Whitworth’s failure to take a stance warrants open conversation

by Sarah Berentson

The Whitworth administration has announced that they will be holding an open conversation on April 18 regarding Whitworth’s stance on sexual orientation. President Beck Taylor recently sent out a school-wide email that assessed the current situation. The legalization of gay marriage is at the forefront of many discussions in society, church, etc, and President Beck Taylor has courageously set up a time to facilitate a discussion between faculty and students.

This discussion is extremely important for our school, and for the movement for homosexuality equality within the church, and in a wider lens, within society. Though I would never wish myself into Beck Taylor’s position, I believe his choice to confront this issue is noble.

A middle ground is very unrealistic in this conversation, just like George Washington’s will to be an isolationist country was unrealistic. As a society we  have to confront the issues in our country head-on, and cannot choose to avoid them out of the hopes of avoiding conflict. Whichever stance Whitworth decides to take will be controversial because the feelings and opinions on this issue within the religious world are split.

There are a variety of possible outcomes, and I will simplify a few of them as to get an idea of what Whitworth is getting into. Whitworth could choose to say simply that homosexuality is a sin, therefore we believe (much like Michelle Bachman’s family) that it can be cured, and we do not condone it on our campus. This stance will likely create a huge uproar not only on campus, but in the surrounding Spokane community.

A tamer option is that Whitworth decides that they believe homosexuality is a sin, but we should love the sinner and open our hearts and our campus to all sinners. In short, you’re probably going to hell if you’re gay, but we still love you and believe that you can choose the right path, or God will lead you there.

Another option, that I feel is the best, is to support homosexuality. If you read my article about the legalization of gay marriage, you probably aren’t surprised that I hope that Whitworth chooses to not equate homosexuality with sin, and instead believes that gays, like anyone else can be Christians. Many Churches have accepted homosexuality in their church, and reformed previous views. Many religious people argue that God still speaks today, and one view is that he would accept homosexuality in today’s society. While, my view lies far outside religion, I would be overjoyed to see Whitworth take a stance in support of homosexuality.

Though I can’t predict the outcome of this open conversation, I hope that it turns out to be one that engenders love. As previously mentioned, President Beck Taylor hopes that the future stance should create healthy tensions. Whitworth is a university that represents community, and love that extends far beyond Christianity.

I encourage everyone to go to this open conversation, and further to think about this social issue that is so controversial and important to our society.

Berentson is a senior majoring in English and Spanish. Comments can be sent to sberentson12@my.whitworth.edu.

One Reply to “Whitworth’s failure to take a stance warrants open conversation”

  1. Sarah, thanks for your article on Wednesday night’s courageous conversation, but the intent of the event is not to position Whitworth to take a “stance” on the issue of sexual orientation. Rather, the purpose of the event is to provide a safe place for dialogue and learning, and to hear from a diversity of opinions and perspectives. Indeed, I value Whitworth’s institional position of neutrality on this issue because, in my opinion, it allows for the broadest intellectual space for dialogue and learning on this issue. To foreclose on conversations about sexual orientation by taking a formal institutional stance in one direction or another would be antithetical to what it means to be a university that values differing opinions and ideas even on (or especially on) those issues that are dividing society and the church.

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