Petition Closed

On April 1-2, Harvard University will play host to an event called the "Social Transformation Conference," sponsored by the Harvard Extension Service and Leadership Society, featuring some of the most vocal, aggressive, and virulent leaders from the religious right -- people who blame homosexuality, Islam, and women's rights for the downfall of America, and who have financial ties to efforts in Uganda to pass an Anti-Homosexuality Bill that would institute the death penalty or life imprisonment for LGBT people.

The guests at this conference include:

- Dr. Lance Wallnau, who recently said: "You've got Islam invading the United States. So you've got your homosexual activity, your abortion activity here, Islam coming in, you've got a financial collapse -- all of this, to those of us who are Christians, is an apocalyptic confirmation that when you remove God from public discourse, when you don't line up your thinking with kingdom principles, you inevitably hit an iceberg like the Titanic and you go down."

- Os Hillman, who is a close colleague and financial backer of a minister in Uganda named Julius Oyet, who has perhaps been the most vocal religious leader urging for passage of the country's Anti-Homosexuality Bill, colloquially known as the "Kill the Gays" bill.

- Larry Bizette, who fought against efforts in Baton Rouge to recognize LGBT people, by telling city leaders that if they recognized gay folks, it would be akin to honoring "sin" and an "abomination."

- Dr. Jerry Anderson, whose organization, the La Red Business Network, adheres to a "morality" policy that believes same-sex marriage and reproductive rights should be outlawed in every facet of society.

- Dr. Bil Hamon, who believes that homosexuality is akin to incest and sex with animals, and who argues on his Web site that people should adhere to the biblical principle that homosexuality should be punished by execution.

Why is Harvard University and the Harvard Extension Service and Leadership Society willing to put their name, branding, and sponsorship all over this event? Is this the type of event on campus that creates an environment that honors Harvard's rich commitment to students of varying faiths, genders, sexual orientations, and religions? Absolutely not.

Send Harvard a message that this conference doesn't belong on campus with the University's support and sponsorship. This event is giving a platform to some of the most hateful and vengeful rhetoric on the religious right -- targeted at LGBT people, women, Muslims, and anyone considered an "other". It doesn't belong at Harvard.

Letter to
Director, Harvard Extension Student Association Student Affairs & Clubs Division Jennifer Doody
Dean of Students and Alumni Affairs Robert H. Neugeboren
Harvard Extension School
and 5 others
President, Harvard Extension Student Association Philip Harding
Harvard Extension Student Association Student Outreach & Markting Division Sean Wilkes
Harvard Extension Service and Leadership Society Natalie Bisasor
Harvard Extension Student Association Student Outreach & Markting Division Tracie Jones
Harvard Extension Student Association Student Outreach & Markting Division Siobhán O'Shaughnessy
I'm writing today about an event scheduled for April 1-2 -- and sponsored by the Harvard Extension Service and Leadership Society -- that will bring to campus some of the most virulent, aggressive, and vocal leaders from the religious right. This event is being branded as a Harvard University event, and says that it is being cosponsored by the Harvard Extension Service and Leadership Society. Please see the Web site for this event here: http://socialtransformation2011.org/.

This event is concerning on a number of levels, but perhaps no more so than the fact that several of the speakers attending the event have a track record of aggressive, violent and brutal rhetoric directed toward gays and lesbians, women, and members of the Islamic faith. A few of the speakers that will present at this Harvard-sponsored event:

- Dr. Lance Wallnau, who recently said: "You've got Islam invading the United States. So you've got your homosexual activity, your abortion activity here, Islam coming in, you've got a financial collapse -- all of this, to those of us who are Christians, is an apocalyptic confirmation that when you remove God from public discourse, when you don't line up your thinking with kingdom principles, you inevitably hit an iceberg like the Titanic and you go down."

- Os Hillman, who is a close colleague and financial backer of a minister in Uganda named Julius Oyet, who has perhaps been the most vocal religious leader urging for passage of the country's Anti-Homosexuality Bill, colloquially known as the "Kill the Gays" bill.

- Larry Bizette, who fought against efforts in Baton Rouge to recognize LGBT people, by telling city leaders that if they recognized gay folks, it would be akin to honoring "sin" and an "abomination."

- Dr. Jerry Anderson, whose organization, the La Red Business Network, adheres to a "morality" policy that believes same-sex marriage and reproductive rights should be outlawed in every facet of society.

- Dr. Bil Hamon, who believes that homosexuality is akin to incest and sex with animals, and who argues on his Web site that people should adhere to the biblical principle that homosexuality should be punished by execution.

I am shocked that Harvard Extension students would lend their name to an event like this, with speakers who purport such violent and aggressive messages toward people of different faiths, genders, and sexual orientations. I'm also doubly shocked that Harvard University would allow this conference to be hosted on campus, given the University's commitment to inclusion of students who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, as well as students who are women and members of the Islamic faith.

This event, branded as a Harvard University-sponsored event, is damaging to the school's reputation, and will only legitimize the rhetoric and political platforms of extremely conservative members of the religious right.

I urge you to pull your sponsorship of this event. Harvard should not be in the business of hosting speakers who say that gays, women, and Muslims are "hellish" and responsible for the downfall of the United States. Please do not sponsor this event, and allow Harvard's image to be branded on it.

Thank you for your time.