Supposedly, the basis for the exclusion of hiring faculty in same-sex relationships lies in the Mennonite Church USA Confession of Faith of 1995, Article 19.
Below are a few potential consequences from this document that, one would assume, are also informing our hiring policy.
If your parents made the egregious error of sprinkling your wee fontanelle with holy water, we need a six-month listening process to determine your teaching eligibility as a human being. (Article 11)
You also need those six months of discussion if you’re going to go have communion while secretly simmering about that old guy sitting in the pew ahead of you who smells like cabbage and shag carpet. (Article 12)
Did you divorce your emotionally abusive spouse? No employment for you. (Article 19)
Did you elope or were married by a judge, without the all-encompassing support of your faith community? You’re also doing marriage wrong – better not wait around for that tenure contract. (Article 19)
Do you perhaps, on occasion, even make promises? Swear to your children that you’ll be cheering at their soccer game? Employment-threatening transgression. (Article 20)
Along with that, every time you give in to that tempting urge to call that prosperity-preaching Joel Osteen an ass-hole. (Article 20)
Do you own a car? Perhaps eat more than black beans on tortillas for dinner? Let somebody else (or worse – a factory!) churn your butter?
Doesn’t sound like you’re living simply, dear endangered professor. (Article 21)
And, of course, think of all that tax money you pay for the government to fund drone strikes and other military expenditures. (Article 23).
I hope you will forgive my short-tempered sarcasm.
To be concise, my point is this: we do not follow the 1995 Confession of Faith (COF) in hiring our faculty.
Instead, opposition to hiring faculty in same-sex relationships seems to come from the same repressed Christian obsession with certain antiquated, Council-of-Laodicea-assembled passages over others.
Why sacrifice the validation of someone’s humanity to one fraction of otherwise ignored literature?
Why strike fear into the hearts of faculty who may now be acknowledging their own queer journey and identity? Not only does the existing hiring policy dehumanize those in same-sex relationships and the queer community at large, it is self-contradictory.
I urge those opposed to change to consider their motives in not wanting certain professors on campus, and to be honest with themselves about EMU’s history of divergence from the COF.
Then, perhaps, we can talk about sexuality constructively, in terms of valued people and rich experiences rather than cold, dictatorial systems.
-Randi B. Hagi, Co-Editor In Chief
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