Eastern’s acceptance of LGBTQA+ community

Dillan Schorfheide, Contributing Reporter

Anti-gay Christians use this verse, Leviticus 20:13, to say homosexuality is a sin. LGBTQA+ allies fire right back with a bible verse of their own, Galatians 3:10.

“If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.”

It says those who rely on observing the law, or “God’s directions,” including Leviticus 20:13, are under a curse and by the Apostle Paul writing this, allies say people are no longer under the law. This idea is a reference from Galatians 3:10.

These verses help show the struggle the LGBTQA+ community has gone through to obtain equal rights.

June 28, 1969 marked the start of the gay civil-rights movement, when the Stonewall Riots occurred outside a popular unlicensed gay bar in New York City’s Greenwich Village.

The riots were prompted after police raided the bar the Stonewall Inn. Multiple media reports stated the riots took place because of police brutality toward LGBTQA+ people.

Since the Stonewall Riots, the LGBTQA+ community has become more widely accepted and welcomed in society.

The decision widely covered concerning LGBTQA+ rights was in June of 2015, when the Supreme Court ruled it legal in all 50 states for same-sex marriage.

According to a report by Gary J. Gates and Taylor N.T. Brown, published on the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law website, in 2013 there were 230,000 same-sex couples married, 21 percent of all same sex couples. This number grew to 486,000, or 45 percent of all same-sex couples in October of 2015.

Aside from the right to marry, the LGBTQA+ community has received anti-discrimination rights.

According to the American Civil Liberties Union website, 10 states, the District of Columbia, many municipalities and hundreds of businesses and universities now ban employment discrimination.

The website also says sodomy laws, which were typically used to justify discrimination against gay people, are now on the books in 18 states and Puerto Rico; they used to exist nationwide. LGBTQA+ people are now allowed to be ordained ministers in some sects and are more accepted in the military.

The “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy, implemented by President Bill Clinton in 1993, was supposed to end the ban on homosexuals serving in the military. While it allowed homosexuals to serve in the military, it made them keep their sexual orientation secret. This policy was repealed in 2010 by President Obama, and it officially ended Sept. 20, 2011.

As the LGBTQA+ community has become more accepted in today’s society, Christians have reacted differently.

Pastor Charles Worley in North Carolina told his congregation on Mother’s Day that the way to get rid of lesbians and gays is to put them all behind an electric fence and wait for them to die out. Another pastor in Kansas, Curtis Knapp, preached the government should kill all homosexuals. Christians also held up signs with derogatory terms at LGBTQA+ events.

Though there are cases of these things happening, they do not portray how all Christians feel about the LGBTQA+ community. Many Christians are more accepting of and support LGBTQA+ people.

Kharis Christi S. Campanano, president of the Wesley Foundation, says she believes homosexuality is not a sin, and acceptance of LGBTQA+ people should have happened a long time ago.

“People who are homosexual are still people, they are still God’s children and every part of me believes that members of the LGBTQA+ community were made in God’s image,” Campanano said. “I have been at the Wesley Foundation my whole undergrad career, and we love all people.”

Tania Ward, president of the ACTS Campus Ministry, says ACTS welcomes everyone, no matter who they are or how they identify themselves. She said ACTS’ goal is to help everyone find a genuine relationship with Jesus Christ.

President of EIU Pride, Jo Stauder, affirmed what Campanano and Ward said.

“EIU Pride has a history of working with the Wesley Foundation, and they’ve always been really cool to us, really accepting of all the different people within the community. So that’s good,” Stauder said. “We haven’t had much interaction with other [faith] groups per say, not because of anything bad just because we haven’t. But we’ve definitely had more support, even when Brother Jedd is on campus, then the campus groups will usually come out and support us and make sure that we know that that’s not how all Christians feel about our community”

Stauder said EIU Pride takes an education-based approach when trying to educate others on the LGBTQA+ community because they believe hate comes from ignorance of their community.

Pride has held LGBT Bible study groups and classroom panels for the general EIU population. Stauder believes these help, more than anything, with acceptance of the LGBTQA+ community.

Dillan Schorfheide can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].