I’d like to thank MLive’s Brian McVicar for a very good article that was published today.
I’m also pleased by Shirley Hoogstra’s comments in McVicar’s article where she is quoted as saying, “I think the petition is very worthy and gives us a lot to focus on and it’s a great gut check.” It’s definitely an improvement over comments that were made back when the annual list was announced back in September.
The only thing I find disheartening : a couple of comments on the news story – but even that wasn’t as harrowing as I expected.
In response to the question Why would LGBT students even want to go there? one reader suggested that the petition is “just to promote an agenda”.
First of all, I would like to thank Mr. McVicar for doing a great job moderating the comments. I really appreciate that. Second of all, I would simply like to add that this is exactly the thinking that we’re trying to combat. This reader couldn’t be bothered to read the petition to see what we’re about; she/he simply reacted with a set of assumptions. The Christian/gay question isn’t an either/or proposition.
As for the rest of the comment, I’m only dignifying it with a response because I saw this same line of thinking before while I was working at Calvin Chimes from some of our readers.
“I’ve always been perplexed when people don’t like an organization (religious or otherwise), but insist on joining it and later gripe about it and look for things to change within it. ”
There is no perfect organization. Just as an example: I go to a state school now where I have support and protection if anyone were to discriminate against me for being gay – and I love it. I get to spend more time doing my job as a TA/grad student, I no longer feel defined by my sexual orientation or reduced to a label; I am no longer asked to represent the LGBT community or educate others.
On the other hand, there are a lot of people who don’t understand why I identify as a religious person. (Which brings us back to the initial comment.) Is it perfect? No. Like I said, no organization is. We have three choices: A) Remain silent, B) Complain or C) Try to do something about it.
I choose C.
Our society’s common wisdom remains stuck in this dichotomous thinking: Gay or Christian. This is exactly what we’re trying to change and we think that Calvin College has a great potential to be the start of something remarkable.