#notmyiv: Students Oppose #InterVarsityPurge
This petition had 488 supporters
To InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/USA President Tom Lin, Vice President and Director of Campus Engagement Greg Jao, Executive Team, and Board of Trustees,
WE ARE students who oppose InterVarsity’s policy of involuntarily terminating staff who openly affirm same-sex relationships as God-blessed. Some of us who sign this petition are Queer and Christian. Some of us are Christian and Queer-affirming. Some of us share InterVarsity’s redeemed sexuality theology. All of us are Christian. All of us are or have been in InterVarsity. All of us wholeheartedly oppose this policy as siblings in Christ.
We who write this petition are Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer, Intersex, Asexual/Ace (LGBTQIA+; more generally referred to as Queer) and ally students of InterVarsity. We write to make known our grief, anger, and deep hurt.
WE REBUKE the notion that InterVarsity can be a welcoming space for Queer individuals with the current staffing policy. InterVarsity has made it clear that diversity of opinion and honest discussion of scripture are to be disregarded. This is contrary to InterVarsity’s core philosophy of an inductive study of scripture. This policy removes most Queer voices and opinions from honest faith-based discussions on this issue and from leadership, replacing them with an artificially-created, singular stance. This creates a conditional, legalistic definition of community, which aligns more with the Pharisees than with Jesus.
WE MOURN being pushed out of good, Christ-loving communities that we have called family. These communities empowered the Queer students among us to love our full selves in our identities as LGBTQIA+ people and feel loved by God. We mourn the loss of safe places to encounter God without judgment or invalidation of our experiences. We mourn the loss of staff we can confide in and walk alongside in our faith. Your choice to force employees to resign for their theological position speaks volumes into who you see as disposable to your organization.
WE CHALLENGE the specificity and selectivity of this decision. Having an InterVarsity staff position should not hinge upon one’s opinion on Queer-affirming theology. Singling out this factor is hypocritical, because InterVarsity does not require a particular theological position on any other topic except for its doctrinal statements. InterVarsity is cowardly to shun diversity of opinion on sexuality. We question whether InterVarsity is prioritizing donors above students.
Involuntary termination affects not only staff but also the many students with whom they have formed close relationships. The loss of valuable staff-student relationships denies effective discipleship to LGBTQIA+ and Queer-affirming students. It also hinders your stated purpose to lovingly witness to students of all identities. Instead, InterVarsity is creating spiritual orphans, isolating Queer students and staff from a fellowship that has served as their spiritual home. The impact of this policy is not loving, given that it further marginalizes Queer students longing to know Jesus.
WE DEMAND that InterVarsity allow affirming stances to be expressed by their staff, students, speakers, authors, and other affiliates, without penalization. We do not demand that InterVarsity/USA as a national organization hold a Queer-affirming stance, but we demand the following of InterVarsity:
1. Reverse the policy of “involuntary terminations” of staff who do not agree with its policy on human sexuality. Instead, reframe this as the non-doctrinal issue it is, with leeway for disagreement in all InterVarsity chapters.
2. Allow differences of opinion to be openly expressed in InterVarsity without penalty, creating a neutral space where many sides are heard and validated and scripture is discussed freely about LGBTQIA+ individuals, issues, and experiences.
3. Acknowledge and respect Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, and Asexual individuals as having valid identities with distinct experiences that may or may not involve same-sex relationships, but still qualify as LGBTQIA+. InterVarsity’s theology paper addresses same-sex relationships, but fails to recognize the complexity of LGBTQIA+ identities and experiences. This demand also applies to individuals whose identities are not explicitly included in the LGBTQIA+ acronym.
4. Place LGBTQIA+ individuals at the forefront of the conversations to develop LGBTQIA+ resources on human sexuality.
WE COMMIT to active resistance against the policy if InterVarsity does not comply with the above demands. Individual chapters reserve the right to resist in the ways that they see fit, including complete disaffiliation from InterVarsity as a viable option. If necessary, we will seek out and build new homes, spaces that demonstrate the love of Christ as one that fully celebrates who we are in our diversity of opinion.
While it would pain us to leave a place we have called home and people we have called family, many of us feel that we can no longer be part of an organization that refuses to see how God welcomes Queer-affirming students and staff as valid voices and faith leaders. In demonstration of true unity in the Body of Christ, we put our shared faith in God above our individual theologies.
WE FEAR that this policy, if not changed, will critically undermine InterVarsity’s central purpose of furthering the Christian Gospel at colleges and universities. We pray that you will listen to our voices.
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