Southwestern Christian University, in Oklahoma, makes its students sign a “lifestyle covenant” upon acceptance. It’s one of those lists that says you can’t smoke or drink or be in the dorm of the opposite sex after hours. And don’t you dare have sex. It’s part and parcel of going to a school like that.
Christian Minard signed that covenant a few years ago when she came to the school on a basketball scholarship. Despite leaving the team to avoid injuries and giving up her scholarship, she remained at the school and would have started her senior year this fall.
Now, she’s been expelled. The reason? She got married last spring to her longtime girlfriend Kadyn Park:
The two were married in Albuquerque, N.M., on March 17. On Wednesday (July 9), a letter addressed to Minard from Brad Davis, the school’s vice president of student life, arrived at her parents’ home, telling her she was being expelled.
“I was informed that you recently married someone of the same sex and saw a few pictures from Facebook,” Davis wrote. “Of course, this is opposing to our view as an International Pentecostal Holiness denominational university as well as the Lifestyle Covenant that all students must agree and sign.”
Minard claims that kicking her out for her same-sex marriage is selective enforcement of the school’s expulsion policies and that administrators are leaving her in the dust given her unique major that isn’t offered at other nearby schools:
“There isn’t a similar program at an area university, so I’d have to change my program of study,” Minard said. “And, being one semester from graduation means I have taken all my electives. I’ll lose all those credits if I transfer.”
“Students violate parts of that covenant all the time, but they don’t get expelled,” she said. “I didn’t even get a hearing, just a letter to my parents.”
I have a really hard time sympathizing with her.
Minard, a God-believing Lutheran, knew exactly what she signed up for when she came to the school (which is affiliated with the “International Pentecostal Holiness” denomination). Complaining about her expulsion is like getting mad at a cop for giving you a speeding ticket even though others on the road are going almost as fast. You still broke the law.
Should we be mad at the school for punishing a student for being a married lesbian? Morally, sure, they’re repugnant. But it’s a private school and bigotry is enshrined in their rules. They have the right to enforce that policy. It’s that simple. If Minard wanted to go to a school that respected her same-sex relationship and treated her with decency and kindness, she shouldn’t have attended a Christian college.
I hope Minard can find a way to finish her degree elsewhere or get a job without one, but she brought this upon herself. I don’t understand why she couldn’t have waited to get married until after graduation just to avoid this very situation. You can argue she shouldn’t have to postpone her wedding just because some Christians are assholes, but then you can’t argue the administrators were in the wrong to punish her as they saw fit.
Honestly, I don’t know what she hoped to gain by shining a media spotlight on this story. Did she really think the social pressure would cause the university to change its policy and reinstate her as a student? If that’s the case, she’s incredibly naïve.
I wish her happiness in her marriage. It’s just too bad she had to learn the hard way that her school doesn’t feel the same.
I reached out to her last night to ask her about some of these criticisms, but I haven’t heard back yet.