? I don't think it would. There's a double standard here that a lot of people don't want to admit is happening. The fact that it didn't seem like a problem to so many of us before (and I am one of the ones who really didn't see anything at first) was because it didn't involve most of us. We're not the ones who have to deal with it. So of course we don't see it. It's been that way with other major events in our country's history as well (women's suffrage <-- that was mentioned on the FB, and equal rights for African Americans, to name a couple). When it comes down to it, it can be made into a religious issue, but is also an equal rights issue, and if a group of students is denied the right to meet and be recognized as their own organization of the school because they are gay...I'm sorry folks, but yes, that is called discrimination.