NASHVILLE, Tennessee, Thu Mar 10, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Provost Thomas Burns of Belmont University in Nashville has announced in a statement that the evangelical Christian school has given official approval to its first homosexual student organization.
Burns said that the decision to recognize the homosexualist group, which had twice before applied for, and been denied, club status, reflected an “ongoing campus dialogue about Christian faith and sexuality.”
“This outcome represents many months of conversation, collaboration and cooperation between Belmont students, faculty and staff,” the statement read.
In December 2010, Belmont was embroiled in controversy when the school dismissed women’s soccer coach Lisa Howe, after she told her team that she and her lesbian partner were expecting a baby.
Belmont’s policy change follows a decision in January to add “sexual orientation” to the historically Baptist school’s anti-discrimination policy.
The school, which had been affiliated with the Tennessee Baptist Convention, broke those ties in 2007 over a lawsuit involving the appointment of trustees. The school had wanted to add non-Baptists to its board.
Randy Davis, executive director of the state convention, told Baptist Press at that time that Belmont had walked away from its “Christian heritage and roots.”
According to the author of an article in Religion News Service (RNS) reacting to Belmont’s decision, there are “rumblings” that suggest that the homosexualist agenda is gaining some ground among younger evangelicals attending these schools.
RNS noted that the student newspaper at Westmont College in California printed an open letter last month signed by 131 homosexual and homosexual-supportive alumni. “We offer our names as proof that LGBT people do exist within the Westmont community,” their letter said.
In 2009 a decision by Hope College in Holland, Michigan, to ban a screening of the film “Milk” by homosexual rights activist Dustin Lance Black, was subverted by a group of pro-homosexual students, faculty and community members calling themselves “Hope is Ready.” The group screened the film instead at a local public theater with the intent of promoting their activism, according to the RNS report.
David Gushee, director of the Center for Theology and Public Life at Mercer University in Georgia told RNS, “Clearly attitudes are changing. The possibility that the church has been wrong on the ethics of committed homosexual behavior - that’s a momentous question.”
“We can’t have the name of Jesus certainly associated with hatred or contempt for homosexuals,” Gushee said. “And in general we should be known by what we’re for rather than what we’re against.”
RNS pointed out, however, that activists from the homosexual rights group Soulforce seeking to promote the gay agenda on evangelical universities, have been arrested for trespassing at Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University, Pat Robertson’s Regent University, Oral Roberts University and Baylor University.
Thomas Burns, Provost
1900 Belmont Blvd, Nashville, TN 37212