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Local University Says No To LGBT Organization

Aired 12/19/12 on KPBS News.

Point Loma Nazarene University will not allow an LGBT organization on campus. For many students not only is the decision disappointing, but it's also frustrating.

— Point Loma Nazarene University will not allow an LGBT organization on campus. For many students, not only is the decision disappointing, it's also frustrating.

Nazarene alumn Todd Clayton is questioning the decision by launching a petition. Here's what he told KPBS about it:

Q. Why are you involved?

A. Now, as an alum, I'm really passionate about making Point Loma Nazarene Christian College safer and a more loving place for LGBT students.

Q. Now, as I understand it, students weren't asking even for an affirmation from the school, just an acknowledgement and then word came there wouldn't be such a student organization. Obviously, that didn't go over well with you, so you've decided not to give up the fight.

A. Right, I think that's a real important point because even as now, an alum, I have a deep abiding passion for LGBT equality. I also recognize that Point Loma is uniquely situated in terms of its affiliation with a denomination that doesn't affirm LGBT people in all parts of their religious life. The reason the denial is so frustrating is that, you were exactly right, the club wasn't asking to move the theological position of the church, but simply wanted a space for LGBTQ students to gather.

Q. Are you the person behind the petition drive?

A. I am. The petition has actually taken off in a really surprising manner. And I think what that shows is that even among conservative Christians there is growing support for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender inclusion and safety.

More than 1,200 signatures appeared on the petition, which will ultimately be delivered to the university's cabinet and president.

An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the name of Point Loma Nazarene University. It has been corrected.

Comments

Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | December 17, 2012 at 10:12 p.m. ― 1 year, 8 months ago

What if someone who is openly gay applies there, are they automatically disqualified?

I bet they would welcome a visit by a pedophile priest with open arms.

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Avatar for user 'Really123'

Really123 | December 18, 2012 at 7:54 a.m. ― 1 year, 8 months ago

How can a person attend,( plan to attend, have attended, what have you) a private university based on scriptures which I understand specifically prohibit thier lifestyle and then get dissappointed when the university responds with a "No" to a student organization celebrating that lifestyle?

This is stupid. I'm all for gay rights, and I understand that this person is trying to change the system from within. But why is this news?

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Avatar for user 'sdsurfers'

sdsurfers | December 18, 2012 at 10:09 a.m. ― 1 year, 8 months ago

My daughter is currently attending PLNU. I agree with Really 123 above in that you KNOW what the Universities policies and procedures are! Do not come into this school with extremely high morals and standards and try to change their established rules. I am sure there are gay/lesbians at the school. They can go off campus and find like adults if they wish to do so. Todd knows what an awesome college this is/was/will be and he shouldn't be trying to push an agenda for his own personal self-satisfaction! You are a selfish moron and you should waste your time on other projects other than screwing with PLNU!!?? :)

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Avatar for user 'EssH'

EssH | December 18, 2012 at 10:50 a.m. ― 1 year, 8 months ago

I don't think Todd, a PLNU alum, would have referred to PLNU as "Point Loma Nazarene Christian College." That's never been PLNU's name. Doesn't do much to lend credibility to the article, or reporting.

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Avatar for user 'Claire Trageser'

Claire Trageser, KPBS Staff | December 18, 2012 at 12:27 p.m. ― 1 year, 8 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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Avatar for user 'CaliforniaDefender'

CaliforniaDefender | December 18, 2012 at 12:28 p.m. ― 1 year, 8 months ago

It is a shame that PLNU occupies such a beautiful place on this planet.
Such an amazing view should not be used to reinforce a decrepit, twisted morality.

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | December 18, 2012 at 1:09 p.m. ― 1 year, 8 months ago

Oh, Duckie, it's so sad that as a grown adult some people have been unable to let go and go beyond previous bad experiences.

PS: PLN is Protestant, not Catholic. As it is, they do not have priests teaching.

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | December 18, 2012 at 1:18 p.m. ― 1 year, 8 months ago

REALLY 123, it is news here because of the donations from certain "blocs," groups for KPBS.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | December 18, 2012 at 2:13 p.m. ― 1 year, 8 months ago

Really123, your implication that discrimination is OK if it's clearly
established and advertised in an organisation's propaganda is
ridiculous.

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Avatar for user 'CaliforniaDefender'

CaliforniaDefender | December 18, 2012 at 3:47 p.m. ― 1 year, 8 months ago

Duck,

Even if they shouldn't, I don't see any reason why PLNU can't discriminate.

They are a private "university" and free to teach a predictable doctrine for a hefty price. It is a comfortable arrangement for parents who don't want their kids exposed to new ideas and critical thinking.

But that view should not be wasted on them! They need to be moved to a windowless brick building, much like their minds.

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Avatar for user 'plnualum'

plnualum | December 18, 2012 at 4:31 p.m. ― 1 year, 8 months ago

As a recent alum of Point Loma Nazarene University, which is still misquoted in the first answer, I find this Q&A to be devoid of context, and some of Mr. Clayton's answers make the issue larger than it really is. First off, I am for LGBT rights and equality. What this interview suggests is that LGBT students are discriminated against, but in the true definition of the word, it would be hard to uphold that argument. For starters, some students are open to the administration about their sexual orientation. None of those students were told to leave the school, none were told not to live in the dorm rooms, and I know plenty of LGBT students who received their diplomas from the school.

As for Mr. Clayton's statement, "...making Point Loma Nazarene Christian College safer and a more loving place for LGBT students," is an alarmist statement. I will not say I knew everything that ever happened on campus; however, it is a very small school about 2,300 undergrad students, and students know each other pretty well. Saying the campus is unsafe suggests to someone unfamiliar with the school that hate crimes happens on a regular basis. I'm not aware of any, at least while I was a student there.

Loving is another word here used entirely out of context. I was not friends with Mr. Clayton, though, like I said earlier, it's a small school, and I have many friends who are friends with him. I would argue that he is one of the most loved and respected students to have ever attended Point Loma Nazarene. This same statement goes for several other LGBT students I know. My LGBT friends were mostly involved in school activities and surrounded by community, not banished from it. Your relationships at PLNU, or in life in general, are what you make of them.

It is also not mentioned in this article that there is a professor who leads and LGBT discussion group; however, it meets off campus. There is no rule that LGBT students can't gather in a single location, on or off campus, it just can't be a sanctioned club. But by all means, when any other student is looking for support during a hard time, they usually gather with their friends without needing a title for their meeting.

I grew up in a home that wasn't religious and I began going to church on my own in high school. I often felt looked down upon because I didn't pray before meals or wear a purity ring. However, I doubt anyone was looking down upon me; was just self-conscious.

I don't agree with Christian doctrine that living an LGBT lifestyle is a sin, but that is just me, and as a private university PLNU has the right to adhere to their doctrine. I don't agree with many of the rules at Point Loma, as they are outdated and upheld by older board members. However, I feel there is a larger picture of the PLNU community missing here, and before readers jump at the chance to bash the school, there is more to story than what generally makes the news.

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Avatar for user 'Dothscribble'

Dothscribble | December 18, 2012 at 7:37 p.m. ― 1 year, 8 months ago

In a 'free' country, private entities would be able to practice what they preach!

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Avatar for user 'EssH'

EssH | December 19, 2012 at 10:24 a.m. ― 1 year, 8 months ago

Again...why is anyone giving credibility to this article that misquotes its only source?

"A. Now, as an alum, I'm really passionate about making Point Loma Nazarene Christian College safer and a more loving place for LGBT students."

Very active alum Todd wouldn't accidentally make up a new name for his alma mater.

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Avatar for user 'Nbrisby'

Nbrisby | December 19, 2012 at 1:03 p.m. ― 1 year, 8 months ago

When your identity is institutionally written out of sight, it is not a safe place to be.

Now, imagine if you struggle to accept your identity. You can't be a real Christian, because you have these urges. You can't be gay, because then you're invisible.

Yes, Point Loma. Sure. You're very safe.

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Avatar for user 'ClemGuthro'

ClemGuthro | December 19, 2012 at 2:13 p.m. ― 1 year, 8 months ago

I am a PLNU alum and a former employee. Yes it is true as a private institution they can hold up their own beliefs. However that doesn't mean that concerned people can't and shouldn't raise issues of injustice.

While I'm sure "hate crimes" don't happen everyday and in general most students are quite friendly. That doesn't mean that LGBT don't feel they can be themselves or even find a safe space to wrestle with what they believe. When I was a student we were welcome to question our theological roots/beliefs and sometimes many of my classmates were quite radical in their questions but yet they were not made to feel like outsiders. It was a safe space.

This is the type of space that LGBT students want. Being a teenager/young adult is a difficult enough time in life and having to hide/deny/indulge in safe-hatred isn't particularly healthy or Christian.

I have daughters who are current students at Point Loma and I don't think having an LGBT club would damage them or expose them to anything harmful. Being gay is not a matter of choice - it is not a philosophy, a lifestyle.

I understand much of the political wrangling that goes on when a petition like this comes to the fore. The value that Todd brings to the conversation is that it forces all of us to face our prejudices and to really look at the issues and to treat people who are different from us as real people.

It might do all of us good to go back and read the story of the good Samartian. This is a story really about dealing/caring for people who are unlike us and whom we may fear or who we feel are not on the right path.

Engaging in name calling like 'Moron" is neither productive or Christian. This is about starting a conversation and really engaging with real people and the scriptures. Remember God is bigger than all of us in this and after all the great commandment is to "love our neighbor as ourselves". This is certainly difficult but can we imagine how different the world would be if this was true of all us (even me).

I for one salute Todd for being a brave young man. There are many who probably want to curse him or hate him or to dismiss him as self-serving. I think he is following Jesus down a road that many of us would shun if we were called.

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Avatar for user 'wallallison'

wallallison | December 20, 2012 at 7:31 a.m. ― 1 year, 8 months ago

PLNU is a well-respected university with fantastic education opportunities and their students have an excellent reputation for being prepared when they graduate. Isn't that what college is about - getting an education so you can be prepared to graduate and be a productive party of society and get a job? I'm so tired of issues like this, which aren't even real issues, getting so much time and attention. Everyone does not have to agree in this country about LGBT issues and if you don't agree, it doesn't mean you are intolerant, uneducated or the like. It just means you have a different viewpoint.

No one is keeping kids who are LGBT at PLNU from having their own support group, from meeting off campus, from meeting in a dorm room, the beach or wherever. The university doesn't have to approve or sanction everything these students do - does it make these students "more gay" to have the university say "we agree with you" - NO. It just makes news, makes headlines, and makes problems for PLNU (and ALL the students) that don't even need to be there.

Real problems can arise out of this ridiculous petition - all groups can be forced to shut down on campus so as not to offend anyone, donations for PLNU can stop, local business can stop being willing to do internships, PLNU students can be looked down upon by future employers and all so some students can have a "sanctioned" group that goes against the beliefs of the very church that it is part of and that supports all students (YES, even those LGBT ones) with about 25-30% of their tuition PAID - it's ridiculous.

Real discrimination would be if the Nazarene church said, "we are going to financially support all students at PLNU, except the ones that are LGBT"... but that's NOT what happens. The Nazarene church financially supports ALL students - even the ones that live a life they don't agree with, one that is LGBT - how much more support does a LGBT student need than to have their education partially paid by an organization that doesn't agree with their lifestyle??? Saying you can't have a sanctioned group on campus is not real discrimination.

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Avatar for user 'JeanMarc'

JeanMarc | December 20, 2012 at 11:49 a.m. ― 1 year, 8 months ago

Don't these people realize this would be like granting the KKK a presence at Alabama state? Why would a Christian college want a group that is in direct and severe conflict with their beliefs to be on campus? Why would gays even want to try to go there?

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Avatar for user 'VictorHugo'

VictorHugo | December 22, 2012 at 4:16 p.m. ― 1 year, 8 months ago

why LGBT people want to change the world? If you are a LGBT then keep it to yourself and stop making a huge deal about it. I am not a Christian nor a Catholic but I do believe in ONE God and God has created Men and Women to reproduce and to expand in this land...I don't have anything against LGBT as long as you mind you business as we do and stop trying to change the world. Not everyone is for it...This article is nonsence and a waist of time. They should be talking about education, jobs, and where is our country is heading as far as unemployment, school masacres, gun ownership...Keep LGBT in the Navy.........Merry Christmas

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | December 29, 2012 at 10:37 a.m. ― 1 year, 8 months ago

VictorHugo wrote: "why LGBT people want to change the world? If you are a LGBT then keep it to yourself and stop making a huge deal about it."

Typical draconian response from someone who wants people who are having their civil liberties trampled to just shut up and take it.

Attitudes like yours are what have made many civil rights struggles go on far longer than they should have.

If you we're on the receiving end of inequality I doubt you would not think it's a "huge" deal.

The only good thing here is that attitudes like yours are dying off quickly and becoming fringe crazy.

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | December 29, 2012 at 4:15 p.m. ― 1 year, 8 months ago

I had not looked at the earlier comments until now, did KPBS remove one of its own staff members post?

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | December 29, 2012 at 4:18 p.m. ― 1 year, 8 months ago

Duckster, if it is such a "private" issue, why, pray tell do the militants shout it to the Four Winds??? Do I NEED to know? Do YOU need to know??? Just answer me that.

Back in the mid 90s I had a gay manager and one day I asked him the same question, why do you feel obligated to shouted it to the Four Winds. He said he would answer me one day, but alas, he NEVER did.

Basically, they don't have rational answer.

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Avatar for user 'JeanMarc'

JeanMarc | December 31, 2012 at 9:34 a.m. ― 1 year, 8 months ago

I don't see people walking down the street screaming and crying about their straight pride (and having mock heterosexual sex while almost nude). Why must gays do this? It is not a matter of civil rights. Gay people enjoy the same constitutional protections as all other humans in this country. Marriage is not a constitutional right, or any sort of right. There is no reason the government needs to acknowledge a homosexual relationship.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | December 31, 2012 at 3:53 p.m. ― 1 year, 8 months ago

JeanMarc: "I don't see people walking down the street screaming and crying about their straight pride (and having mock heterosexual sex while almost nude). Why must gays do this?"

Heterosexual sex and sexuality is shoved in everyone's face in just about every facet of society. TV. Movies. Advertisements.

I've seen nude heteros having sex on the street during MardisGras in the Gaslamp, not to mention simulating sex acts in skimpy attire and exposing genitals for beads.

I've seen a heterosexual woman with children exposing herself at the DMV in a short skirt with no panties.

And I have more examples that I won't go into here.

So your ridiculous "only the gays act like that" argument is pure fallacy.

In both the heterosexual and homosexual communities you have people who are more "in your face" about sexuality as well as others who are much more low-key and don't act like that.

You can keep trying to make gay people look like some evil non-human species, but gay people are PEOPLE and just as diverse as the heterosexual community. Your over-generalized stereo-typing is ridiculous.

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | January 1, 2013 at 3:35 p.m. ― 1 year, 8 months ago

"Heterosexual sex and sexuality is shoved in everyone's face in just about every facet of society. TV. Movies. Advertisements."

Sounding a bit puritanical, there, Duckster. Noticed you too you couldn't answer my question either, but that's okay, didn't expect you to.

See the problem is that the militants get on their high horses and claim "it is not about sex, it's about equality" or some other such nonsense; and then turn around and behave as they do at "Pride" parads or have authors like Erin Cressida Wilson. That's the height of hypocrisy.

It IS about sex, the majority are just too intellecutal hypocritical and not honest enough to admit it.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | January 1, 2013 at 10:05 p.m. ― 1 year, 8 months ago

Mission, my response to you is similar to what I wrote to Jean Marc.

There are in your face gays and straights, and there are non in our face gays and straights.

You are asking people to answer a question based on a fallacy to justify your own stereo-typing.

I could ask you why all straight women are gold-digging whores, but that wouldn't be appropriate because not all are, just as your question is not appropriate because not all gays are militant.

And it's not about sex, it is about equality.

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Avatar for user 'JeanMarc'

JeanMarc | January 1, 2013 at 10:13 p.m. ― 1 year, 8 months ago

While heterosexuals might do things that display their heterosexuality in public, I think it is quite rare for a heterosexual person or group to set out making a public display with the sole intent of proclaiming their heterosexuality, such as gays do with a pride parade.

Heterosexual behavior is seen in public and in media often, yes, but that is because heterosexual behavior is normal. We also see people eating in movies, or walking, and heterosexual behavior is our natural, evolved behavior that allows our species to reproduce. I don't think people put heterosexual sex scenes in movies or advertisements with the purpose of promoting heterosexuality.

So there is not really an equivalent on the straight side, of gay pride parades and the like. Straight people don't run around militantly proclaiming their heterosexuality just to get other people to know about it.

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Avatar for user 'Outside2view'

Outside2view | January 2, 2013 at 11:21 a.m. ― 1 year, 8 months ago

JeanMarc, thanks for clarifying your opinion. Apparently anything Hetrosexuals do in the media is "normal", and anything Homosexuals do is to promote their homosexuality.

As such, there appears to be is nothing that the LGBT community can ever do to please you, therefore your posts to every LGBT issue are pretty predictable.

Specifically in this matter, maybe, as a private university, the PLNU may make rules regarding the religious beliefs within their institution. But should the same rights apply to any private organizations that do not discriminate against the LGBT community.

And that is exactly why we need a non-sexually orientated federal government that will protect both sides. How about ending DOMA? Marraige is a State issue and the IRS has no right to tax gay couple differently to straight couples.

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Avatar for user 'JeanMarc'

JeanMarc | January 2, 2013 at 12:26 p.m. ― 1 year, 8 months ago

Correct, yes. Heterosexual behavior is "normal" as 97% of humans are heterosexual, which makes homosexual behavior "abnormal" or "deviant" by the very definitions of those words.

As for the rules PLNU makes, they are based on a religion. It is not humans discriminating against gays, it is humans enforcing their religious principles. There is no discrimination, unless you feel that the religion is discriminatory.

The motivation behind tax breaks for married couples was to encourage people to form family units which would provide a stable environment for children growing up. The purpose of a mother and father is to teach a child how they should act as an adult, and to teach them the qualities to look for in a future spouse. With two men or two women, one of the roles will be missing in the child's life.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | January 7, 2013 at 9:37 a.m. ― 1 year, 7 months ago

>>>>>JeanMarc: "Heterosexual behavior is "normal" as 97% of humans are heterosexual, which makes homosexual behavior "abnormal" or "deviant" by the very definitions of those words".

And by the 'very definitions of those words' people who are left-handed and people who are red-heads, as well as thousands of other groups, are considered "abnormal" or "deviant". People wouldn't use those words, of course, to describe those I just mentioned because both terms "abnormal" and "deviant" beyond their clinical definitions contain an essence of referral to something "undesirable" which is why you choose to use those terms here. Regardless, just because a group of people has minority status does not make it OK to discriminate against them.

>>>>>JeanMarc: "As for the rules PLNU makes, they are based on a religion. It is not humans discriminating against gays, it is humans enforcing their religious principles. There is no discrimination, unless you feel that the religion is discriminatory."

Religion is EXTREMELY discriminatory. Just look at the history of major religions like Christianity and you will find tons of discrimination against Jews, against other non-Christians, even against scientists and artists. I'm very tired of hearing people USE religion to justify discrimination.

>>>>>>JeanMarc: "........with two men or two women, one of the roles will be missing in the child's life."

More discrimination at the peril of children. Ton of children in this world waiting to be adopted, but the bigots would rather keep them living as orphans rather than let a loving gay family adopt them. What makes good parents are providing love, discipline, education, and opportunity for children regardless of the sex of the parents. Do you think a kid in an abusive hetero household is better off than a kid in a loving same-sex household?

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | January 4, 2013 at 10:47 p.m. ― 1 year, 8 months ago

JeanMarc,

Using the clinical definitions of 'normal' or 'deviant' can apply to literally millions of things, from being a redhead to being left handed. It's not an excuse for discrimination, but nice try.

"Humans enforcing religious principles" is not an excuse for discrimination either, but nice try. Religious institutions operating within our country are still subject to state and federal laws and I'm tired of hearing people use their loose interpretations (i.e. OPINIONS) about hat they think draconian religious text refers to as a weapon to discriminate.

Finally, kid grow up well when they have loing, dedicated parents. It doesn't matter if it's one woman, one man, two women, two men, or a man and a woman. A kid in an abusive heterosexual household will be worse off than a kid in a loving homosexual household. I'm sorry your ignorance blinds you to this.

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