Erskine College, a Christian school in South Carolina, has been under fire for announcing that LGBTQ students weren’t welcome on the campus. Now, though, officials at Erskine say this isn’t an accurate representation of their position, and that they welcome all students.
Inquisitr reported yesterday on the controversy, citing a statement from Erskine College that directly condemns extramarital sexual relations, as well as any sexual behaviors that are against Biblical teachings. While not all Christians believe that same-sex relations are in violation of Biblical morality, it is, without doubt, a widely accepted interpretation.
“We believe the Bible teaches that all sexual activity outside the covenant of marriage is sinful and therefore ultimately destructive to the parties involved. As a Christian academic community, and in light of our institutional mission, members of the Erskine community are expected to follow the teachings of scripture concerning matters of human sexuality and institutional decisions will be made in light of this position.”
However, the level of anti-gay sentiment that is socially acceptable is steadily decreasing, and Erskine college may have seen this in the outcry across social media and news outlets. Late Saturday night, the college’s Facebook page bore a statement, reproduced in part below, assuring that its previous statement had been misunderstood, and that students “from a wide variety of backgrounds” are welcome.
“It is the attempt of the board of trustees of Erskine to provide clarity regarding a complex issue within the context of a Christian academic community. Erskine seeks to honor both our theological commitments and our students as we engage in civil, respectful dialogue on this topic.
Erskine does not ban gay students. We don’t discriminate against any group of students. Our campus community is welcoming and supportive to students from a wide variety of backgrounds.”
On Erskine College’s website, further information was offered.
“This statement describes a position. It does not prescribe a policy and does not ‘ban’ any individual or class of individuals from attending Erskine. No students have been asked to leave Erskine based on this statement.
Furthermore, with respect to all applicable anti-discrimination laws and regulations, Erskine does not discriminate against any protected categories of individuals in the administration of its policies, programs, or activities.”
At no time does Erskine College refute that their position is that sexual interactions outside marriage, or same-sex sexual interactions, are sinful and unacceptable. The college merely expresses firmly that it does not actively exclude or expel students based on sexuality or sexual behavior.
Comments on Erskine College’s Facebook page make it clear that not many in the community consider the new statement to be sincere — only a sincere attempt at legal protection. Regardless of the meaning behind Erskine College’s statement, though, the very fact that they felt pressured to clarify and gentle down their original statement shows that public opinion on LGBTQ discrimination is changing rapidly.
[photo credit: Rainbow flag flapping in the wind]