Wednesday, April 19, 2006

UPDATED -- Wheaton College: The Gays Are Coming! The Gays Are Coming!

From your Chicago Sun-Times:
They are heading to evangelical Christian colleges across the country spreading their own message: God loves everyone, including homosexuals.

And this week the Soulforce Equality Riders, composed of 33 gay activists, will park their bus at Wheaton College where the president is somewhat confounded by their arrival and what appears to be a confrontation on the horizon.

"Sexual intimacy belongs within the confines of marriage. We don't single out homosexuals. But we do stand on historical, biblical Christian beliefs that have remained the same over the centuries, so that we should be on the receiving end of this seems odd," said President Duane Litfin. ***

Organizer Jacob Reitan says a Wheaton College student, who not only was "in the closet" but saw his homosexuality as a sin, inspired the ride.

"I asked him what was it like to be a gay student at Wheaton. He said, 'You know I can't come out, if I did, I might be kicked out,' " Reitan said. "Three years ago, I promised him that God loves him and affirms him."

Reitan hopes that student, now a senior, and others will discuss homosexuality with gay and lesbian students sitting comfortably at the table.
UPDATE: I received a copy of the president's letter from an alum -- "I really wish I didn’t have the school’s name tied to me forever" -- concerned with the college's reaction to the visiting students.
Date: Tue, 18 Apr 2006 16:13:15 -0400 (EDT)
From: "Wheaton College President's Office"
Subject: Request for Prayer

Dear XXX,

I write to ask you for your prayers.

On Thursday and Friday of this week we will be visited by a group of homosexual activists traveling on a bus tour across the United States to various Christian college campuses. Their agenda is to draw negative media attention to institutions who maintain an historic biblical stand on the issue of homosexuality. This, of course, Wheaton does. (See Wheaton's Community Covenant) Hence our place on their list of targeted institutions.

We did not invite these visitors to our campus. But since they are intent on coming anyway, we decided to make a virtue out of a necessity by turning their coming into a teaching opportunity for our students. Given the ongoing changes in our culture, today’s students are potentially facing a lifetime of confrontations over the issue of homosexuality. What should be their Christian response? We have endeavored to prepare our students to respond to these visitors with the biblical balance captured in the injunction to “speak the truth in love.”

Wheaton’s provost, Dr. Stan Jones, a psychologist who has done extensive work in the area of human sexuality, has prepared a biblical rebuttal to the false teaching of this group. (See “CACE Resources on Homosexuality”) These and other written materials, along with various scheduled meetings and chapels, have been devoted to helping our students understand the many issues and shape a balanced Christian response. This process has been highly educational for all involved.

After this event is over, we will let you know how it went. In the meantime, please pray for us, asking that God will be glorified, His truth will be upheld with grace and humility, and our Christian witness to a watching world will be an effective one.

Thank you.

Duane Litfin
Wheaton College
Mr. Litfin's claim that the school is under seige by gay homosexual activists is in stark contrast to this statement on the Soulforce website:
Wheaton administrators have worked closely with Soulforce Equality Ride members to plan two days of several forums and events. The members of the Soulforce Equality Ride look forward to our time at Wheaton and are confident that it will be an excellent learning opportunity for all people involved.
Now this would just be a case of he said/she said, except that the provost of Wheaton College addressed the issue of the Soulforce visit on WGN-AM this morning -- and he said that the school invited the student activists and that they welcomed the opportunity to discuss important issues that will face Wheaton College students when they leave the school.

So it seems that Wheaton College is crying out about an invasion of gay homosexual activists in its communications with its hyper-conservative alumni/donors, but when it talks to the rest of Chicagoland about the visit it puts on a much more moderate face.

If an individual did this, you would not hesitate to say that person is a hypocrite -- or, perhaps, bi-curious.


Anonymous said...

All that can be added to that excellent post to quote the Dixie Chicks: I'm not ready to make nice.

Anonymous said...

would you mind posting this on

there is a lot of discussion about the soul force visit to wheaton happening.....your post would be a nice addition


nw burbs said...

didn't denny hastert or some other gop bigwig currently in power go to wheaton college?

So-Called Austin Mayor said...

The Speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert is a graduate of Wheaton College.

Fun Fact: Although Denny participated in Wheaton College's wrestling program, his shoulder was just too injured for him to participate in Wheaton College's ROTC program or the conflict in Vietnam.

Truth Girl said...

Thanks to whomever referenced I'll add my letter to litfin when I quit ranting and raving enough to form a cogent response.

Diogenes redux said...

Wheaton College did not initially invite SoulForce to visit, any more than any other campus did, but when SoulForce announced their intentions to come to the campus, the College then invited Mr. Reitan and the EqualityRiders to have structured dialog, rather than confrontation and possible arrest for trespassing, as happened at other less sensitive schools. In this manner both Dr. Litfin and Dr. Jones stated the truth.
When one is informed out of the blue by one's neighbors that they intend to enter your house whether you like it or not, is it not wisdom to invite them to come in, sit down, and converse with you rather than attempting to bar the door against them?

Other well-known Wheaton College alums:
--Billy Graham, evangelist
--Todd Beamer, Sept. 11/flight 93 hero
--Wes Craven, movie scriptwriter
--Anne Heche, actress

Liz said...

I can't help but respond to the query "When one is informed out of the blue by one's neighbors that they intend to enter your house whether you like it or not, is it not wisdom to invite them to come in, sit down, and converse with you rather than attempting to bar the door against them?" The way I see it, when one consistently and loudly proclaims that one's neighbors are, in God's eyes, living a life of sin and damnation, and they come to your house to discuss it with you, you can't -- simultaneously -- tell another set of neighbors that you're being unfairly beseiged by the sinners AND tell yet another set of neighbors that it was your idea to have a civilized, Christian-ly discussion all along. Or, I guess you CAN do all those things, but you'd be a) a bigot b) a hypocrite and c) a crappy neighbor.

puzzlemetoo said...

To extend the analogy, in this case Wheaton College's neighbors have chartered a bus to travel around the country informing the media that the College's views are bigoted and threatening. Wheaton College has not done this (although perhaps it is argued that other, reprehensible, "Christian" groups have). It is easy to see why Wheaton College might feel beseiged--they were visited simply for being committed to what they believe is true. In this way they are, and need to be, expressing their view "consistently" by being who they are. It seems like SoulForce feels threatened by the existence of anyone who holds to a longstanding view of scripture in opposition to what SoulForce believes.
Which neighbor is expressing their point of view more "loudly"? In this case, surely those who threaten trespass in order to be heard INSIDE the other's house.

Liz said...

Well, I'm puzzled too -- particularly by the "but the bias I have against other people is based in what I really believe to be true" defense. Yes, I'm sure lots of the Wheaton College faithful really believe being gay or living "the gay lifestyle" (whatever that means) is a sin against God. I'm also sure lots of racists and sexists really believe their stereotypes to be true as well. And, in the case of the Wheaton College leadership, they not only hold these views, but consistently teach them and send their students out in the world to evangelize them as well. Oh, and don't forget that they do so in the name of God. So, when you ask who is expressing their views more "loudly" and stridently, I think I have a very different answer than you do.

puzzlemetoo said...

"They not only hold these views, but consistently teach them and send their students out in the world to evangelize them as well. Oh, and don't forget that they do so in the name of God."

Isn't this exactly what SoulForce is doing too? And both groups are entitled to do so until the First Amendment is overturned.

I would hope, if Wheaton sent a similar bus to SoulForce's headquarters to "have dialog" about the opposing points of view, the Wheaton riders would not send the message ahead of time that "we're going to set foot on your property whether or not you invite us." That is, in fact, what SoulForce did on several occasions at other stops on their ride.


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