Friday, December 01, 2006
How can a Young Man Keep his Way Pure?
Just a few days after discussing Elton John and his particular brand of 'tolerance', one of the oldest and best universities in the world has followed. The University of Edinburgh has banned the Christian Union from teaching a course on Biblical relationships and purity to its own members on university property, all in the name of 'free speech' and 'tolerance'. The press release from UCCF (the Universities and Colleges Christian Fellowship) gives more details.

Pure is a six week course aimed at university students and looks at different issues surrounding relationships. It does not aim to give a list of things you can and can't get away with, but instead starts with what God has revealed in the Bible and then looks at how this should be applied in our lives and relationships.

I haven't been to the course myself or read the book, but I've had a look at some of the teaching materials. The course looks at
The Bisexual Lesbian or Gay Students Association (BLOGS) at Edinburgh University complained to the Student Association that the course was "homophobic and discrimatory" because of its teaching on homosexuality. To quote from Pure's literature, that teaching, which is only a small part of the whole course which focuses on the traditional biblical view that sex was intended by God within the life-long commitment of marriage, is:
Homosexuality: The Bible is clear on this. Sexual relations are only legitimate within the context of marriage as God has ordained it – that is, between a man and a woman. Just as those with a heterosexual orientation should not practice sex outside of marriage, the same goes for those who experience homosexual attraction.
Complaints were made to the Students' Association and the University Senate, who then, without discussion with the Christian Union, banned the CU from holding the course on University Property, saying:
The university has a clear commitment to ensuring that our students and staff are treated and treat each other with dignity and respect. It also attaches considerable importance to the values of free speech and open debate. In this case, the university has looked into the matter, in parallel with an enquiry by the Students Association (EUSA), and has decided that the course is contradictory to our Equality and Diversity values. It was decided that it is not appropriate for this course to run on university or EUSA premises.
I find it difficult and alarming that they can't see the dichotomy here. The Christian Union are not allowed to teach their beliefs on God's design for marriage and relationships in the name of "free speech" - yet this is not seen as completely absurd! There is no question of the CU asking for BLOGS meetings to be held somewhere else because they might teach ideas contrary to Christian beliefs. They are not forcing anyone, least of all BLOGS members, to attend this course. Instead these views, which were until very recently accepted as the norm in our society, are being suppressed in the secularists' quest for 'tolerance' - tolerance and the freedoms to speak or act only extended to those who agree with them. Only certain people seem to be allowed freedom of speech, with everyone else having to be silenced.

How can a young man keep his way pure?
By guarding it according to your word.

Psalm 119:9

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  posted at 20:34  

At 03 December, 2006 13:21, Blogger Jonny said...

This is very sad, but obviously a trend right across the western world. We now have some anti-homophobic adds on radio, which may not be bad in itself.

But it gives a chance for Christians to stand up and be counted as extreme fundamentalists (if you like that sort of attention). We can't assume majority anymore. We need to be proactive again like the gay groups have been.

At 04 December, 2006 06:37, Blogger Keziah said...

Thanks for your thoughts, Jonny.

I think there is a risk of Christians becoming very closed in their relationship to the rest of society in response to situations like this. I agree that we need to be more pro-active and to engage more actively and explicitly with society, if we are to share our faith and have any hope of changing society, while running the risk of becoming increasingly marginalised by it.


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