I got this link from my friend Dan, who obviously thinks I don’t have enough to complain about when left to my own devices.
First of all, let’s take a look at Grace University. From their website, we have the following mission statement:
Grace University is a premier Midwestern Christian college, located in Omaha, Nebraska. Our goal is to develop servant leaders for the home, the church, and the world through excellence in biblically integrated education. Here, students receive life-changing experience in a personal, discipling environment, all for the glory of God.
So in other words, a progressive, left-leaning liberal arts school, right? Haha, no. Not in the slightest. In fact, I think you’d be burned at the stake for sporting an “Obama 2012″ sticker. Click over to their “Educational Goals and Values” page and you’ll see exactly how … exuberantly … devoted they are to serving God, the Bible, and God.
The following [selected] statements briefly present the University’s Christian philosophy of education.
- Ultimate reality is found beyond man in the Triune God who created and now sustains all things.
- Mankind is morally depraved and is dependent upon and answerable to a holy God. Every human has the capacity of knowing God.
- Disciplined, empirical study in all disciplines is valuable and helps to develop perspective, knowledge, and skill; It is always wise to examine the presuppositions and world views that influence researchers in the sciences and the creative aspects of the various arts. [read: evolution, cosmology.]
- The Bible is the core and integrating factor for the entire curriculum.
They also have a pretty strict behavioral code. First, they forbid drinking – as in, you can’t do it at all, regardless of age. Which is peculiar since I recall biblical characters drinking wine and ale all the time. Granted, it was generally because it was safer than drinking the water, but still. They also prohibit any sexual activity outside of their definition of marriage. No word on whether they check to see if you’re on the pill or you used a condom, but with the advent if wireless miniature camera technology, it’s anyone’s guess. The student handbook spells it out (courtesy of the Huffington Post):
“Any student involved in sexually immoral behavior, including premarital sex, adultery, and homosexual acts, is at minimum placed on University probation and may be subject to a Judiciary Hearing.”
… and this is where Danielle, our protagonist, finally comes in to the story. (Sorry, I needed to build the scene.) She was a student at Grace University up until 2011 when she was outed as homosexual by one of the school’s “spiritual advisers” and subsequently brought before the school’s judicial board for violation of school policy:
Powell said the board asked her why she did what she did and whether she was remorseful, treating her, in her words, “like a sexual predator.” The university ultimately decided in March 2011 to suspend her and not allow her to finish the semester. Powell said she was also told she now owed Grace just over $6,000 after an academic scholarship she’d been awarded was revoked.
… for the semester during which she was suspended. They’re also holding her credits and not allowing a transfer until she pays up.
Powell said that the university told her she could participate in a restoration ["re-education"] program, involving counseling and regular church attendance, to get readmitted, but she would have to live off campus and could not stay overnight in the dorms. She began the restoration process in the summer of 2011, so as not to jeopardize work that she was afraid she might lose by transferring to another institution.
Not that any of that mattered, since she was kicked out in 2012 for still dating women. Turns out you can’t change someone’s sexual identity by throwing God at them until they tell you what they think you want to hear. Who knew? It also turns out that my little joke about the miniature cameras might not actually be a joke, since they found out about her relationship by calling around and spying on them, doing their own little private investigation on the university’s dime.
I keep wondering that if they spent as much effort on feeding the poor and sheltering the homeless as they apparently do on prying into the personal lives of suspected “homos”, we’d eradicate poverty within a year. I also wonder how vehemently they enforce these same “purity” rules when members of the opposite sex are involved … or if it’s more of a secondary offense while being busted for something else entirely (like doing the ‘walk of shame’ after curfew or something). No way to get the answer to that one, though.
SO … my thoughts.
First, why in the name of Zeus’s wedding tackle did this woman choose to go to a school with such an unhealthy obsession with God and regulations that make the Amish look like party animals? I mean, going to a Christian school is one thing, but these people are over the top. No drinking, no “suggestive dancing”, no watching HBO, “E”, VH1, MTV, MTV2, BET and Comedy Central because of the “values they promote”?? I don’t know much about Danielle’s worldview before her coming out, but unless she were a dyed in the wool fundamentalist Christian, I would have stayed away just on principle.
Second, for as much as I think they run the place like a prison camp, they’re a private school, and can set any number of rules and regulations they like. After reading the student manual, it’s pretty clear that it’s not just homosexuality that’s in the cross-hairs, but just about anything you or I could recall doing on a normal Friday or Saturday night in college. (I mean, please … who hasn’t launched flaming Cornish game hens out of their window at three in the morning in celebration of Guy Fawkes’ Day?).
What they did to Danielle is still unconscionable. True, it’s written in their regulations that they don’t stand for such things, but they appear to have gone above and beyond to single her out … and I can’t help but think it’s a result of the “popularity” homosexuality has received during the last decade or so. Society is beginning to accept it, the states are allowing them to get married, and conservative Christians have become convinced the bible it just about that.
The real problem with a place like this goes back to a phrase I usually don’t use, but it’s applicable here: what would Jesus do? Read the student handbook and tell me it doesn’t smack of the interminable list of laws you remember from Deuteronomy, Exodus, and Leviticus. Here’s what you eat, what to wear, how to walk, when to bathe, etc., etc. The people at Grace may say such strict rules are in place in order ensure adherence to Godly principles, but it sounds to me like they’ve missed the point:
36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”