No Escaping Change: There Will be Consequences

Goshen has a Religion and Sexuality class.

Let me reiterate that: Goshen has an entire class devoted to Religion and Sexuality.

EMU’s silence on human sexuality in general, let alone its intersections with religion and religious history, is not so much baffling to me as it is infuriating. All over campus I’ve met people who are very open to discussing and debating and learning about human sexuality; the timidity of our institution to so much as spell out “s-e-x” is not reflective of the student body’s opinions on the matter (or their actions).

It appears to be the same with the infamous Hiring Policy.

While I know certain people who might oppose allowing professors in same-sex relationships to teach here, the grand majority of people with whom I have talked have expressed everywhere from kindhearted ambivalence, to an agreement that enacting an equal-rights policy would be beneficial, to absolute adamancy that things must change institutionally lest we forego our commitment to “do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with God.”

The Survey—the first tenet of the Listening Process—has just been e-mailed to all of us.

If this was a survey about sex and gender (like allowing significant others to stay over in our rooms, or even just co-ed housing) we would be jumping all over this opportunity to make our voices heard.

You might think that the question of changing the hiring policy may not affect you personally, but that is not true.

Current professors have said they will resign if the policy is not changed; some of EMU’s most active students and graduates are not allowed to return as faculty because of their desire to have a family. Professors have already been fired or refused a job because of their sexual orientation, and the way that you approach this discrimination will influence your peers’ perception of you.

If this policy is changed, it will be one small step for EMU and one big (and contentious) leap for MCUSA and the Mennonite Education Agency.

But really, whose opinion matters most here—stakeholders in the institution, or the students who make this university what it is?

Do we really want to go all this way, pave this path of inclusion for other Anabaptist colleges, and then back down?

That is essentially saying, “We thought about it, but we don’t care enough about our queer minority to allow them to love as the rest of us love.”

Take the survey.

Really, people, engage in this discussion about equality as adamantly as you make known your frustrations with EMU’s silence regarding sex.

Answering a few questions may take four minutes of your time, but your input has the power to change so many lives—and EMU—for the better.

Categories: Opinion


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