Here’s an interesting new article from Time Magazine by Julie Rodgers:
I had been a gay Christian blogger for several years when Wheaton College reached out to me in June of 2014. A ministry associate in the Chaplain’s office said they hoped to hire someone to support sexual minorities on campus. They wanted to hire someone who was gay, but they needed the kind of gay who could sign Wheaton’s Community Covenant—a code of conduct that says marriage is between a man and a woman and sexual expression is reserved for that relationship alone. All students and staff sign the Covenant annually, and if anyone is caught breaking it then they’re reproached and potentially dismissed. This meant that gay and lesbian students couldn’t date or marry, which a growing number of students vocally opposed, and Wheaton thought maybe I could help.
Ms. Rodgers signed the covenant, but then:
The second week I found myself at lunch with [Wheaton] President Ryken, where he cautioned me about proceeding with any public speaking or writing. If I was faithful in quiet ways, I remember him saying, then God might give me a more public platform down the road.
I exchanged countless emails with President Ryken and Provost Stan Jones during my first semester on the job. Even though they had known I referred to myself as “gay” prior to hiring me, they encouraged me not to refer to myself as gay any longer. They asked me to say I was simply a Christian who experienced same-sex attraction, one who was open to the Lord healing me in ways that could lead to a holy marriage with a man. The problem was that I didn’t think I needed to be healed––I had been clear about that before I was hired.
In December I crafted a personal statement (heavily edited by President Ryken and Provost Jones) to assuage the concerns of anxious critics. I chose not to publish a feature story in Christianity Today because, after a conversation with Wheaton’s Director of Media Relations, LaTonya Taylor, I feared I might lose my job. The article, never published, offered a positive narrative for gay Christians and encouraged the church to celebrate the presence of LGBT people. Wheaton’s administration had always pushed back against my attempt to create a positive narrative around being gay rather than one of “brokenness” and the need for healing. The Covenant doesn’t explicitly talk about the badness of a gay orientation, however, so I felt the article would have been in line with the school’s statement of faith.
As I kept quiet and covered for the college, I began to feel like I was participating in the oppression of the very people I longed to support. My experience with the administration confirmed a quiet concern that had grown for years: that traditional views of marriage were often rooted in something other than sincere Christian convictions. If they couldn’t support someone committed to celibacy—someone who abided by their Community Covenant alongside every straight employee—I could only conclude that their anxiety wasn’t about my sex life. Their anxiety was about my existence.