In case you missed it, an organization called Campus Pride recently published a “shame list” of Christian colleges and universities that hold beliefs on homosexuality and gay marriage that don’t fit in with modern values. My own college, Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas, made the short-list of schools that apparently should be put to shame.
I just began my junior year at Harding, so I’ve become quite familiar with the administration, faculty, and students who make up an amazingly diverse campus. I have made friends from all parts of the world, and these friends hold a wide variety of different political and social views. No one gets shouted down for speaking their minds, and open discussions on a wide range of topics are regularly welcomed. Respect for our fellow Americans is a defining characteristic of Harding students.
Like the other schools on the “shame list,” Harding University is a Christian institution above all else. That should come as a surprise to no one. Prospective students know what Harding stands for from day one. They know Harding requires daily chapel attendance. They know Harding forbids wearing shorts to class. They know we have a nightly curfew. And they know Harding adheres to a strict code of ethics based upon Christian teaching – yes, that includes a firm stance against homosexual practices. Harding does not try to keep those things a secret.
Now, does Harding hate gay students? No. Are LGBT students systematically mistreated? No. Harding University is full of the most loving and caring people I’ve ever come across. They seek to cheer up the sad, help out the poor, build up the weak, and give back to the Searcy community. I can’t speak for the other colleges on the “shame list,” but to actively seek to disparage the reputations of good-natured, God-fearing institutions is in itself shameful. And isn’t it odd that an organization dedicated to “pride” has the audacity to put to shame those who disagree with them?
Christian institutions (churches, charities, universities, etc.) have steadfastly stood for their beliefs in the face of ever-changing societal norms. This unwavering faith to Biblical principles has been one of the only, if not the only, harbingers of stability and consistency throughout American history. Christianity (as a whole) has stayed true to Christ; it’s the rest of the world that’s changing, as it always has been. The only difference now is that Christian institutions in America are coming under direct attack.
Harding does not claim to be a perfect place, and it can’t claim to be perfect, because it is made up of imperfect people. We know the dangers of casting judgment upon any child of God, but we also know the dangers of giving into every meretricious temptation. Adhering to Christianity may soon become toxic in some parts of the nation. However, we will continue to stand firmly in the name of Christ. We are not ashamed, and we will not be bullied into submission, because we take the words of Paul in Romans 1:16 as our own: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes…”