A Response to Intervarsity

ConsiderThis

Last week, my friend Veronica approached me about writing a piece on the Intervarsity “theological purge” controversy.  Veronica, as you will learn below, was deeply involved with Intervarsity for several years and is a great advocate for her LGBT+ friends.  With feet in both worlds, the news has affected her personally, and because I found her response to be helpful and insightful, I’d like to share it with you today.  As part of our Consider This Perspective series, Veronica’s views shared here are her own, and we are glad to share them with you.

By: VERONICA TIMBERS
Editor: HEIDI WEAVER-SMITH
Recently, Intervarsity Christian Fellowship USA, an organization that works in campus ministry, missions, and publishing, announced a policy that would result in hundreds of individuals losing their jobs for having a theology that affirms same sex marriage.

The news appeared in Time, where journalist Elizabeth Dias reported that Intervarsity employees who support gay marriage or disagree with the organization’s new theological position on sexuality would be fired starting in November. Employees are expected to out themselves on the topic, initiating a two-week termination process. Dias calls the situation a “theological purge.”

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Monday News: Uganda’s New Anti-Homosexuality Bill

Today (Feburary 24, 2014), Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni signed a controversial anti-gay bill into law, despite international outcry. The bill, called the ‘Jail the Gays Bill,’  originally called for the death penalty for homosexual acts when it was first proposed in 2009.  Although the death penalty was removed from the final draft, prison sentences of 7 years, 14 years, and life are the new penalties for violating this law. 

 Under this law, LGBT people face life imprisonment if:

  • someone engages in a sexual act with a person of the same gender
  • someone marries a person of the same gender
  • someone touches another person of the same gender with ‘intent’ to engage in a sexual act

Also, prison sentences for anyone(including a straight person) who tries to support LGBT people:

  • 7 years in jail for officiating a marriage between people of the same sex
  • 7 years in jail for trying to aid or counsel LGBT people
  • 5-7 years in jail for offering premises or supplies to LGBT related activities
  • 5-7 years in jail for directors of any business or non-governmental organization (NGO) who supports LGBT people
  • Similarly, any national or international company or human rights organization in Uganda, which supports lesbian, gay, bi or trans people (including their own employees), could face 7 years jail and de-registration of the company (Montreal Gazette). 

Human rights groups like Amnesty International have expressed concern that this law could essentially outlaw much of their work in Uganda, making it extremely difficult to legally advocate for increased gay rights, or even offer adequate health services to LGBT Ugandans.

Navi Pillay, the UN high commissioner for human rights warned the law was “formulated so broadly that it may lead to abuse of power and accusations against anyone”.

 According to President Museveni:

“Homosexuals are actually mercenaries. They are heterosexual people but because of money they say they are homosexuals. These are prostitutes because of money,” Musaveni said.

He added “there is something really wrong with you” if you were gay, adding that he didn’t understand how a man could “fail to be attracted to all these beautiful women and be attracted to a man”.

The LGBT community in Uganda face frequent harassment and threats of violence, and rights activists have reported cases of lesbians being subjected to “corrective” rapes.

In 2011, Ugandan gay rights campaigner David Kato was bludgeoned to death at his home after a newspaper splashed photos, names and addresses of gays in Uganda on its front page along with a yellow banner reading “Hang Them”.

Currently, there is a petition from All Out that is calling on Ugandan leaders, global governments, corporations and religious institutions to take forceful action to denounce the law. To sign this petition, go to http://www.allout.org/kill-the-bill.

Amnesty International Statement

 

 

At LOVEboldly we embrace controversy, dissenting opinions and even a good debate now and then. However, we also value civility, kindness, and respect. Therefore, please feel free to share your opinion, but keep it constructive, considerate, and civilized. If you choose to be rude we will delete your comment. Do so consistently and we will ban you. And yes, we do get to define the terms.

Monday News: Anti-LGBTQ Violence in Nigeria

Right now, there are laws being passed in other countries that make it illegal to be LGBTQ or even be associated with supporting this community’s rights. Prison sentences, torture, and the death penalty are possible punishments for violating these laws. Although there are numerous laws being passed or already passed criminalizing homosexuality, we want to bring attention to what’s happening in Nigeria.

On January 7, 2014, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan signed into law the Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act, which criminalizes same-sex marriage and relationships. With this law, gay and lesbian Nigerians engaging in same-sex “amorous relationships” face up to 14 years in prison. Persons involved in same-sex ceremonies, including guests whether straight or LGBTQ, could face 10 years in prison. Additionally, any person who directly or indirectly supports, operates or participates in gay clubs, societies and organizations can be sentenced to a term of 10 years imprisonment. Penalties will also be handed out for those who try to assist gay men and women avoid detection or even those who offer them sexual health services.

Since this bill was signed into law, more than 30 arrests have been made in the West African country. Additionally, numerous reports of escalating violence against the LGBTQ community have been reported. According to TIME World,

In Bauchi State, in northern Nigeria, police have reportedly arrested dozens of gay men in the past few weeks. The AP reports that police targeted gay men, tortured them into naming others, and are hunting more gay men down. Chairman Mustapha Baba Ilela  told the AP that 11 men had been arrested and denies that torture was involved. Ilela said that members of the community helped “fish out” suspected gay men and the roundups will continue. “We are on the hunt for others,” he said.

The criminalization of same-sex relationships and increasing homophobia in many African countries has created an environment of fear among Africa’s LGBTQ community and allies.

(For more information: Huffpost, ABC NewsCBS News, CNNCNN VideoFox NewsAl JazeeraTimeNew York Times)

 

 

LOVEboldly condemns these and any acts of violence against the LGBTQ community. 
Be sure to watch for a future blog post where we provide practical ways you can help the LGBTQ community in Nigeria as well as other places where this violence is occurring. 

 

Even the Christian who cannot feel comfortable supporting or protecting LGBTQ relationships should be appalled by the brutality to the community (and for that matter – brutality to any person as we are all made in the image of God.

 

At LOVEboldly we embrace controversy, dissenting opinions and even a good debate now and then. However, we also value civility, kindness, and respect. Therefore, please feel free to share your opinion, but keep it constructive, considerate, and civilized. If you choose to be rude we will delete your comment. Do so consistently and we will ban you. And yes, we do get to define the terms.