Meantime, the letters keep coming:
Dear Dean Jordan,
I am the parent of an SPU student. I am also transgendered. It's hard for a kid to have a transgendered parent, and I have tried my damnedest to ensure that my sons have had the best possible support so that they can deal not only with me but with others in this society. One of the biggest things that can help kids with a trans or gay parent is for other adults to show them that their parent is ok, that they are not shunned, that they are accepted. When others show support, the child can much more easily handle the parent's changes.
Your action in rejecting Haven is directly opposite of what children of gay and trans parents need for their own support and well-being. Your action, whether you intend it or not, damages my son and my relationship with him. It damages other kids who have gay parents. I need not tell you what it does to kids who are gay or trans themselves. And yes, you surely have some in your institution.
I was an attorney for the UW for nine years. I know how universities work. SPU can do better than this. I ask you to recognize Haven, for the benefit of your students and their families.
More letters in the jump.
Dear Dean Jordan,
There is no reason Haven shouldn't be recognized as a student group at SPU campus, and every reason why it should be. Excluding them is against Christ's principles and your school motto as well. Please reconsider your decision.
Dear Dean Jordan,
My name is Paige Morgan. I graduated from SPU in 2000. When I came to the school, from foster care, and a challenging family situation, I would not have considered myself a Christian. I do today, and the fact that I do is something that can be largely credited to my experiences at SPU with other students, and with faculty and staff. I saw many different types of Christianity, and to this day, I think that what makes SPU a valuable community, a spiritual resource, is that it makes room for many different Christian voices. It's because of those many voices that I am a Christian today. That's the gift that SPU gave me, along with the academic training that's made it possible for me to pursue further studies. Now I teach at the University of Washington, where I'm finishing a Ph.D. in the English Department. I remember my experiences and discussions from SPU, especially when I teach literature dealing with God, with Christ, and with Christianity.
I'm writing because I learned, with great sorrow, about your decision to end all discussion of giving the Haven club for LGBTQ students official status as a campus club, and to forbid them from having the ability to reserve space to meet on the SPU campus. I'm asking you to reconsider your decision, and to further SPU's development by helping the university be a safe space for all Christians.
Faith isn't easy. I can remember times when I've had to make difficult decisions, when I've been uncertain about what the right action is. I was raised in a family where my brothers and I were taught that homosexuality is a sin, and shown the Bible verses given as evidence. But I also learned the stories about Christ embracing those who Old Testament law would deem sinful, and rejecting those whose Christianity was guided by the need to punish wrongdoing.
Let me be absolutely clear about my own faith: I believe that God created us male and female, heterosexual and homosexual, queer and transgendered, and gave all of us the capacity and the command to love others with our whole hearts.
But even if I'm wrong about that, and the Bible verses condemning homosexuality as a sin are correct, then it really comes down to a choice. I can commit the sin of loving as openly as Christ loved, or I can commit the sin of persecuting and harming others because of their sexuality.
When I think about it in those terms, the choice is easy to make. I know which course of action I'm called to, as a Christian. It's even more clear when I think about the consequences of excluding people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, or queer. If I stand by silently, then I am a participant in each and every act of violence against them: each instance of bullying, each assault, each murder, each instance where harassment leads to suicide. If I say that people can be deprived of any rights because of their sexuality, then I am making it easier for others to harm them. If I fail to stand up for their rights, then I am not building the kingdom of heaven — I'm destroying it.
This is the Christianity that I found at SPU, that sustained me through difficult times during school, and after it. It's on these terms that I'm asking you to rethink your decision about Haven. To support the club would be the opportunity for SPU to show Christ's love in a community where it is always needed; and to show God's love for his entire creation.
Dear Dean Jordan,
I have lived in Seattle my entire life and attended a feeder high school for SPU. Kings, ever heard of it? I'm sure you have since about 40-50% of graduates attend SPU. I left Kings my junior year of high school because I felt the environment was oppressive and hypocritical. Unfortunately, the more I see and hear about SPU from my friends who attend the school and news reports of your refusal to engage and respect all students makes me think the values of SPU are more oppressive and hypocritical then Christian and loving.
I am Christian and also gay—these two things are not mutually exclusive. You have students who are gay and Christian. Rather than disrespecting these students and stifling their voices why don't you embrace all of your students with the Christian values of love and acceptance? By your refusal to recognize all students and opinions you send a message that it's okay to discriminate to your student body. I hope you realize this message is destructive and undermines your claim of running an institution based on Christan values.
Frankly, I'm embarrassed by the SPU stance on denying Haven a club status at the university. I hope and pray that you will eventually take a hint from your leader, Christ, and value all people equally.