To the editor: I have great sympathy for the college students fighting to express their sexual identities at Azusa Pacific University. I am also honored to teach at an institution that is part of a large state system that shares those values.
However, APU is an evangelical Christian university founded upon what it describes as a “strong, clear, unswervingly evangelical Christian worldview,” an essential component of which is “understanding that marriage is between one man and one woman,” according to the school’s website. As much as it saddens me to read that LGBTQ students there feel “betrayed,” I submit this possibility: Evangelical Christianity and open identification as an LGBTQ person are not compatible.
A recent Pew study found that only 36% of evangelical Protestants think homosexuality should be accepted. It stands to reason, then, that LGBTQ college students will rarely find allies among evangelical Christians.
I encourage these students to be brave in the face of those who may judge them, but also to be brave enough to abandon institutions in which they justly feel persecuted. I would welcome them in my classroom any day.
Josh Sides, Woodland Hills
To the editor: Something foundational was left out of this article. It omitted the basic principle that APU and other Christian colleges expect their students to abide by biblical teaching.
Moses spoke against homosexuality in Leviticus Chapter 18. When the first Christian church was being formed in Acts Chapter 15, the founders agreed to follow Jewish morality. St. Paul was outspoken against homosexuality in Romans Chapter 1 and I Corinthians Chapter 6. Jesus taught that God created people male and female, and that people must avoid sexual sin.
What the Bible says is the first place to examine when writing about the tension between the LGBTQ students and Christian institutions.
Elizabeth F. Norling, Long Beach