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Gay Students Organize At Evangelical College - From Inside The Closet

GodGay

There's a not-so-quiet revolution happening at Biola University, an Evangelical university in Southern California. Though the school explicitly forbids any kind of same-sex love, dozens of students, faculty and alum have come together to form the Biola Queer Underground.

"We want to bring to light the presence of the LGBTQ community at Biola. Despite what some may assume, there are Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, Transgender, and Queers at Biola. We are Biola's students, alumni, employees, and fellow followers of Christ. We want to be treated with equality and respected as another facet of Biola's diversity," they said in a statement released on May 9, the same day President Obama endorsed marriage equality.

Unfortunately for the group's members, though, they have to remain in the closet. Via MSNBC:

…Members of BQU, who would only comment for this story anonymously, fear that by "coming out" they would be punished and possibly expelled. They said they consider themselves Christians "first and foremost" and love Biola, and are not looking to create "a war" on campus, but they are looking to have an open discussion about what it means to be Christian and gay.

Eventually, Members of the group would like to "come out" and be open about their sexuality. "It’s important to our integrity to not have parts of us be hidden even among the Christian community,” a member said.

While there have been a few supporters from the school's community, there's just as much opposition. One student remarked, "Obviously, if it's underground, they know it’s wrong and on some level they know they shouldn't be doing it," and the school responded to the group's emergence by releasing a campus-wide memo calling LGBT relationships "illegitimate moral options for the confessing Christian.”

Despite their official opposition, administrators claim they want to have a "conversation" with BQU's members, but the activists won't come out until the school changes its oppressive policies.

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Comments

  1. No offense to anyone who is religious but I am glad I no longer am. There is no more internal conflict, no more having to choose between faith and living my life, no more wondering if the priest and congregation thinks I am going to hell. It is a relief. I feel for these students but I hope they realize its going to be an uphill battle for a long time.

    Posted by: KT | May 24, 2012 9:27:09 AM


  2. Increasingly I'm seeing this bizarre "reasoning" used, that anti-gay people and groups accept no responsibility for creating a pervasive, toxic, literally deadly atmosphere of homophobia, but then turn around and cite people being closeted or gay youth suicides as evidence that person "knew it was wrong." Talk about having your cake and eating it too!

    Personally I think these students and staff would do well to get the hell away from Biola and Evangelical Christianity altogether, but it's gutsy of them to challenge the status quo at the school.

    Posted by: Caliban | May 24, 2012 9:37:14 AM


  3. The students seem reasoned & intelligent.

    Good luck with that.

    Posted by: Pete N SFO | May 24, 2012 9:39:07 AM


  4. So it's a school no one has ever heard of with a group that no one will ever know. Super. Should do a lot.

    Posted by: Paul R | May 24, 2012 9:40:02 AM


  5. They need to get the hell outta there. The bigots won't change if the group has to be underground. That only perpetuates the stigma.

    Posted by: Jack M | May 24, 2012 9:55:55 AM


  6. "Obviously, if it's underground, they know it's wrong..." This person needs to read up on the history of Hans and Sophie Scholl and the White Rose. Ignorant fascist.

    Posted by: kit | May 24, 2012 9:59:48 AM


  7. Homophobic haters are antiChrist who do not believe or pretend to believe in Jesus Christ but do not acknowledge His 2 commandments to love God and to love thy neighbor as thyself, which are the highest of all biblical laws. The antiChrist work with the devil who is the master of quoting biblical verses except those 2 top commandments of love from Christ, to disagree, to avoid using Christ name but other name even 'god', to bring all sort of biblical verses and to lie. Their objective is to deceive people that those 2 commandments of love were not above all laws for Christians.

    The issue of homosexuality among any other issues is a test of the Christian faith on that choice of who they really believe in the end, to love (stay with Christ to follow His commandments) or to hate (succumb to temptation of verses NOT from Christ and his top commandments and to justify their hatred, a deja-vu of Eve falling into temptation by satan the snake with the apple for the 'gift' of 'knowledge').

    Posted by: Simon | May 24, 2012 10:35:03 AM


  8. on the whole "LGBTQ" thing...what exactly is a Queer, isn't it just another word for "gay" in some peoples' minds? And...why use a derogatory word such as "queer" to describe yourself? Whats next? LGBTQF?

    Posted by: Locutus of Board | May 24, 2012 10:51:30 AM


  9. As a member of a College Bible study group during the late 80s, one of my best friends was a Biola student I enjoyed visiting on-campus, wishing I was attending his university instead of Cal State Fullerton. My Biola friend and I fell out of touch after college but we ran into each other years later at a San Francisco gay bar. We were thrilled. This honesty would not have been possible while he was at Biola or I was living at the Pacific Christian College (now Hope International University) dorm across from Cal State Fullerton. Hence my point: advocating radical change within an organization students have freely chosen to attend and whose mission opposes LGBT rights is probably a waste of time. Evangelical Christianity - in most instances and in most places - does not provide space for LGBT people; it's contrary to the brand, if you will. Hoping BQU will realize making a joyful noise elsewhere may have better results. Whatever happens, I greatly admire them. JM

    Posted by: James | May 24, 2012 11:00:15 AM


  10. @LOCUTUS-

    The "Q" is for "questioning."

    Biola is a great place for Christianists to send their pre-brainwashed home-schooled kids because they reinforce the crazy they were taught at home.

    I would not hire a job candidate who attended Biola.

    Posted by: Randy | May 24, 2012 11:12:00 AM


  11. LGBT recognition and acceptance is "contrary to the brand" -- for the dominant, in power, evangelical pastors and leaders. However, it is not contrary to the Jesus who walked on this earth and loved everyone -- especially those at the margins of life. There is a grassroots movement happening where an increasing number of straight people who love Jesus also love their LGBT brothers and sisters and believe in equality, and a slowly increasing number of church leaders who are also standing up for the rights of all.

    The "underground" movement at Biola seems to be one step further along than the formerly "invisible" movement at Biola. Who can say how it will evolve in the coming years? Hopefully in the direction of openness and acceptance.

    To those of you in BQU: God loves you no matter what the administration thinks or does. Be a shining example of Jesus' love to everyone!

    Posted by: rob g | May 24, 2012 11:25:09 AM


  12. These people really should leave the bigots behind. Protest with your feet. A degree from a school like Biola is not worth the paper it is printed on outside of a very narrow group of insular bigots. The gay students should think bigger than that. In the wide world, there are lots of places that value diversity and individuality. Don't let the bigots narrow your life.

    Posted by: Jay | May 24, 2012 11:55:13 AM


  13. @Randy..questioning makes more sense than using "queer" but I'd still like to know why people use that term. E.G> Biola Queer Underground

    Posted by: Locutus of Board | May 24, 2012 12:03:02 PM


  14. It's one thing being out at a public institution, trying doing it in the Boy Scouts or a private college where they can legally boot you out. As we make more strides for legal public protection, these guys and gals are on the real forefront of queer liberation. They're trying to change the minds of Christians in their own den. Good for them.

    Keep changing minds and ignore the folks who say to abandon what you believe in. Christianity will be the last bastion of bigotry in this country and only folks like these are going to change their minds.

    Posted by: Landon | May 24, 2012 12:06:16 PM


  15. Upstanding people like Pastor Worley use the word queer to describe us.

    Posted by: Locutus of Board | May 24, 2012 12:15:49 PM


  16. I came from a Fundamentalist background, and I can tell you it is very unlikely that these kids will change the minds of their denomination or their school. But if they are beginning to reconcile their faith with their sexuality, that could be, as it was for me, a first step towards leaving their conservative background and joining one of many progressive denominations that treat them as a whole person. I am now a member of an "open and affirming" congregation of the United Church of Christ, and I don't have to apologize for my sexuality or for my faith. Best of luck to these kids on their journey. The idea that they have to be Christians and deny who they are as people, or live honestly and deny their Christianity, is completely wrong.

    Posted by: Brian | May 24, 2012 12:18:32 PM


  17. I dated a gay BIOLA student back in the 80s. he went there because his small town Alaska parents would only pay for his college if he went to a "christian" school. He hated it and would much rather have gone to another college. However, we did have fun making out in the chapel.

    Posted by: E. Thor Carlson | May 24, 2012 2:52:06 PM


  18. "Biola Queer Underground" . . . ye Gods! Radicals proclaiming liberation from behind a closet door . . . now I've heard everything! As long as these pathetic students continue to attend a school of false prophecy, they are justified in calling themselves "queers". They deserve the label: Something is wrong with them in the head!

    Posted by: Stuffed Animal | May 24, 2012 4:04:20 PM


  19. I see what your saying Stuffed Animal, but as the commenter directly above you noted, many students probably have to go to a place like Biola because of the financial constraints imposed by their parents. I kind of get a kick out of the fact that this "BQU" group is probably driving the administration of this college crazy just by their existence.

    Posted by: Derek Pearce | May 25, 2012 2:30:54 AM


  20. clear everything out of your closet, you will be able to see what you have to work with, and like I did I moved some things in different stops to make it look more neat! Clearing everything out will also allow you to see everything you have, things you may have forgotton you have, things maybe you know you wont where anymore and so on. I like to set everything aside and while im orgazining it gives you a change to go through everything you have

    Posted by: Clarence Bale | Jun 29, 2012 5:07:13 AM


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