Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
Dear Swarthmore Campus Community,
We are a group of Christian Swatties who are concerned about the lack of public Christian affirmation of queer identities on Swarthmore’s campus. While some of us are leaders in Christian organizations on campus, we are speaking as individuals, and not as representatives of those groups.
We would like to make it known that there are Christian students on campus, ourselves included, who support and affirm queer identities in all of their beauty. We believe that God created human identity to be diverse, and that this diversity includes gender and sexual orientation. In our views, diversity is a reflection of God’s complex nature and should be celebrated.
We believe that God works through queer identity and that when we invalidate queer identity we miss the ways God works through people. The Christian community is valuable because it brings together people who are different and allows us to learn from our differences. When the Christian community devalues God-given identities, it neglects one of its primary purposes: to support people living out God’s calling for their lives.
Moreover, we affirm the beauty that is present in queer relationships. We believe that the Bible teaches that relationships are important: people are not meant to be alone. While we do not believe that romantic relationships are the only way that a person’s need for community can be fulfilled, we do believe that such relationships, built on the love between two people, are a way of seeing God’s complete love in the world. We cannot, as a community, love those with queer identities without also recognizing and affirming the goodness of their relationships.
We want to apologize for the ways in which we have failed to affirm people with queer identities. We acknowledge that by not actively speaking out in support of queer identities, we have contributed, especially within the Christian community, to a pervasive attitude of marginalization and oppression. By remaining passive and not pro-actively starting dialogue around this issue, we have reinforced the silence present in the Christian community at Swarthmore.
We want this letter to be the first step in our commitment to end this silence.
With Love and Humility,
Carolyn Anderson ‘14
Dylan Hillerbrand ‘14
Christina Keller ‘14
Brent Stanfield ‘14