Recently, I was expelled from Southwestern Christian University for marrying my wife, who happens to be of the same sex. When I began my student career at SCU, I signed what Southwestern calls their “Lifestyle Covenant.” In it, “homosexual behavior” is prohibited. Yet because I have a strong love for God and basketball, with an added desire to have my school paid for, I signed the covenant.
I attended this university for two and a half years with no issues whatsoever.
During that time, I made both the dean’s list and president’s honor roll. I achieved success in the classroom, without my sexual orientation being a factor. It wasn’t until the university saw a picture of my wedding on Facebook that I received a letter in the mail informing me to not come back to campus. All because I violated SCU’s “Lifestyle Covenant.”
Yet when I walked the campus every day, I saw others breaking this “Lifestyle Covenant.” I saw and knew of drinking, smoking, drug use, pre-marital sex, students watching R-rated movies, lying, cheating, and much more that goes against this covenant—all of which were not done in secrecy. These acts were posted on Facebook and other social media sites for members of the SCU community and abroad to consume.
I harbor no ill-feelings towards any of my former classmates who may have committed such acts. I share what I know because I believe I was treated very differently than other students because of the part of the covenant I broke. Other students have been allowed an appeals process, or at least have been told to their faces what the university’s decision was, unlike me who got a letter in the mail prior to the final semester of college.
I feel I was discriminated against for being gay by a religious university.
I am not upset with SCU for expelling me. I am upset with the fact that they did not treat me with the same decency they have given other students. I am upset with the fact that I was viewed as nothing more than a homosexual in their eyes. I was not acknowledged as an honor roll student or an upstanding person. To them, what I did was compared with law breaking, drug and alcohol use, lying, and cheating.
Marrying the person I fell in love with was not viewed as an act of love to the university, but an act that instantly labeled me a bad person. I am upset with the fact that I was made an example of, yet other individuals have broken the covenant and have been allowed to stay in school, or not even receive punishment. I am upset that I was not given a fair chance, and that the university was allowed to discriminate against me the way they did.
It is 2014, and discrimination is still very much alive in our society. I do not feel these religious institutions should be allowed to discriminate against LGBT people. I understand they may not agree, however, it is not right to treat any human being unfairly just because one does not agree with the way a person lives his/her life. SCU lists homosexual behavior as a choice, but being homosexual is not a choice.
People should not be punished for whom they love.
It is not fair to exclude upstanding students from participating in the university of their choice, due to their sexual orientation. There are many homosexual and other LGBT students who believe in God, and want to be a part of religious institutions—just because a student is attracted to the same sex does not mean he/she does not believe in God. If institutions like SCU want to live by their own codes, do so as long as they are not discriminating against individuals of our American society.
I am very thankful SCU expelled me. I now have the opportunity to attend a university that will accept me for who I am. I will be allowed to love my wife, and be very open about it. I also have never felt more comfortable in my relationship with God. I have been allowed to form my own beliefs, and have been allowed to share those beliefs with others.
I have also had the opportunity to strengthen my relationship with my family. I come from a very conservative family who has not always understood my life or my relationship. This experience has led them to now have a strong understanding on where I am coming from, and how difficult it is for me to not be accepted by others. I have been allowed to voice my opinion and to let the world understand the consequences of discrimination.
I am nothing but grateful for the new opportunities God has placed in my life.
I plan to continue sharing my story with others across the world. I want everyone to understand the effects of discrimination. I also want people to understand this is happening to LGBT people in religious institutions throughout the nation.
It is very possible to be homosexual and still maintain a strong faith in God. Instead of being discriminated against, we should be allowed to participate in church, Christian universities, and other religiously affiliated events without the fear of persecution.
Denying a person the right to worship God is not right.
The world needs to stop putting a wall between Christianity and sexual orientation. It is time to come together and reach a sense of unity among all individuals regardless of sexual orientation.
Now is the time for us, as God’s children, to come together and be the change for equality.
Photo via flickr user Craig Moe