FLORENCE, Alabama, July 14, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) – The University of North Alabama's student government plans to impeach its president for posting the message, “Born this way? You must be born again” to social media.
Jake Statom’s temporary Instagram story post provoked outrage from fellow students, who started a petition calling for his resignation from the position of Student Government Association (SGA) president. The petition now has just 1,100 signatures.
The SGA condemned Statom’s message as “homophobic” and warned that if Statom didn’t resign by June 30, he would be formally impeached during the first meeting of the fall semester on August 26.
While Statom has apologized on Instagram for the post, he has refused to resign.
Statom wrote on June 23, “I am deeply sorry that my Instagram story offended members of our community. I now see the story from a different perspective and apologize. My role as SGA President is to honorably represent all UNA students, and I fell short of this ideal.”
His words did little to appease the students he had angered. One response to his apology read, “I’m sorry you were offended’ is not an apology.” Someone else wrote, “THIS IS LITERALLY SO INSINCERE! You are only apologizing because it’s something that you feel like you’re being forced to do!” Both criticisms received about 100 “likes.”
The University of North Alabama issued a statement claiming that Statom’s Instagram message was “not representative” of their “commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.” It acknowledged, however, his “right to freedom of speech, even when it is offensive to others.”
The university’s letter cited the recent Mahanoy Supreme Court case, which “observed that public schools have ‘an interest in protecting a student’s unpopular expression, especially when the expression takes place off-campus, because America’s public schools are the nurseries of democracy.’”
After his apology, Statom wrote a letter to the SGA expressing his intent to continue as SGA President, referencing UNA’s defense of his freedom of speech. Statom wrote, “we, the UNA SGA, have a unique opportunity to be an example to others on how people with differing beliefs can and should work together.”
Statom’s supporters have launched a counter-petition in his defense, which has collected twice as many signatures as the petition calling for his resignation. It declares that UNA “wants him to resign simply because he expressed his freedom of speech and religion.”
Statom has also attracted the support of Republicans in the state legislature, who have written a resolution “strongly oppos[ing] any effort to impeach, remove, or apply political pressure intended to force” Statom’s removal as SGA president.
The resolution defends Statom’s Instagram message as having “sought to promote traditional morals and biblical values,” and decries the “dangerous ‘Cancel Culture’” of college campuses that “seeks to silence opinions that are deemed to be politically unacceptable to leftist ideologues and punish those who continue to adhere to traditional values.”
In the minds of many of his critics, Statom’s message that those who identify as “LGBTQ” should be “born again,” a reference to Jesus Christ’s call for all to be “born again of water and the Holy Ghost,” amounts to a message of hate or fear.
“Members of the LGBTQ community don’t want him in that position of power, because he doesn’t think that we have the right to exist,” claimed student Sarah Arnsparger.
The petition to have Statom resign stated, “As long as our SGA President is openly homophobic, it will be impossible for UNA to truly be a safe space for the LGBTQIA+ Community,” while one petition-signer claimed Statom is “against the existence of those he is supposed to represent.”
Such critics fail to acknowledge that Christianity’s call to repentance always goes hand-in-hand with the commandment to “love thy neighbor as thyself.” The planned “reparative therapy” ministry of “ex-gay” Milo Yiannopoulos is one of the clearest examples of the practice of this towards those who identify as LGBT.
Yiannopoulos recently released a video message for his “gay brothers and friends” to offer them healing from the trauma that leads to same-sex attraction.
“‘Born this way’ is a lie. It’s propaganda. It’s not true,” declared Yiannopoulos. “What you feel at the moment — an inexorable and unavoidable sexuality — is just the product of trauma that you might not even realize you suffered, but you did.”
It remains to be seen whether Statom will take legal action against UNA for failing to halt the impeachment process against him. Greg Piper at Just the News noted, “Florida State University paid nearly $100,000 this spring to settle a lawsuit stemming from its refusal to overturn the student government’s removal of its Senate president, Jack Denton, for sharing Catholic beliefs in a private group chat.”