The Gay Christian Network Condemns InterVarsity Purge of Affirming Staff
October 11, 2016
The Gay Christian Network has a 15-year history of collaborating with LGBTQ and Christian communities across areas of theological disagreement. We are not in the habit of telling other Christian organizations how to run their own business, but in this case, we feel compelled to speak out against the wrong and hurtful actions of our friends at InterVarsity.
InterVarsity’s announcement that all staff must resign if they do not privately agree with its specific theological view on marriage is absolutely unprecedented for an interdenominational organization that has previously prided itself on uniting Christians with widely divergent views on other doctrinal matters. This decision sends a clear message to LGBTQ students that they are not wanted in InterVarsity—and many will surmise that they are not wanted in the church, either.
InterVarsity has argued that this large-scale firing should not be seen as anti-LGBTQ because some LGBTQ Christians don’t support same-sex marriage themselves. We do not see it that way. Our own membership does, indeed, include LGBTQ Christians who share InterVarsity’s theological view, but as LGBTQ Christians, we know firsthand that people like us desperately need the freedom to wrestle with difficult biblical texts on marriage and sexuality without being afraid that such wrestling could cost us our Christian fellowship or even our jobs. InterVarsity already has a poor track record of supporting LGBTQ students—even those who share its theology of marriage—and this makes matters far worse.
Current InterVarsity staff members tell us they are confused and afraid. Many have been loyally serving their campuses their entire adult lives, never having publicly disagreed with the organization’s stance, but they are now being told that if they privately have any doubts about this one specific belief, they must resign. Staff members fear that to even question this new policy will instantly out them as dissidents, costing them their livelihood.
While we sympathize with the need for religious organizations to be able to take theological positions, we do not believe witch hunts based on privately held personal beliefs are the right way to handle a sensitive issue where many Christians are evolving and where those most affected are a minority community with a history of feeling unwanted in the church.
We call upon InterVarsity to rescind this damaging policy. In addition, as a global organization of LGBTQ Christians across theological divides, we ask for an opportunity to privately meet with InterVarsity decision-makers on an ongoing basis, and, working together, to improve InterVarsity’s support for LGBTQ students and staff while respecting the organization’s ability to take its own positions on matters of theological dispute.
Guided by the light and love of Christ, The Gay Christian Network (GCN) is transforming attitudes toward LGBTQ people across denominations and cultures. We equip churches, educate lay people, build supportive communities, influence key thought leaders, foster self-acceptance, and advocate on behalf of the marginalized and oppressed. Together, we are creating a world where the next generation of LGBTQ youth will grow up fully loved and embraced by their families, churches, and neighbors; and where Christians worldwide will live up to their calling as instruments of grace and defenders of the outcasts.
For more information or to schedule an interview with GCN Executive Director Justin Lee, contact:
(800) 268-3688 option 4