In a vain attempt to be “progressive,” Azusa Pacific University, a Christian school in California, has amended its student conduct policy to allow same-sex relationships… assuming the two people never get intimate or married.
The old policy said “Heterosexuality is God’s design for sexually intimate relationships,” marriage could only be between men and women, demanded celibacy outside of marriage, and included “homosexual acts” in a list of forbidden behaviors along with “incest” and “unnatural” intercourse. A disclaimer afterwards also said “Any deviation from a biblical standard of sexual behavior is sin.”
The new version is down to six “Biblical Foundations” (from eight). The forbidden behaviors bit is gone altogether. Other lines are merged or reworded. And that disclaimer line no longer includes the word “sin,” which means they’re not completely condemning same-sex relationships… even if they continue calling them “an opportunity for repentance, grace, and redemption.”
Azusa Pacific University (APU) has dropped a policy preventing students from engaging in “romanticized” same-sex relationships.
“A change in policy does not change practice,” the university said in a written statement, which also says the new sexuality statement “strengthened” its definition of marriage. “We assessed our student code of conduct and made adjustments, much like other Christian schools have. In doing so, this enables us to care for all students and apply the same accountability across all populations.”
“Queer students are just as able to have romanticized relationships that abide by APU’s rules,” [Erin Green, a recent APU alumnus] told ZU Media, APU’s campus media outlet. “The code used falsely assumed that same-sex romances always involved sexual behavior.”
It’s also important to note what they don’t say. Same-sex relationships are okay, but same-sex marriage is forbidden. Same-sex sex is also banned. But how far is “too far” before anyone breaks the student code of conduct? Can gay couples make out? What about cuddling?
The school affirms its anti-gay stance (because that’s still what it is) by claiming that Jesus never endorsed same-sex relationships and, therefore, neither should they. But the Jesus-didn’t-say-it-so-it’s-wrong argument is easy to dismiss. Jesus didn’t say much about a lot of issues affect modern life, but conservative Christians are always quick to tell us exactly what’s right and wrong according to the Bible.
The school doesn’t deserve credit for anything here. If anything, they’ve made the situation even more confusing by forcing everyone to read between the lines.
No matter how you parse the argument, the school hasn’t actually changed anything. Students are fooling themselves if they think the administration won’t suspect that sex is in the mix if a gay couple holds hands on campus or displays any other signs of being in a romantic relationship.
There’s a reason the school appears on a list of “The Absolute Worst Campuses for LGBTQ Youth.” Their mild changes to the student policy won’t change that.
(Screenshot via YouTube)