NewsMar 02, 2018 by Alyssa Duvall
Harvard College Faith and Action (HCFA), a Christian student organization, was put on a year-long “administrative probation” by Harvard University after leaders allegedly asked an unidentified member to step down from her position as a Bible course leader and mentor over her homosexual relationship.
The university's decision followed "a thorough review and [found] that HCFA had conducted itself in a manner grossly inconsistent with the expectations clearly outlined in [the Office of Student Life’s] Student Organization Resource and Policy Guide,” spokesman Aaron Goldman told The Harvard Crimson.
Goldman added that if HCFA wishes to re-apply for recognition, the university “will require updated materials that they are in compliance" with its non-discrimination policies.
HCFA co-presidents Scott Ely and Molly Richmond, however, are pushing back against the decision and claims of discrimination. “We reject any notion that we discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation in our fellowship,” they reported. “Broadly speaking, the student in this case was removed because of an irreconcilable theological disagreement pertaining to our character standards.”
The group received the surprising probation notice from the university just five days after hosting a controversial message delivered by Jackie Hill Perry, a Christian spoken word poet who was “saved from a lifestyle of homosexual sin.” While HCFA issued a preemptive statement on Facebook saying the message was “not intended in any way to promote homophobia, conversion therapy, or hatefulness in any form," the event was targeted by LGBT student activists as “hate speech” on campus.
Although HCFA promotes itself as a group which "welcomes students from all backgrounds," the former assistant Bible course leader at the center of the issue was asked to resign last September.
It is worth noting that, despite these recent events, Harvard is among several Ivy League schools founded by Christians for expressly Christian purposes, as illustrated by a quote from one of Harvard's founders cited by Christian Heritage Fellowship:
"After God had carried us safely to New England, and we had built our houses, provided necessaries for our livelihood, reared convenient places for God’s worship, and settled the civil government; one of the next things we longed for, and looked after was to advance learning, and perpetuate it to posterity; dreading to leave an illiterate ministry to the churches, when our present ministers shall lie in the dust.”
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