Final Fall, I wrote about Azusa Pacific University’s (APU) removal of the ban on gay relationships amongst its students. Days later, the trustees voted to reverse the administration and to reinstate the ban. These days, The San Gabriel Valley Tribune reports that Azusa Pacific University has removed its ban on homosexual relationships however once more. From the report:
Azusa Pacific University once more has lifted a ban on LGBTQ relationships on campus.
The university Board of Trustees directed administrators to update the student handbook for undergraduate students, campus spokeswoman Rachel White confirmed. The adjustments especially removed language that barred LGBTQ relationships as element of a standing ban on pre-marital sex.
The update, enacted Thursday, demonstrates Azusa Pacific’s commitment to “uniform requirements of behavior for all students, applied equally and in a nondiscriminatory style,” according to university Provost Mark Stanton.
“APU is an open-enrollment institution, which does not need students to be Christian to attend, and the handbook conveys our commitment to treating absolutely everyone with Christ-like care and civility,” Stanton mentioned in a statement. “Our values are unchanged and the APU neighborhood remains unequivocally biblical in our Christian evangelical identity.”
Why is the university claiming that its biblical values haven’t changed even as they announce the removal of the ban on homosexual relationships? This is a tiny bit confusing, but hang with me right here as I attempt to sort out what this transform implies.
Notice how the college is now parsing points up. The school’s requirements of conduct now basically ban “sexual intimacy outdoors the context of marriage,” exactly where marriage is defined as the union of a single man and a single lady (10.1 Inappropriate Sexual Behavior). As lengthy as students prevent “sexual intimacy” outdoors marriage, they are now free of charge to pursue what ever romantic relationships they please—gay, straight, or otherwise. In other words, homosexual romance appears to be permitted so lengthy as no “sexual intimacy” is involved.
Why would the college eliminate (for the second time!) the ban on homosexual relationships? Provost Mark Stanton says that the transform shows that APU is committed to “uniform requirements of behavior for all students, applied equally and in a nondiscriminatory fashion” (emphasis mine). Notice the Provost’s concern about discrimination. APU had been beneath fire from student groups on this extremely point. These groups not only claimed to recognize discriminatory inconsistencies in APU’s student handbook, but they also claimed that these policies place the college out of step with accreditors and licensing agencies.
What was the discriminatory inconsistency? Although the handbook banned “homosexual relationships,” it also banned producing a “hostile environment” for any student on the basis of their “sexual orientation” or “gender identity” (“Harassment“). The activists argued that it was inconsistent for APU to let celibate heterosexual romance even though banning celibate homosexual romance. Such a ban resulted in a “hostile environment” for homosexually oriented students, which is a violation of APU’s personal neighborhood requirements, which make “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” into protected classes.
Final Fall, APU’s student government passed a resolution demanding clarification on this point. Amongst other points, the resolution says:
Students are at present getting held at a double common exactly where romanticized heterosexual relationships are permitted on campus, but a student who is in a romanticized very same-sex connection can be punished and,
To hold students to equal requirements. the Board of Trustees and the administration need to either eliminate the ban on romanticized very same-sex relationships or ban all romanticized relationships at Azusa Pacific University…
As an outsider, I hate to say it, but APU produced a enormous error by creating sexual orientation and gender identity into protected classes on campus. Mainly because they did that, they produced it not possible to ban celibate homosexual relationships even though enabling heterosexual ones.
In spite of the school’s claim otherwise, there are important issues with this policy, and APU may possibly be stuck with these issues as lengthy as their handbook recognizes sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes on campus. To start with, the Lord Jesus himself teaches us that it is not merely immoral sexual behavior that is sinful but also immoral sexual desires:
Matt. five:27-30 27 You have heard that it was mentioned, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that absolutely everyone who appears at a lady with lustful intent has currently committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your proper eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is superior that you shed a single of your members than that your entire physique be thrown into hell. 30 And if your proper hand causes you to sin, reduce it off and throw it away. For it is superior that you shed a single of your members than that your entire physique go into hell.
Jesus says that it is sin to appear at a married lady in order to wish her sexually. There is actually hell to spend if immoral desires are not kept in verify. Sexual holiness, thus, is not merely a matter of deeds committed but of desires felt. But Azusa’s new policy appears to be saying that it is okay for romantic homosexual relationships to come about on campus so lengthy as there is no sex. Do they not see how this contradicts what Jesus teaches us about sexual holiness as a matter of the heart?
The basic dilemma right here is that Azusa’s student handbook fails to make a moral distinction amongst homosexual and heterosexual relationships. Even when abstinent, they are not morally equivalent. A heterosexual connection can and may possibly have the covenant of marriage as its aim and objective. A homosexual connection can under no circumstances have marriage as its aim and objective. That implies that a homosexual connection can under no circumstances be holy or pleasing to God. By definition, it is sinful (Rom. 1:26-27).
A single extra item is problematic. The school’s requirements of conduct prohibit students from cohabitating with the opposite sex (9. Cohabitation). But students of the very same-sex are nevertheless permitted to cohabitate—presumably like these students who are in homosexual romantic relationships. Does Azusa think that it is great for very same-sex attracted students to be cohabitating even though experiencing sexual desires for a single one more?
The LGBTQ+ activists who agitated for this transform are claiming this as a victory:
NEWS ? @AzusaPacific REMOVES ban on LGBTQ+ relationships Once again. Provost confirms, student handbook updated.
Who’s win is this? LGBTQ+ Students. Their Spirit-led organizing drives & inspires us.
— Brave Commons (@BraveCommons) March 16, 2019
They celebrate but not for great purpose. This new policy may possibly place APU at peace with protesters, accreditors, and licensing agencies, but it puts the college at odds with faithful biblical Christianity. And that is the principal dilemma. Probably it is also considerably to hope that APU will recognize their error and right it. I will hope and pray nonetheless that they will.