Different strokes for different folks

Homosexuality and religion has, particularly in recent years, become a topic of heated debate. In a time when homosexuality is celebrated and openly displayed in countries all over the world, many believe the opinions of popular religion have become antiquated and even obsolete.Does a happy medium exist? College campuses have been known to encourage individualism and personal beliefs, regardless of their context, so long as no one else is affected by them. This applies to WCU, as made evident by the plethora of varying lifestyle groups such as BGLAD (Bisexual, Gay and Lesbian Allies for Diversity) and Campus Rock, a fundamentalist religious group on campus.As is always the case, complications occasionally arise when two groups of opposite mindsets come together in a relatively small area. Members of BGLAD and Campus rock in particular have been known to butt heads from time to time on key issues such as anti-gay marriage legislation and the interpretation of popular biblical scripture.As a result of the sometimes heated conflict between homosexuals and the church, many members of the gay community feel alienated by the church and the actions of some of the more fanatic members, such as well-known anti-gay activist Fred Phelps. “There is always going to be some distance from people afraid to be themselves (in the church).” said Kayla Lynch, co-president of BGLAD. Although, she added, “some members are still deeply religious.”There are, however, several alternatives to the more extreme methodology of certain religious institutions. St. David Episcopal Church, for instance, has held regular meetings of PFLAG, or the Parents, Family and Friends of Lesbians and Gays and welcomes individuals of all lifestyles to their services.Such tolerance is encouraging, especially in this time of world conflict. But is it right? Some would argue that it absolutely is not, as made evident by popular religious scripture.”If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.” (Leviticus 20:13)Of course, upon further examination, one might find further quotes such as, “Women should be silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak, but should be submissive, as the law also says.” (1 Corinthians 14:34) and the less popular, “Slaves are to be submissive to their masters in everything, and to be well-pleasing, not talking back.” (Titus 2:9).Fortunately, such extreme examples are counteracted by the actions of religious individuals such as the members of PFJR, or the People of Faith for Just Relationships. An organization composed entirely of the religious who are in stark opposition of anti-gay marriage legislation, the PFJR has won an ACLU Award for its work.Reverend Joe Hoffman, of the United Church of Christ and member of the People of Faith for Just Relationships recently spoke of the organization and various related issues during a speech on campus. The reverend, famous for refusing to wed straight couples until gay marriage becomes legal, described the PFJR’s position of favoring all “loving, just, mutual relationships,” rather than just those of a man and woman.When asked about gay marriage, Reverend Hoffman replied, “Gay marriage is going to happen. It’s just a matter of when.”Regardless of one’s personal opinion, it’s important to be appreciative of the open-minded environment here at WCU, without which we would be unable to express ourselves and live in whatever way we see fit, as well as accept those who wish to live in a way with which we may or may not disagree.