Dr. Michael Farris, the chancellor and founder of Patrick Henry College, said earlier this month that despite a growing online community of closeted students saying they attend his school, there are no gay people at the Evangelical institution.
It was a remarkably ignorant remark, perhaps one made out of hope rather than reality, but it is a believe that Farris nonetheless reaffirmed in a new New York Times story about gay alumni of Evangelical colleges helping under graduates come out.
"I am taking a reporter’s word for it that one alumna has self-identified as a lesbian?" he says disbelievingly. Yet clearly there are gay people on campus, and clearly they need a helping hand.
In its piece, the Times talks an unidentified blogger going by lesbian hero Batwoman's alter ego, Kate Kane, to get a sense of the challenges she and her allies face as they help students work up the nerve to come out.
These alumni are reversing an old truism of campus life: that student radicals have to drag stodgy alumni into the modern age. But at these colleges, it is still difficult to be an openly gay student. And after graduating, gay and lesbian alumni and allies find each other, meet, push their colleges to be more liberal and reach out to undergraduates — offering affirmation that students do not get on campus.
The Christian alumni organizers all say they have heard from current undergraduates at their colleges who are grateful for the support. But faculty members, who at evangelical colleges usually must sign a statement of Christian faith, and who can more easily avoid influences from contemporary culture, may be holdouts who support traditional Christian teaching.
“The real issue on this is whether or not someone is created by God as gay or whether or not gay is a behavior pattern,” said Mr. Farris, the chancellor at Patrick Henry, which is Purcellville, Va. “We take the position it’s a behavior pattern. No one is created by God in this fashion."
Well aware of the contradiction of using a pseudonym to fight for inclusion, "Kane" told the paper she plans on coming out early next year.
"I have set a deadline for myself that I will come out by May 31, 2013. I’m hoping to come out in February or March," she said. Before she does so publicly, though, she wants to to her parents face-to-face.
Once she does, she can then show herself to Farris, proving that gay and lesbian Evangelical students do indeed roam his campus, a move that maybe, just maybe, will lead to his own evolution on the issue.
A three-judge panel in California yesterday put an injunction on the law prohibiting use of ex-gay on minors. Though the judges did not give a reason for their ruling, representatives from both sides of the debate of course spoke out about the decision.
Lynda Gledhill from the California Attorney General's office, which opposes ex-gay therapy for minors, vowed they will keep fighting those trying to "change" young gay Americans: "California was correct to outlaw this unsound and harmful practice, and the attorney general will vigorously defend this law."
Meanwhile, on the right, Liberty Counsel's Mat Staver said, "This law is an astounding overreach by the government into the realm of counseling and would have caused irreparable harm."
It's worth noting here two things. One, all major medical organizations have warned that ex-gay therapy, called "Reparative therapy" by its proponents, has negative side-effects, including depression and suicide. And there are no known positive effects. "There has been no scientifically adequate research to show that therapy aimed at changing sexual orientation (sometimes called reparative or conversion therapy) is safe or effective," said the American Psychological Association.
Second fact worth pointing out: Mat Staver has a history of wildly outrageous comments about the impact of progress. Just the other day he claimed marriage equality would lead to another civil war, so perhaps his sense of proportion vis a vis overreach is a bit skewed.
Anyway, this injunction comes after another judge blocked the law, meant to go into effect on January 1, earlier this month. He claimed opponents did not have sufficient proof that "ex-gay therapy" was harmful.
BY SAM GREISMAN
A look back at today's top stories
After promising "meaningful contributions", the National Rifle Association finally addressed the public today, a week since the shootings in Newtown. It turns out the only meaningful thing to come out of Wayne LaPierre's press conference was when he was interrupted by a protester. Want to know more about the NRA and feel that your stomach can handle it? Jason Bellini of The Wall Street Journal offers a brief history of the group.
First Lady Michelle Obama has reached out to the people of Newtown with an open letter published in the Hartford Courant in which she expresses her sympathies. Also her husband Barack responded to petitions for stricter gun control, saying in part "we hear you".
As expected Hillary Clinton's replacement as Secretary of State will be former presidential candidate Senator John Kerry. Shockingly, and thankfully, John Boehner's 'Plan B' has suffered an embarrassing failure.
On last night's Rock Center former First Daughter and marriage equality advocate Chelsea Clinton took some time to grill Pastor Rick Warren. Unsurprisingly he didn't budge. Looking to avoid political hot water, former Senator Chuck Hagel apologized today for anti-gay remarks he made in 1998. One very unapologetic man is Pope Benedict XVI who today tweeted, yes the Pope tweets for some reason, that gays deny human dignity.
In good news, Julius, New York City's oldest gay bar has been found eligible to qualify for National Landmark status.
VIDEOS OF THE DAY
In a very moving tribute to the victims of last week's shooting in Newtown, The Los Angeles Gay Men Chorus performed a hauntingly beautiful rendition of David Bowie's Peace on Earth.
On a much much lighter note, Paul Rudd stopped by Anderson today and tickled Cooper with his pickle.