Affirm LGBTQIA+ Students at Lee University
Lee University recently clarified its stance on Biblical marriage and the need for repentance. During a livestreamed chapel service on March 11, President Mark Walker reiterated the beliefs of the Church of God and Lee University as outlined in the Community Covenant: that “homosexual behavior” is prohibited by Scripture.
President Walker declared the chapel service a Family Meeting “to work out differences.” However, the statements made during this service were and are harmful to queer students: their mental and emotional health; their physical safety; their relationship with the college, the church, and their peers; and their academic success. Lee University has a duty to care for students’ safety and wellbeing, and so we ask that the administration consider the reality of being an LGBTQIA+ student:
- 11-22% of students on Christian campuses identify as non-heterosexual (as reported in Inside Higher Ed, 2021)
- One in six adults in Generation Z identify as LGBT (Gallup, 2021)
- 59% of LGBTQ+ people identified themselves as spiritual and followers of a faith; 48% of those identified as Christian (Pew Research Center, 2015)
- 8.3% of LGBTQ youth between 19-24 reported attempting suicide in the last year (Trevor Project, 2021)
The Family Meeting continues, this time with the inclusion of our voices. To current LGBTQIA+ students at Lee University: you do not need to repent for who you are. You were created to reflect the Divine Image of God, and the Holy Spirit invites you to live joyfully as your full self. You belong at Lee University, in the church, and at the communion table, just as you are. You already fully embody the love and grace of Jesus Christ.
Jesus declares that to inherit eternal life, you must love the Lord with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind, and love your neighbor as yourself. As yourself - which includes your sexual orientation. Nothing can separate you from the love of God. Not Lee University and its administration, not the Church of God, and certainly not who you love and who you are.
The pain that exists in this moment will not last forever. There is life after Lee, and our lives as queer alums are evidence that it gets better. After graduation, your path may lead you away from organized religion altogether, or toward affirming religious communities, or somewhere in the vast in-between. Wherever you go, know that we go with you. We’ve got you covered.
For more information on affirming theology and denominations, mental health resources, and to connect with the Affirming Alum Collective, please visit: affirmingalum.com.