jasonbwatson

June 27, 2013

Upholding Biblical Principles

I seem to blog entirely too much about homosexuality recently, but it also seems to be in the news entirely too much recently, so I guess that’s how it goes. On June 13 ABC News ran a story about a student at Grace University in Omaha, NE–a Christian school–that dismissed a student “just months away from her college graduation” because she fell in love with a fellow Grace student who was also a female. This happened two years ago, but is (conveniently?) just now coming to national attention.

According to the school’s executive vice president, the handbook reads that “any student involved in sexually immoral behavior, including premarital sex, adultery, and homosexual acts, is at minimum placed on University probation and may be subject to a Judiciary Hearing.” This is not an unusual policy for a Christian school, and it is one that is entirely consistent with biblical principles. So what’s the big deal?

Well, according to a change.org petition created by the student’s now-wife, Grace University suspended the student, took away her scholarship and then expelled her for her continued relationship with the female student, just one semester shy of her graduation. According to ABC’s report, the petition asks that Grace forgive the student’s outstanding tuition debt and protests alleged discrimination. The now-wife writes in the petition, “Danielle’s life was completely turned upside down and her academic career ended simply because she fell in love with another woman.”

Well, let’s see… First of all, what discrimination? The handbook clearly states that homosexual relationships violate the school’s policy and will result in discipline. Since the student in question violated the policy and was then disciplined, this is no more discriminatory than if the school disciplined students for using illegal drugs or plagiarizing, offenses I think it is safe to assume are also clearly forbidden in the handbook. This student undoubtedly signed an agreement stating that she had read and agreed to adhere to the school’s policies. Given that she was within a semester of graduating, she probably signed it more than once.

The now-wife also quoted from a letter received from the university which reads, “…it would be impossible for the faculty of Grace University to affirm your Christian character, a requirement for degree conferral.” In my opinion, the school is to be commended for taking this stand. If one of its requirements for its graduates is that the faculty of the school be able to attest to the Christian character of the students, and a student is persisting in sin, it would, as stated, be impossible to give that affirmation, and therefore graduation should have been denied.

According to the school, it is seeking repayment of federal loans and grants from the dismissed student. I can see no problem with this position, certainly not as to the loans, since a loan is a legal agreement requiring one individual to repay the other according to the specified terms. I would hesitate to require the repayment of grants, since there is never an expectation that grants be repayed, but loans certainly should be. Ultimately, I suspect this is not really about the money. The dismissed student is no doubt unhappy about the way things turned out, despite the fact that they resulted from her own choices, and she is apparently not wanting to repay the loans since she was prevented from graduating, but more than anything else it seems she–or perhaps her “wife” since she is the one making all the news–is more concerned about making noise about the school upholding biblical principles. And for that, I say again, Grace University is to be commended.

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