All throughout Christian circles, one will hear whispers and discussions about why LGTBQ behavior is immoral/sinful and those people are trying hard to push their agenda all over the US. One cannot go without hearing disapproving remarks about Gay Pride Day, snarky or mean remarks about protests to legalize gay marriage, or abhorrent exclamations when state after state legalize alternative forms of marriage.
I want to say this post is not in favor of “traditional marriage” nor does it support “alternative marriage” or sexual behavior. It is a conglomeration of thoughts on some concerning characteristics about how some Christians confront these issues. Specifically, Patrick Henry College’s (famous/infamous for its uber-conservative values) recent action against “non-biblical sexual behavior” and its surprising hypocrisy with regards to open thought, academic discussion, and handling real-world issues.
Since July, anonymous alumni and current students of Patrick Henry College (PHC) have been running QueerPHC, a collaborative blog that discusses real-world issues about sexuality. These students prefer to remain mostly anonymous however because, according to PHC, students are forbidden from “advocat[ing] non-Biblical sexual practices”. Yet PHC claims to be a staunch advocate of open-minded, academic discussions and supposedly encourages their students to wrestle with tough issues.
The college fights the idea of “non-biblical sexual behavior” with more than the words of the student manual, however. Over the past weekend, as QueerPHC write on their blog, “we received [a] message on our Facebook page…from Michael Farris’ official Facebook page.” (Farris is the Chancellor of PHC and a Constitutional Lawyer.)
“This page is in violation of our copyright of the name Patrick Henry College. You are hereby notified that you must remove this page at once. On Monday we will began [sic] the legal steps to seek removal from Facebook and from the courts if necessary. In this process of this matter we can seek discovery from Facebook to learn your identity and seek damages from you as permitted by law. The best thing for all concerned is for you to simply remove this page.”
In their words,
“The demand that we stop using the school’s name is really a thinly disguised demand that we shut up.”
Although Farris did send another message removing his threat to sue, Patrick Henry College has not only threatened to take serious legal action against former students over their blog (designed for students at PHC about experiences at PHC), but they have attempted to block the site on all campus servers and any URL’s linking to the site.
Time out—isn’t PHC supposed to be fostering open-minded discussions? Or do they want students who lead alternative lifestyles to “shut up” and stop “forcing their agenda” unless it’s the agenda that PHC agrees with?
NYMag wrote a short article on the whole incident in which they quoted an interview with one of the blog’s authors who goes by “Kate Kane”. “Kane” said,
“Despite the college’s claims that they foster open dialogue on tough issues, their first response on this has been to attempt to bully and censor us through the misapplication of copyright and trademark laws. We find that incredibly disappointing.”
I’m not going to draw any conclusions because this post is not supposed to convince or persuade but instead inform and foster a discussion (mental or verbal) about the words that PHC speaks compared with the actions it takes.