Sexuality, Christianity lecture creates dialogue, protest
Published: Tuesday, October 8, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, October 8, 2013 02:10
“We’re all single in heaven anyway,” she said. “Temptation is not a sin, but what you do is different.”
Luke Blankenship, president of P.R.I.D.E. Alliance, one of several campus organizations including College Democrats, Young Americans for Liberty, Spiritual Youth for Reproductive Freedom and Students for a Democratic Society that rallied outside the event afterward with signs saying “LOVE” and “Respect for all people,” asked Butterfield during a Q-and-A session after the lecture how she felt considering the fact that several medical and psychological associations consider suppressing one’s sexual identity harmful to one’s health.
“God made you and God takes care of you,” she answered. “I’m appealing to a higher authority.”
Others asked how it could be possible to follow the rules of a text that has also been interpreted to justify slavery.
Butterfield said the Old Testament, which she said provided examples of chattel slavery, was no longer relevant due to ceremonial law — she also pointed out she was wearing cotton/wool blended yoga pants, which was also against Leviticus — but that slavery in the New Testament, which she said should be accepted in entirety, was more comparable to graduate school than typical views of slavery.
Others asked about her views on whether political and economic rights should be extended to members of the LGBT community to prevent homophobia, and Butterfield said it was an issue of conscience.
“To be a good neighbor could mean providing civil rights protections to all your neighbors or it could mean voting to not allow them to be separate or different (in the eyes of God),” she said.
But when an ordained minister of another church asked her to join her in telling LGBT members in the audience that they were welcomed as they were, Butterfield said she could not as she did not believe “it’s kindness to discourage people from full repentance.”
Brett Harrison, a junior majoring in psychology, used his question to make a statement.
“To any LGBT person struggling with sexuality or gender identity, you are beautiful and perfect as you are and I love you,” he said.
Harrison said he found the lecture “unfortunate.”
“It’s unfortunate society has made her feel not enough and prohibits her from loving herself,” he said. “The lecture could have made people feel terrible about themselves.”
Lucas Wehle, a junior majoring in psychology, who said he identifies as transgender and a Christian, was kicked out of his church.
Wehle said he left the speech early because he couldn’t bear listening to Butterfield any longer, but stood with the ralliers, handing out messages of acceptance to those leaving the lecture.
Jeff Lee, campus minister for Reformed University Fellowship, the organization that sponsored her visit, said the group hoped to create a respectful space for dialogue and conversation.
“We know this is a topic that is very personal and challenging,” he said. “We want people to be able to have these conversations.”
Danielle McDonald, associate dean for students, who attended the event and rally afterward, said she thought the event was successful and that everyone peacefully expressed themselves.
“We care about the development of students, which includes exposing them to different thoughts and values,” she said. “College is about developing your identity. The exchange of values, thoughts and opinions is a part of that process.”