At evangelical colleges, a shifting attitude toward gay students
A group of Wheaton College alumni formed OneWheaton to offer an alternative view on sexuality from the evangelical school.
March 30th, 2013
04:01 PM ET

At evangelical colleges, a shifting attitude toward gay students

By Sarah Pulliam Bailey, Special to CNN

Wheaton, Illinois (CNN)– Combing through prayer requests in a Wheaton College chapel in 2010, then-junior Benjamin Matthews decided to do something “absurdly unsafe.”

He posted a letter on a public forum bulletin board near students' post office boxes. In the letter, he came out as gay and encouraged fellow gay Christian students – some of whom had anonymously expressed suicidal plans in a pile of the prayer requests – to contact him if they needed help.

In a student body of 2,400 undergraduates in the suburbs of Chicago, at what is sometimes called the Harvard of evangelical schools, Matthews said that 15 male students came out to him. Other students seemed somewhat ambivalent about his coming out, he said.

No one told him he was wrong or needed to change, Matthews said some students were obviously uncomfortable with someone who would come out as gay and remain a Christian.

“I don’t think most Wheaton students knew what to do because they've been given ‘love the sinner, hate the sin’ rhetoric, but they don't know how that plays out in real life,” said Matthews, who graduated in 2011. “They would mostly just listen, nod and say, ‘Yeah man, that’s hard.’”

Read the full post on CNN's Belief blog

soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. Chuck

    Many people say that others are born gay and sometimes can't handle the impressions to act that way, but what they say is not true. Everyone has agency and accountability to make their own decisions in life.

    April 4, 2013 at 1:39 pm |
    • Esperando

      You're right, Chuck. Everyone has agency and accountability to make their own decisions in life. For example, you can choose to live a life completely devoid of love and intimacy, never have a family, and die alone. If that is what you would callously condemn gay people to because they are different than you, then you probably should. It's pretty clear that you can't love anyone besides yourself.

      April 10, 2013 at 9:45 am |