Evangelical Campus Ministry Introduces New Policy Asking Pro-Gay Staff to Quit

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In a move that has been termed a “purge” by critics on social media and other platforms, Intervarsity Christian Fellowship, one of US’s largest evangelical college ministries, asked any pro-gay staff members to quit.

Marriage equality supporters take part in a march and rally ahead of US Supreme Court arguments on legalizing same-sex marriage in New York on March 24, 2013. The US Supreme Court will consider the divisive issue of legalizing same-sex marriage, in a hotly anticipated hearing on March 26 and 27 that could have historic consequences for American family life. The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on two cases related to the right to marry. These two cases, which concern the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and California?s Proposition 8,  are fundamentally about whether gay and lesbian Americans can enjoy the same freedoms and opportunities as everyone else.    AFP PHOTO/Emmanuel Dunand        (Photo credit should read EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)
 (Photo credit  EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)

After they concluded a three years long study of sexuality, the ministry informed the staff of their decision and belief that physical union is to be saved for after marriage and should be limited to only between man and woman.
The employees of the organisation are expected, by the leaders, to act and believe accordingly. If, however, they disagree, then they are expected to let the supervisors know and quit immediately. If the employees choose to stay on, it will be understood that they support the beliefs of the organisation, shall act according to its expectations and not engage in any such “immoral” behaviour.

This policy of the ministry has inspired several different reactions over different platforms. Reported first by TIME magazine, the policy faced much backlash on social media and hashtags such as #InterVarsityDoBetter and #InterVarsityPurge began to trend.

Southern Baptist Convention’s head of the public policy arm, Russell Moore, was, however, surprised at the angry reaction. He believes that the policy follows the same view of sexuality that the Church has held and propagated for over two thousand years. He saw no reason why this particular policy should face so much backlash when so many evangelical leaders and associations propagated the same ideas.

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Many of Intervarsity’s employees have already left since they were informed about the new policy. Michael Varquez, who once headed University of Utah’s chapter of Intervarsity, is gay himself and quit three months ago after his attempts at trying to broaden the existing ideas of sexuality in the organisation failed.

Previously, Intervarsity had stopped being officially recognised by the California State University System after the organisation refused to have any non-Christian leaders. This went against the requirement of the system to have positions open to every student. But a middle ground was reached and they became officially recognised again.

But the introduction of this new policy might prompt a re-examination of the position that the ministry currently holds.