Christian College Now Mildly Less Hostile to Gays

Hope College, a conservative Christian college in Holland, Michigan, now has a new, rather tortured policy on sexual orientation.
According to the school:

Hope College promotes the indispensable value of intellectual freedom and recognizes that there are Christians who take scripture seriously and hold other views. HopeCollege affirms the scholarly examination and discussion of all issues surrounding human sexuality even if they differ from the institutional position. The College provides safe places for the Hope community to discuss issues of human sexuality as well as educational programming on a variety of human sexuality issues.

If this sounds a little odd, consider that its earlier institutional position on the matter seemed to consist of this paragraph:

The College does not condone the commission of homosexual acts. Neither does it condone organizations or activities that aim to vindicate the moral acceptability of homosexual acts, or that suggest by their manner of presenting themselves that they have that aim in view. Specifically, the College will not provide recognition or financial or logistical support for organizations or groups whose purposes include the advocacy or moral legitimation of homosexual behavior.

The new statement sort of looks like a movement toward a progressive stance on the issue but consider that the recently adopted Hope College Position Statement on Human Sexuality also states that:

Sexuality, including longing and expression, is a good gift from God and a fact of our existence affirmed in the Christian scriptures and by the Church throughout the centuries. This biblical witness calls us to a life of chastity among the unmarried and the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman.

Hope College will not recognize or support campus groups whose aim by statement, practice, or intimation is to promote a vision of human sexuality that is contrary to this understanding of biblical teaching.

That looks like one of those odd things like “we respect the investigation and study of this issue, provided you do not come to certain conclusions about the issue.”

If the college used a similar statement to describe any other scholarly pursuit (“Hope College affirms the scholarly examination and discussion of all issues surrounding plant biology even if they differ from the institutional position”), it would sound very, very odd.

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer