>Calvin College and Homosexuality

>Calvin College professors call for discussion about a memo warning against homosexual advocacy:

GRAND RAPIDS — Calvin College professors say they want a campus discussion about academic freedom after being told it is “unacceptable” for them to advocate for homosexual issues and same-sex marriage.

College employees received a memo last week saying the Board of Trustees has revisited issues surrounding the college’s position on homosexuality, concluding it is “unacceptable” for faculty and staff to teach, write or advocate on behalf of the issue.

About 130 of the campus’ 300 faculty attended a meeting this week to discuss the memo. Karin Maag, vice chairwoman of the Faculty Senate, said there are concerns about both the content of the letter and the process by which the policy was determined.

“We see this as an opportunity for a discussion on campus about these issues, for which there is a range of opinion,” she said. “We’re really at the very start of that process.”

Maag said professors are concerned about how the policy was created.

“We usually follow a more ‘bottom up’ approach, where a change might come from a committee — and we have a lot of committees — then be recommended to the Faculty Senate and get the seal of approval from the full faculty,” she said. “Then everybody has an opportunity to express their opinion on a controversial topic.”

Maag said most professors didn’t hear about this action until they received the memo.

“The way this was handled feels strange, and there is fear that we’d be heading down a slippery slope when the next issue comes about,” she said.

The college in 2008 affirmed its commitment to the Christian Reformed Church’s position on homosexuality: that the practice is sinful, but a person’s orientation is not. The board formed the Homosexuality and Community Life Working Group to discuss the implications of the college and church position and how it relates to the day-to-day life in the college.

The trustees in May revisited the topic and stated expectations for the faculty, including that advocacy by faculty and staff both in and out of the classroom is unacceptable.

Read the Christian Reformed Church’s position on homosexuality here.

Claude Mariottini
Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary

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6 Responses to >Calvin College and Homosexuality

  1. Anita Joy says:

    >Oh dear, rather an unfortunate use of words there, or a Freudian slip mayhaps, by Karin Maag in a discussion about homosexuality…"We usually follow a more 'bottom up' approach, where a change might come from a committee — and we have a lot of committees — I can hear God laughing somewhere, can you?


  2. >Anita,That was precious. I had not seen the humor in the use of those words until now. If God did not laugh, I did.Thank you for pointing this Freudian slip.Claude Mariottini


  3. Anonymous says:

    >Well, Claude, your laugh is the next best thing. Lets all have a good laugh about those with whom we disagree.


  4. >Well, friend, there are many funny things in life that deserves a good laugh. The only thing I don't understand is with whom are you disagreeing: with the statement from the member of the faculty, with the action of the trustees, with the person who made the comment, or with me who believes that the Freudian slip was funny?Anyway, thank you for your comment.Claude Mariottini


  5. Anonymous says:

    >I don't like watermelon jokes about Obama, or "bottoms up" jokes about homosexuals. Could be I'm being overly-sensitive here.


  6. >Dear friend,Fair enough. I will apologize for the joke, but as the person who made the comment noted, the statement was a Freudian slip that was made by one of the professor at Calvin, and that cannot be changed.Claude Mariottini


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