Harvard Punishes Christian Student Group for Believing in Christianity

Harvard is disciplining a Christian student group for following basic Christian ethical teaching on sexuality.

The club’s transgression? The Crimson reports that the school’s Office of Student Life placed the group Harvard College Faith and Action on “administrative probation” because the group “pressured a female member . . . to resign in September following her decision to date a woman.”

To be clear: Harvard is disciplining a Christian student group for the group’s expectation that its student leadership follow basic Christian ethical teaching on sexuality in accordance with Christianity’s 2,000-year-old doctrine on such matters. This should not be controversial, at all. Christians believe and do as Christians believe and do. Jews believe and do as Jews believe and do. And so on and so forth. Anyone with even a passing familiarity with Christianity should not be shocked by this.

So Harvard has now taken to disciplining a Christian student group—and not some radical fringe group, but the largest Christian group on campus—for the group’s expectation that its student leadership follow Christian ethical teachings on sexuality. So much for diversity.

In Christian theology, homosexual conduct—note “conduct,” not “people”—is considered sinful. (Roman Catholicism refers to homosexual acts as “intrinsically disordered.”) The Bible has taught this, clearly and consistently, for 2,000 years.

In fact, the most striking thing about this teaching is that in all the debates over Christian doctrine that have raged for two millennia—predestination, revelation, the virginity of Mary, the eucharist, the priest as in persona Christi—this has been one of the most consistent parts of doctrine. Not because Christians have animus toward homosexuals, but because Christianity has a fairly rigorous view of the person and human sexuality in which male and female complementarity isn’t just for fun. It means something. And homosexual acts violate these Scriptural norms—as do all sex acts outside of marriage.

Which is why Christian leaders at Harvard are right to point out that they are not seeking to discriminate against LGBT individuals. Harvard College Faith and Action holds everyone to the same expectation: celibacy outside the bounds of marriage. As the Crimson reports:

“We reject any notion that we discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation in our fellowship,” the co-presidents wrote in an email Wednesday. “Broadly speaking, the student in this case was removed because of an irreconcilable theological disagreement pertaining to our character standards.”

As one of the students admits: “Our theological view is that—for professing Christians who are in leadership—celibacy is the only option outside the bounds of marriage.”

Now in fairness, to Harvard, the logistics of this standard aren’t entirely clear. (Is kissing okay insofar as it does not lead to intercourse? Where does the line on what counts as sex get drawn?) And this ambiguity on the part of the HCFA is a genuine problem since debates on religious liberty require a consistent application and clearly communicated standards. (When asked if they held all members to the same standard, the HCFA said that they did, but declined to explain how that standard worked.) And HCFA would do itself a favor if it communicated exactly what it considers sexual transgressions, so that it does not appear to single out gay students.

But none of that diminishes the larger underlying problem of Harvard’s administration punishing a group for expecting its leaders to follow the group’s guidelines—a decision so out of the mainstream that it wouldn’t pass musteranywhere else in public life.

What to make of this? Well, a lot.

Gone ought to be any pretense that universities such as Harvard are in any sense interested in diversity or tolerance. Secular campuses that traffic in diversity, and who worship at the altar of Intersectionality, while singling out Christians for holding to Christian doctrine and then penalizing them for it, is simple hypocrisy. And in this case, hypocrisy is the tribute that liberalism pays to vice.

But even on the relative scale of liberal hypocrisy, Harvard is a special case: The school was founded explicitly on Protestant, even Puritan, faith and is now penalizing a group for holding to religious convictions that would have been identical to its founders’ views. All in the name of enforcing doctrinaire liberal politics. The shift is so radical that while just a few decades ago it took some courage to be openly gay at Harvard, these days it takes a great deal of courage to be openly Christian.

Sadly, the spectacle at Harvard is hardly unique. Previous episodes have occurred at VanderbiltBowdoin, and the California State University system where collisions between Christianity and campus diversity policies see Christian groups brought to heel under the guise of “non-discrimination.”

Because anti-Christian discrimination is now the only form of bigotry acceptable at the modern university.

Source: The Weekly Standard


 

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