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Harvey Wilhelm `24.
Harvey Wilhelm
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Reprint from 1996: InterVarsity promotes homophobia, not Christianity

This letter to the editor was published by the S&B in 1996 when a campus religious group known as the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship prohibited homosexuals from holding leadership roles in their group. InterVarsity lost their status as a student group, but continued to exist at Grinnell. The Grinnell College Christian Fellowship was a continuation of InterVarsity.

To the Campus Community:

We, the members and friends of Christian Voices, a liberal Christian discussion group on campus, want to affirm the acceptance of homosexuality in the Christian church. While the IVCF has taken a position that does not explicitly condemn homosexual members or homosexuality in general, the assertion that group leaders must view homosexuality as sinful leads to such an understanding. As persons created in the Image of God, homosexual as well as heterosexual Christians deserve full participation in the Church of God. Furthermore, we believe that treating homosexuality as a sin is not an unquestionable mandate of the Christian scriptures.

The biblical basis for judging homosexuality is inconclusive. Arguably, nine verses refer to same sex intercourse and when these verses are taken in correct context and translation, none refer to loving, monogamous, homosexual relationships. Jesus, on whose teachings Christianity is based, never referred to homosexuality and he continually preached love and acceptance of people who his society saw as outcasts. It is difficult then, for us to acknowledge that Jesus would have treated LGBT people with anything other than love and acceptance.

We acknowledge the fact that all Christians base their faith on a fundamental belief in the history and spirituality of Jesus and also that we are all reading the same Bible and it saddens us all to see issues divide not only non-Christians from the Christians on this campus, but also the Christians amongst themselves. However, it is also part of our calling as Christians and supporters of the move toward equality within the institution of the church to stand up against what we feel is an injustice. InterVarsity’s stance on homosexuality has hurt, offended and disillusioned many students. We have seen this not only among students who are not Christians but also among those Christians and now questioning why they are if the Bible can be interpreted in a way which we feel justifies judgment and inequality.

Homophobia is not a value condoned by Christianity. Homophobia is a societal disease and Christianity has searched long and hard to find the nine verses which can be used to perpetuate it. We, the undersigned, will not continue to pick out nine versed which can lead to hateful judgments but, instead, will promote the thousands of other verses which proclaim love, respect and above all, acceptance.


Katie Christianson ’99
Stephanie L. Jaros ’99
Michael D. Carlstrom ’98
Chad Herring ’97
Elizabeth Mack ’98
Leah Hrachovec ’00
Moses Mason ’99
Ali Burek ’96
Graham Gelling ’99
Elizabeth Twig ’00
Vy Barkauskas ’98
Roy Huggins ’99
Mark Houck ’00
Lea Wittie ’98
Ben Stallings ’98
Iresh Zaker ’99
Tim Corkery ’96
Alice Kloker ’97
Collis I. Rost ’98
Molly Moilanen ’97
Erin Shoulberg ’97
Katie Marienfeld ’00
John Baty ’99
David Hua ’98
Jennifer Stob ’00
Patrick Saunders
Jeremy Youde ’99
Sarah Cornell ’97
Sarah Stavertig ’98
Mali Lorenz ’00
Stephen Watkins ’98
Dorothy Dvorachek ’97
Ellen Hong ’99
Corey Twitchell ’99
Heather Cougar ’99
Katharine Kaya Lacki ’99
Beth Gerdes ’99
Alden Hoot ’00
Courtney Sapp ’99
Pete Calaway ’99
Amanda Hornbuckle ’97
Allison Carruth ’96
Adrienne van der Valk ’97
Sarah Liegl ’98
Jeetander Dulani ’98
Kevin Young ’97

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  • P

    PSep 28, 2011 at 3:32 pm

    Spectra, arn’t you doing the same? (“Forcing your conscience on others…demanding your beliefs on others”). The Bible is meant to be interpreted, which means there is room for interpretation. The students who wrote the above letter, among others, are simply interpreting the Bible a different way. So yes, they have read the Bible, and they have arrived at a different conclusion than you. You are the one forcing your beliefs on others because you are refusing to acknowledge that what is being discussed is in fact an interpretation of God’s Word and God’s plan.

  • S

    SpectraSep 22, 2011 at 6:47 pm

    You are all narrow minded forcing your conscience on others. You are misinterpreting the bible in a way that suits you. Leave Intervarsity alone. Premarital sex is against biblical principles so if someone was involved in that the same would be applied. Get mad all you want, the truth is the truth, have you all read the whole bible? You are demanding your beliefs on others that is narrow.