Attention drawn to discrimination

by Sarah Powell

In the past several weeks, Central College has been questioned on policies concerning homosexuals in leadership positions in religious organizations.

Recently, Central senior Brad Clark was banned from his leadership role in Intervarsity, a Christian group organization, because of his homosexuality.

Chris Waddle, chaplain and director of church relations at Simpson, said Simpson does not have a policy that discriminates against homosexual students from holding a leadership position in a religious organization.

Despite not having a policy, Waddle isn’t worried about homosexual discrimination becoming an issue on campus. However, he does recognize that some people might feel differently.

“I’m not going to stop a student from saying how they feel,” said Waddle. “But there is a difference between discussion and bashing. I really believe that many of our students here are not bashers, even if they disagree.”

Waddle believes that some people see a homosexual as someone who behaves a certain way or has certain characteristics, but that’s not necessarily true. He thinks that people can have different views and agree to disagree, while still treating each other with respect and love.

Simpson does have a stipulation in the college handbook that states intolerance for any type of discrimination, including on the basis of sexual orientation.

The Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Questioning Alliance is taking that policy and working to bring the issue to attention, to insure this type of incident does not happen at Simpson.

“We are making the campus a friendly environment for everyone despite sexuality,” said Rhonda Butler, vice president of LGBTQA.

According to Waddle, they are not as worried about a student’s sexual orientation as much as they are concerned with a student’s sexual behavior. He believes how people treat each other is more important than what their sexual orientation is.

“I don’t expect us to ever have a policy saying you have to do this, this and this,” said Waddle.

He encourages respect for other traditions and beliefs and says that everyone has different standards as to what is considered a sin and what is not.

Waddle emphasizes that what he believes is not necessarily the view of the United Methodist Church concerning homosexuality.

A book called “The Book of Discipline” of the United Methodist Church states the churches views on matters related to the church. The book is looked at every four years by a general conference that makes any needed changes.

According to the book, written in 2000, while not everyone in the church condones homosexuality, the church believes that these people deserve the rights of any other people and need the same ministry and guidance and affirmation that God’s grace is available to all.

Waddle said that while he doesn’t know very much about the story in Pella, he thinks that Clark is courageous and hopes that he has found support and growth in his faith.

“I think they are trying to do the right thing,” said Waddle, “but I would disagree with them.”