It was almost inevitable that Kylie Foo and Sophia Chaparro would become friends, as their Alpha Delta Chi pledge class was made up of just three girls.

“That’s kind of our running joke. They always wanted us to bond, and so we bonded, and then they got mad because we bonded,” Chaparro said during a recent interview. The UC Berkeley alum was reminiscing on nearly four years ago, when she met Foo, who was seated nearby listening thoughtfully to her partner of almost two years.

Chaparro, a sophomore when she pledged ADX in fall 2010, said she was looking to find a wider group of friends, and, having grown up in a Chilean Catholic family, she sought a Christian organization to find girls with similar values. She was instantly impressed with the group of bright and engaging women in Beta, the UC Berkeley chapter of Alpha Delta Chi, a national Christian sorority with 17 active chapters on college campuses across the United states.

“I knew I wanted something that was faith-based, because my faith is important to me,” Chaparro said. “I went to the first rush event and I fell in love, and I was like, ‘This is where I want to be.’ ”

ADXbackground1

Foo, who has the same petite build as Chaparro but donning a dark pixie haircut and an intense gaze, piped up. She said she originally wasn’t sure whether she wanted to join a sorority at all, because she never saw herself as particularly girly. Until the sisters of ADX explicitly asked her to join, Foo didn’t think they even liked her, really.

“For some reason, they thought I would be a good fit,” she said.

And she was, at first.

“I came to know the house better than anyone in the house except for maybe one or two people,” Foo said. “I spent a lot of time with these girls … and now a lot of them won’t even look at me.”

One week before they quietly became a couple at the end of spring 2012,  Foo and Chaparro were elected chapter president and devotional chair, respectively. But some weeks later, during a time when they should have been thrilled about their new relationship and leadership positions, Foo and Chaparro were worried.

Both were struggling to reconcile their faith with their newly discovered sexual identities and, even more seriously, worried that their budding romance would be a conflict of interest because they now held the two top positions in the house.

In late July, Foo reached out to Munn Saechao, ADX Beta’s alumnae chapter adviser, to let her know she and Chaparro were officially together and to ask whether their relationship constituted a conflict of interest. Saechao said she would ask the national adviser liaison, who in turn conferred with ADX’s national board president, Casey Chan, according to Foo.

“I cried the whole flight back,” Chaparro said. “Within a matter of days, we were just let go.”

On Aug. 4 of that year, Saechao called Foo, who was traveling abroad.

Saechao relayed the news matter-of-factly. Chan, along with National Adviser Liaison Susan Potter, had decided that if the women continued their relationship, their ADX membership would be considered “delinquent.” It wasn’t even a matter of Chaparro and Foo holding leadership positions — they could not be a part of the sorority at all if they remained in a same-sex relationship.

Apparently, they were in violation of an ADX membership requirement stating that all sisters must embody a “willingness to avoid situations which would cause one’s brother or sister to stumble.”

Saechao did not respond to requests for comment.

Foo, at the Acropolis in Athens, called Chaparro, who was at an airport in Ireland, sobbing. Their community — and their faith — had rejected them.

“I cried the whole flight back,” Chaparro said. “Within a matter of days, we were just let go.”

ADXHouse_MDrummond

The ADX-Beta house on Dwight Way between Piedmont and College avenues. Michael Drummond/Senior Staff

Before they became entangled in a romance that would later lead to their withdrawal from the sorority, Chaparro and Foo were the best of friends, drawn together by similar interests and a shared faith in Christianity.

Emma Young, an ADX sister who graduated from UC Berkeley in 2011, remembers Chaparro and Foo as being among the most dedicated Christians in the sorority. As devotional chair in spring 2011, Young organized weekly Bible readings and recalls Foo and Chaparro as the only women who regularly showed up.

“They both had a pretty strong faith and weren’t afraid to talk about whatever passages we were (reading),” she said. “Some people kind of absorb it, and (Foo and Chaparro) really tried to crunch through it.”

Although Foo was good friends with most of the women in the sorority, it was Chaparro to whom she grew closest.

Both say it was a rather mismatched pairing. Foo, more stoic and matter-of-fact, was raised in a family in which emotions weren’t anyone else’s business, while Chaparro hails from a close-knit family in which sharing feelings is encouraged and guests are always welcome at the dinner table.

“They were the best of friends; (they would) always hang out together,” recalled Katie Engelby, an ADX sister who deactivated from the sorority at the end of last semester for personal reasons. “I don’t think either of them knew they were (queer). It caught them off guard.”

“This kind of didn’t fit into the ‘best-friend box’,” Chaparro said.

Foo and Chaparro were soon spending hours together, just talking. It wasn’t until the end of spring 2012, however, that they began to realize their relationship was more than platonic.

When Foo experienced a sudden health scare that semester, Chaparro found herself nearly panicking. She was short of breath and on the verge of tears, and she sat with Foo in the hospital until her friend felt better. It was over the top — far beyond what someone who was just a good friend might feel when a companion falls ill.

“This kind of didn’t fit into the ‘best-friend box’,” Chaparro said.

They started exploring the possibility of expanding the parameters of that box and weeks later realized they had left that frame entirely.

It was the first same-sex relationship either had ever been in — and one that has turned them into activists against the very sorority that first brought them together.

One Monday near the start of the fall semester in 2012, Foo and Chaparro faced more than 20 anxious stares of girls they called sisters and read letters explaining why they were stepping down from their positions in the sorority.

They had been forced into what they saw as an unfathomable corner — made to choose between one organization’s notion of faith or their personal affections. Faced with either ending their relationship or being made delinquent in the sorority per the board president’s directive, they chose to stay together.

The memory of their speeches remains blurred, a recollection both say is too painful to relive. Chaparro recalls only “a lot of tears.”

“We read our letters and left, and their meeting continued,” Chaparro said.

While Engelby, the ADX sister who recently deactivated, was ecstatic for her two friends, many others in the sorority were simply speechless. “No one really knew how to react,” she said.

Engelby said that while not all the girls in the sorority supported the relationship, many were angered by the perceived injustice of the ADX national board unilaterally kicking the girls out without input from the Berkeley chapter.

“Homosexuality is not of God,” ADX’s national board president said to the Beta chapter.

Emma Young, the ADX alum, spearheaded a letter-writing campaign and, along with other alumnae, began to scour the sorority’s constitution to find a loophole to undermine the national board president’s decision. Around 30 ADX alumnae, along with a handful of sisters, wrote letters in support of Chaparro and Foo, praising their quality of character and arguing that it was not right that Christians with different beliefs be forced out of an organization that claims to welcome all those who accept Christ.

While examining ADX’s constitution, an alumna discovered that the national board was not allowed to declare a member “delinquent” without at least a three-fourths vote by the chapter to which the member belonged. The board, in other words, had violated its own constitution in making the girls delinquent.

It was the beginning of a messy and painful semester for the chapter.

On Sept. 3, 2012, UC Berkeley’s ADX chapter, including Foo and Chaparro, skyped with Casey Chan, ADX’s national board president, and Susan Potter, the sorority’s national adviser liaison, to discuss the situation.

The conversation, according to Young, who was at the house at the time of the call, was “not the most graceful.”

Multiple sources present at the time of the call say Chan told the chapter she recognized that Beta had a right to vote on whether to allow Foo and Chaparro to remain in ADX. She warned, however, that if the house voted to allow them to stay, the entire chapter could lose its charter completely — a devastating threat to a group of women whose entire community was centered on ADX.

“Homosexuality is not of God,” Chan told the girls in the chapter.

The conversation mirrored a broader theological debate being argued among Christians around the world. Many point to specific Bible verses, such as Leviticus 20:13 and Romans 1:26-27, as clear condemnations of same-sex relations, while others argue that the Bible is a general guide to ethics from an earlier time and should not be interpreted literally.

“If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable.” — Leviticus 20:13, NIV

The call, while cordial, brimmed with simmering exasperation on both sides.

Sources who were included in the call said Chan told the chapter that she has multiple friends and family members who are homosexual and that while she accepts them, she would not put them in Christian leadership roles.

ADX is supposed to be interdenominational, Foo argued. What about Christians who support same-sex relationships?

In a statement sent to The Daily Californian on behalf of the entire ADX sorority and national board, Chan said that ADX is committed to Christian moral teachings and that the Bible is the sorority’s ultimate authority for its values, attitudes and behavior.

“From UC Berkeley to Azusa Pacific to Illinois State to Georgia Tech to Seton Hall, ADX chapters reflect a diversity of persons, practices, and policies, but are united by the universal Christian vocation ‘to be conformed to the image of His Son.’ Romans 8:29,” the statement reads.

On Sept. 10, the girls in UC Berkeley’s chapter of ADX voted on whether to stand by Foo and Chaparro. Later that night, their president sent an email with the results of that vote to the entire chapter.

“God gave them over to shameful lusts … Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.” — Romans 1:26-27, NIV

Engelby said she was a jumble of nerves, waiting to find out the fate of her friends. She opened the email.

The chapter had voted to let them stay.

“Unfortunately, the next thing that hit us was, ‘OK, what is national board going to do now?’” Engelby said.

The response from ADX’s national board was swift. Beta was quickly made inactive and lost funding for all scheduled social events, which were replaced with Bible study. The girls were instructed to read evangelical pastor Rick Warren’s book “The Purpose Driven Life.” No new pledges would be recruited that semester.

Foo and Chaparro say they felt that some of the sisters blamed them for Beta’s suspension, and the couple began to feel uncomfortable. They began to isolate themselves, forcing the uncomfortable chasm in the house to widen.

A person close to the situation who asked to remain anonymous due to the sensitive nature of what happened said that while opinions were split on the topic of homosexuality, none of the girls believed ADX’s national board had handled Chaparro and Foo’s coming out well.

“We all thought the (national board’s) measures were excessive, but really did not know what to do,” the source said in an email. “Even with the varying stances on homosexuality, we did not think the decision to kick them out was right and we all felt stuck as to what to do.”

ADXprotest1_KevinChen

Friends of Chaparro and Foo joined them in protesting the ADX house. Kevin Chen/Staff

Foo, however, believes the chapter’s initial sense of injustice regarding the national board’s policy violation was slowly eroded by the increasing stagnation of the situation. She said her sorority sisters’ focus soon shifted to the nature of her relationship with Chaparro and determining whether it was biblically acceptable.

Foo said that the couple’s withdrawal from active participation in the “tattered remains of Beta’s community” was badly received and that many girls took it to mean the couple didn’t want to remain members at all.

While that semester was demoralizing for Foo and Chaparro, it was also difficult for other girls in ADX, said the source close to the situation. Many felt alienated and began to avoid one another, mired in confusion and hurt.

In early November, Foo and Chaparro officially withdrew their membership from ADX. They again faced the two dozen girls they were once close to and read letters announcing they were leaving.

One girl — Engelby — asked them to stay.

“They had read their letters and were about to head out, and I said, ‘Don’t leave.’ I said, ‘Don’t go out that door.’ ” Engelby recalled. “They kind of just turned to me and looked back at the door and walked out.”

Foo and Chaparro officially packed up their bedrooms in December and left ADX forever.

According to the source close to the situation, Foo and Chaparro left behind a house that was broken, disheartened and utterly exhausted.

“Relief is certainly not something we felt,” she said. “Even months following the incident, we still felt a sense of anguish.”

In the statement from ADX’s national board, Chan said that the UC Berkeley chapter unanimously expressed a desire for Chaparro and Foo to stay in the organization and that it was the couple’s choice to deactivate.

“The Berkeley chapter did the best that they could to support and love Kylie and Sophia, two sisters who were dearly cared for by the Berkeley Chapter,” the statement reads.

ADXprotest3_KevinChen

Foo protests outside the ADX house in January 2014. Kevin Chen/Staff

A few weeks after Chaparro and Foo officially left ADX, the sorority’s national board reactivated the UC Berkeley chapter.

At first, Foo and Chaparro stayed far away from the sorority. Chaparro, in her last semester at UC Berkeley, kept her head down and waited impatiently for graduation.

“I was like, ‘Make it to May, and get out of here,’ ’’ Chaparro said.

Foo, meanwhile, began to learn in earnest about the queer community while working at the campus Gender Equity Resource Center.

“I spent the semester learning what it means to be queer,” she said.

As both grappled with their new identities — and their suddenly shrunken social circle — Foo and Chaparro’s resentment about their treatment at ADX grew.

“We just couldn’t let them get away with it,” Chaparro said.

And so just a few months after promising never to return to ADX, Foo, now a senior, and Chaparro, an alumna, were back in front of the house for fall rush 2013. But this time, it was with bright protest signs and a fervent belief that no one should receive the treatment they had experienced.

“We’re making it very clear that what happened to us could happen again,” Chaparro said. “If you’re OK with that, I guess walk in. But if you’re not, you’ve been warned.”

Chan may have recognized that the national board — under her leadership — did not handle the situation as best it could. In a letter dated Sept. 5, 2013, ADX’s president apologized for any hurt she may have caused Foo and Chaparro.

“I am praying for you both,” she wrote in the four-sentence letter.

Letter from Casey Chan

The apology letter from Casey Chan to Chaparro and Foo.

Chan had faced pressure not only from Foo and Chaparro but also from angry alumni.

According to the unnamed source, the letter-writing campaign had, in some ways, turned into a vitriolic drive against Chan. The campaign was well-intended, she said, but “ended up being hateful.”

“We forget that they’re human and that this wasn’t easy for them either,” the source said of ADX’s leadership in an email. “It couldn’t have been easy for her to not act emotionally in all this.”

Foo and Chaparro’s protest, which resumed for Rush Week Spring 2014, has not come without a cost. Some girls who remain in ADX’s Beta chapter feel personally attacked for something that was not their fault. In fact, they say, they fought to keep Foo and Chaparro in the sorority.

“We did risk our charter to stand by these girls,” Engelby said. “Whatever the (national) sorority did is also being taken out on the girls in the chapter.”

Engelby said the girls’ signs and language make it seem as if it were the chapter that kicked them out, when many of the controversial decisions came from ADX’s national board. Engelby added that she still considers Foo and Chaparro sisters and will continue to fight for them.

“But when they phrase it as the entirety of ADX is homophobic and the entirety of ADX is hypocritical … it hurts,” she said.

In a statement to the Daily Cal, Rhianna Dutra, UC Berkeley ADX’s current chapter president, said the sorority is still recovering from what happened in fall 2012.

“Despite what anyone says or how things look, Kylie and Sophia became sisters when they pledged and will remain our sisters bound by love,” she said. “We don’t need an organization to love one another. No matter what happens in life, the bonds that were created will remain.”

Since Foo and Chaparro left ADX, the campus chapter has dissociated from UC Berkeley after being warned by administrators in January 2014 that it was not in compliance with certain campus policies, according to Brandon Tsubaki, an assistant director at the LEAD Center, which oversees Greek life at UC Berkeley. Many people knowledgeable about the situation said the complaint from the campus cited policies prohibiting organizations from excluding members based on their religion, not policies aimed at preventing discrimination based on sexual orientation.

The local ADX chapter chose to end its affiliation with the campus in early February to avoid having to accept non-Christians into its membership in accordance with campus nondiscrimination policies. In this position, the sorority no longer receives funding or administrative support from UC Berkeley, although UC Berkeley students may still be active in the organization, according to Tsubaki.

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Although Chaparro and Foo say they recognize that the campus has done everything it could to address their grievances, both believe justice has not fully been served.

Their original goal in protesting the sorority — that nobody would face discrimination at the hands of ADX in the future and, according to Chaparro, “that all of ADX ceases to exist” — has now morphed into broader activism for acceptance and support for queer Christians.

While picketing, the pair said, they met a number of people who “didn’t realize that being queer and being Christian was a possibility.”

“ADX introduced us to the seemingly impossible position of the queer Christian and how weakly supported that position can be in the world,” Foo said. Whatever her future holds, Foo believes she will always be involved in the Christian queer community.

Although Chaparro and Foo say their faith was tested by their experience over the past two years, they remain steadfast in their beliefs — as well as in their love for each other.

“It makes me really sad when people think of Christianity as a hateful and discriminatory religion, and organizations like ADX do nothing to help that,” Foo said. “We’re supposed to be one of the most welcoming and most helpful and most loving faiths, and when there are atheists that seem to be more loving than most Christians, there’s something wrong with that.”

Contact Sara Grossman at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @SaraGrossman.

Correction(s):
A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Kylie Foo took gender and women’s studies courses.

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  • Paul

    I’m amazed that there are people smart enough to go to Cal who still believe in the archaic idea of “God.” I grew out of it, just like when I figured out Santa Claus wasn’t real.

  • Kylie Foo

    You’re absolutely right. And actually, Sophia and I had a conversation just last night where Sophia called me out just for that: a bias that I still carry around against non-Christians. I grew up in a fairly conservative environment, and I’m still learning about how much that background permeates my comments and thoughts — especially when they are made more off-hand like I did in that quotation.

    I really do apologize again, and you can be sure I’ll be doing more self-reflection in the future.

    In the meantime, I appreciate everyone’s continued patience with me. A person can only grow so much so fast!

  • Albert Hartman

    I am persuaded to follow only those teachings in the Bible credited to the person who gave the religion its name – Jesus Christ. In my typical engineer’s fashion I see the whole of his biblical teachings can be summarized into just one sentence: “All of the old laws are wiped clean and replaced by just one: love each other as I have loved you.” The recorded teachings in the Bible by Jesus Christ show he said exactly zero words regarding homosexuality. About loving all others regardless of station, he had plenty to say.

  • adxalum12

    I do not at all agree with your interpretation that homosexually is so clearly laid out (and a huge number of your sisters nationally don’t agree with you either). I actually thinks it’s so hurtful and disparaging to claim that your sisters’ loving relationship is a means of “causing ones brother or sister to stumble”. Really? Someone else’s loving relationship is causing you to stumble? Or is the stumbling is happening because you know judgment is left to our Creator and that we are supposed to follow his lead in being loving servants of our neighbors – and you are unable to move past systematic bigotry to love your neighbor/sister? Is that the struggle here?
    What makes me stumble the most about this whole situation is the ill feelings I have towards my sisters who have so flippantly dismissed these girls and dismissed the convictions of their sisters. The Christ I know is accepting and loving to all people. The ADX I know tries to model that.

  • Gerald Leung

    Objections and criticisms here can be of 2 types:

    A) from atheists against Christianity itself.
    B) to Christians on whether they’re being internally consistent with their own principles.

    I suggest that my fellow atheists and other non-Christians refrain from those of type A because Christianity and atheism operate from fundamentally different premises and assumptions–things that bother us aren’t a problem for them, and vice versa. As “outsiders”, all we can really speak to is our observations of type B, and only from our vantage point as outsiders.

    From all my years of experiences, Christians may be predominantly this or primarily that. However, based on the philosophy around it, there is only one single quality members are universally and minimally required to have: to accept Jesus as the most just and wisest of men and thus to emulate him in all regards (as Christians put it, to accept Jesus “as their savior”). Christians may differ in any and all other regards, but that is always the baseline minimum.

    Whether or not Jesus really is such a model is an A issue, not a B issue. That is, a Christian who doesn’t meet that requirement stops being a Christian; a non-Christian who does becomes one. They self-select in or out, thus, it’s not relevant (or only so as a matter for their god to determine).

    I brought up the issues of “what would Jesus do?” when faced with conflicts such as one between “accept all fellow Christians” and “reject humans, let alone sincere followers, because of [some sin]” because that seems to be the central issue here. Although I’m an atheist, I was sent to church a fair share of times during my childhood and as a teen and have had various Christian friends throughout my life. I also have 2 copies of the Bible. Based on my readings of both of those, the bible studies I was subjected to, and the people I knew during those times, I’m reasonably sure Jesus, if he existed and was the kind of person Christians claim and believe him to be, would always choose the former: acceptance and forgiveness over treating others as “GTFO”. That has always seemed to be the next most important trait of what it means to “be Christian”.

    When Christians argue that the way to resolve that conflict is to reject fellow Christians, on the basis of “such-and-such is a sin” (or for any reason *other* than [not accepting Christ] really), what that tells me is that… they think the priorities should be the other way around. More than that, it’s one of just many parts of a huge trend we see with modern American Christians, particularly conservative ones. They say: “These people are living in sin. They keep living in sin. That’s un-Christian.”… but all I hear is: “Those people aren’t as Christian (as we are). Fine. They accept Christ so technically they’re ‘Christian’, but we’re really more Christian. We’re *true* Christians.” What it tells me is that the most important thing on these Christians’ minds isn’t anything like acceptance or forgiveness, but that there’s a pecking order, a hierarchy of who the “real”, best Christians are. The “real” ones might commit sins, but those aren’t abominable sins like homosexuals commit. Why would a just man like Jesus accept abominable sinners like gay people? What’s the point of not sinning if it doesn’t make you better than those who do sin, at least better than those who sin “abominably” like homosexuals keep doing?

    Maybe you Christians have answers to these questions. I guess whether you do or not is really a B issue for you guys to figure out, both for yourself and between yourselves.

    But I will say, as an atheist and an outsider, your ability to target homosexuality as a dealbreaker transgression? over which whole masses of you will cease to accept or love each other? That one’s just mystifying to me. I mean it seriously seems like you treat murderers and thieves better than you do homosexuals who love each other..

    • Nunya Beeswax

      It’s no more a dealbreaker than any other transgression. A man involved in an adulterous relationship, an inveterate gossip, or a disagreeable and fractious personality are equal problems. To the extent that they are willing to try and forgo the behaviors they’re tempted to, they’re welcome in the church. To the extent that they are not only unwilling to give those behaviors up, but argue that they are virtues, they have separated themselves from communion. Any excommunication or disfellowshipping or whatever a particular jurisdiction might call it is merely a public ratification of what a person has already done themselves.

      Gerald, I appreciate your willingness to actually discuss the issue at hand rather than throw around ad hominems like a barroom blowhard! Nevertheless, I feel as though I’ve pretty much outlined my position, and the opposition has outlined theirs. Don’t know about you, but further argument on my part would just lead to me repeating myself, so I’ll be bowing out shortly. Be well.

      • Nunya Beeswax

        One more thing : you equate accepting Jesus as the Savior with accepting him as the most just and wisest of men and attempting to emulate him. This is, again, the pernicious influence of neo-Christianity on the perception of the faith.

        Jesus is God incarnate as a human being. To satisfy the demands of justice, he allowed himself to be crucified as an atoning sacrifice for the sins of all human beings. Accepting Jesus involves acknowledging that sacrifice and repenting of one’s sins (repentance involves not only sorrow for misdoings, but the resolve not to commit them again). It’s not just an ethical imperative dressed up in fanciful clothing; the metaphysical component is essential, and without it there is no Christianity.

        • Gerald Leung

          I find the belief by some Christians that they are the self-appointed guardians of what qualifies as “true Christianity” to be more pernicious than anything you’ve described, of a magnitude that goes well beyond simply the bounds of Christianity itself.

          • Nunya Beeswax

            “Now in the Catholic Church itself we take the greatest care to hold that which
            has been believed everywhere, always and by all. That is truly and properly
            ‘Catholic,’ as is shown by the very force and meaning of the word, which comprehends
            everything almost universally. We shall hold to this rule if we follow universality [i.e. oecumenicity], antiquity, and consent. We shall follow universality if we acknowledge
            that one Faith to be true which the whole Church throughout the world confesses; antiquity
            if we in no wise depart from those interpretations which it is clear that our ancestors
            and fathers proclaimed; consent, if in antiquity itself we keep following the definitions
            and opinions of all, or certainly nearly all, bishops and doctors alike.”

            –St Vincent of Lerins, AD 434

            Do the ideas which I characterize as neo-Christian meet these standards? Are they beliefs which have been held everywhere, always, and by all Christians? I’m pretty sure they haven’t. The question, I suppose, is whether the word “Christian” is to mean anything or not, and it seems self-evident to me that the church ought to be able to decide for itself what Christianity consists of.

          • Gerald Leung

            Does it matter? The beliefs you characterize as “(Old) Christianity” are no longer universally held now.

            Moreover, the “this is the way it’s always been” argument suffers from confusing “the way things should be” with the “the way things are (or have always been)”.

  • Nunya Beeswax

    “Arseno-” an adjectival prefix meaning male or man
    “Koites” a noun meaning bed, used metonymically to refer to sexual intercourse
    “Arsenokoites” could therefore be loosely translated as “men-bedders.”

    Almost certainly St Paul’s neologism, but far from unclear. The lack of clarity has been introduced in an attempt to muddy the waters. Prior to the last 50 years–coinciding, hardly incidentally, with the push for greater acceptance of same-sex relationships in society–there was no uncertainty as to what this word referred to.

  • QueerActivist

    Sorry, there’s no way I can have a conversation with you if the Daily Cal censors all of my posts but leaves yours standing.

  • Nunya Beeswax

    Robert Gagnon pretty much annihilates that theory in this article :

    http://www.robgagnon.net/responsetorogers2.htm

    • Thin-ice

      I was an evangelical for 46 years, a missionary, and got a Th.B. I’ve seen countless evangelicals (including myself before I de-converted) do what anakiinmcfly is doing here: trying to twist the clear, plain, literal meaning of the text, in order to whitewash the Bible of any culturally awkward and/or unpopular teachings. Occam’s Razor applies. Anyone who takes paragraphs to try to explain why the plain obvious reading of a simple text is not saying what the rest of us are reading, is obviously engaged in a desperate act of “spin”.

      • Thin-ice

        And I understand anakinmcfly’s dilemma: if the passages in the Bible which are so obviously anti-gay are left to stand on their own, then one cannot be gay and be a Christian as well. So the ol’ cognitive dissonance engine is fired up, and all is good again with the Christian worldview. I will not criticize anyone who chooses that path. All I ask is intellectual honesty when examining the Bible.

  • Nunya Beeswax

    “…the words that got translated as ‘homosexuality’ actually referred to other things…”

    That’s conjectural at best, special pleading at worst. Christianity was predominantly Hellenophone for the first five centuries, and there was no semantic uncertainty about what “arsenokoitai” meant.

    • anakinmcfly

      Not sure why you say that, because the meaning of ‘arsenokoitai’ was debated on from the beginning, and translations differ so widely. There’s an actual Greek word for homosexuality, so if Paul had meant to condemn that, why not use that word, instead of one so obscure? Arsenokoitai is currently thought to be related to some kind of transactional sex between men and boys.

      • Nunya Beeswax

        There’s no Patristic uncertainty about the meaning of that word, anakinmcfly. Any uncertainty regarding its usage has been introduced into discourse in the last 75 years, seemingly by people looking for a loophole to permit sexual activities thought for most of the history of Christianity to be illicit.

        “Arsenokoitai” is probably a neologism coined by Paul himself, combining arseno- (male, man) as an adjectival prefix with koites (bed, often figuratively used to mean having sex). It’s quite clear what he was getting at, and there is no textual or historical evidence that he was referring to prostitution or religious rites involving sodomy.

        Then, as now, there were multiple words that could be used to describe any human activity. It’s as if someone 2000 years ago insisted that the word “fudgepacker” meant literally someone who packaged candy and that it couldn’t possibly mean “homosexual” because there are other English words for that!

        • anakinmcfly

          The consensus *is* that it involved some form of sexual behaviour between men; the question is what kind. There were apparently a few (a couple?) instances of the term used in Greek writings, and both involved a man with a young boy, suggesting pederasty. Its other mentions were usually in organised lists of sins, where arsenokoitai would usually appear near the economic sins (theft, etc) involving money, which has led others to speculate that there was an economic aspect to the sex in question.

    • DinaClare

      Tell that to King James.

      • Nunya Beeswax

        What’s King James got to do with it? The Authorised Version was published in 1611, which is quite a bit further down the line than the first five centuries of Christianity (you do know what A.D. stands for, right?).

  • Armanatar

    And of course if she wore a cotton/polyester blend top, she’d be right out as well (Leviticus 19:19). Or ate shellfish (Leviticus 11:10). Or wore gold jewelry (1 Timothy 2:9). Or prayed in public (Matthew 6:5-6). The Bible says a lot of things that people ignore without a second thought. What makes being gay any worse than eating shrimp (heck, they’re even described with the same invectives)? In the debate over ending slavery in America, both sides were slinging Bible verses left and right, and the text seemed to back up the pro-slavery and the anti-slavery sides simultaneously. It’s almost as if people cherry-pick the Bible verses that support their own beliefs and prejudices. Funny, that.

  • anakinmcfly

    Cyanide! Your turn.

  • QueerActivist

    The Daily Cal says that’s what the Leviticus verse says. If you are so adamant that it’s a wrong quote, you should file a correction with the editor.

    • anakinmcfly

      Sorry, miscommunication – it *is* what the verse says in the NIV English translation, but other translations differ and many scholars are still uncertain about what it actually meant. Given that, it’s not accurate to declare the Bible and/or that verse itself to be homophobic, even though this particular translation may be. Hope that made it clearer!

      • QueerActivist

        Do you and your church follow the homophobic NIV English translation or a non-homophobic translation?

        • anakinmcfly

          I’ve been to a bunch of churches, from conservative to liberal, and none of them stuck to any particular translation. A few of those were specifically LGBT-affirming.

  • Pluto Animus

    Now all Foo and Chaparro need to do is use those critical thinking skills they learned in college.

    If the Christian bible says that gays should be violently murdered (which it does), and Jesus himself says that such Laws of the Prophets must be upheld (which he does), then isn’t Christianity unreliable as a source of truth?

    And does Christianity not demand belief without evidence, as all religions do?

    Well, ladies?

    • Nunya Beeswax

      “If the Christian bible says that gays should be violently murdered
      (which it does), and Jesus himself says that such Laws of the Prophets
      must be upheld (which he does), then isn’t Christianity unreliable as a
      source of truth?”

      Self-evidently, it is not. Laying aside your misunderstanding of what the Bible says, it is not empirically demonstrable that gays should not be violently murdered any more than it is empirically demonstrable that they should. Neither statement is a statement of fact.

      • Pluto Animus

        “Self-evidently, it is not.” Not what, unreliable? So, the bible is not unreliable?

        It’s a shame you cannot state what you mean coherently.

        Leviticus 20:13 “If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They are to be put to death.”

        Matthew 5:18 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.”

        I’ve got the bible on my side.

        All you have is your willful ignorance. Or is it dishonesty?

        • Nunya Beeswax

          You’re doing exactly what fundamentalist Christians do here–pulling out “proof texts” with no regard to their context in the rest of the text.

          I’ll have this conversation with you when you’ve researched what Jesus means by fulfilling the Law & the Prophets. It’s not my job to teach you Bible 101.

          • Pluto Animus

            ‘Context’, the Get Out of the bible Free Card for Intellectual Cowards.

            What a tired, empty excuse.

            We atheists can actually read. You Christians cannot disown your ‘sacred’ words without disowning Jesus himself.

            Ha ha ha.

          • Pluto Animus

            Further, you indicate that there is a context in which murdering gay people is appropriate and morally enlightened.

            And then you say, “It’s not my job to teach you Bible 101.”

            You will not specify such a context, because you damn well know none exists.

            Typical Christian. So good at hiding from the truth.

          • Nunya Beeswax

            Now you’re just posturing. Really, at least when Christopher Hitchens did it he was witty.

            My morality is rooted in God’s commandments. God is a perfect being, and therefore cannot do or command what is wrong; by definition, his actions and commandments are morally correct.

            What’s the ground of your morality?

          • JosephLS

            Mine is what causes people to have lives that are as long, happy, and satisfied as possible, with as little suffering as possible.

            One benefit: in order to understand and apply my morality, one need not study 2000-year-old cultures and languages in order to apply context to the similarly-old and static resource that is the ONLY resource that will ever contribute to the standards that underlie my morality.

          • Nunya Beeswax

            So, utilitarianism then, and I assume you reject deontological ethics categorically.

            But what if the greater good demands the painful suffering and death of a small minority? Or of 49% of the world, provided that the 51% enjoy eudaimonia? What if the best way to give people long, happy, and satisfying lives is to narcotize them and immerse them in an endless virtual-reality simulation of a good life? What if for some people, a long, happy, and satisfying life is predicated on causing others the maximum amount of suffering (and what if those people were in the majority)?

          • JosephLS

            “But what if the greater good demands the painful suffering and death of a small minority?”

            The various weights the good and the bad are not immediately obvious. Directly choosing to cause a innocent person’s death is so bad that there is realistically no good that can come from it that would justify it.

            One could come up with a scenario though. If I was able to cause all wars and diseases to end, and all I had to do was have one person be brutally murdered, sure, I’d do it. It would happen anyway. However, again, there are almost no realistic scenarios where choosing innocent death is the right choice, unless the other choices are also innocent death.

            “What if the best way to give people long, happy, and satisfying lives is to narcotize them and immerse them in an endless virtual-reality simulation of a good life?”

            Obviously people cannot be made to do anything. Only individuals can decide for themselves what is the best for themselves. My standard isn’t endorphins in the brain, it’s based on what people decide, as free sentient beings, is right for themselves.

            “What if for some people, a long, happy, and satisfying life is predicated on causing others the maximum amount of suffering (and what if those people were in the majority)?”

            Again, the relative weighting of the happiness of some and the suffering of others is not linear. In general, I think that causing suffering is more bad than causing happiness is good. I have no interest in hashing out with you the precise weights I apply to various forms of happiness and suffering.

            I have a question for you though. How do you know that God is perfect, and that his moral code is good?

          • Nunya Beeswax

            Any information requires context to be meaningful.

            Early on in the study of mathematics, you might read in your textbook that negative numbers do not have square roots. Later, perhaps in the same textbook, you might learn about imaginary numbers, which are used when it is necessary to represent the square roots of negative numbers.

            On the surface, these two statements are contradictory, and a person who is ignorant of mathematics and wishes to remain so might conclude that math is unreliable and not worth devoting any attention to. That is essentially what you are doing with regard to religion. If you want to discuss it intelligently, you will make an effort to understand it, even if you have no interest in practicing it. The information is very easy to find, but it might require some effort to comprehend, so I understand if you’d rather not.

            I enjoyed the chuckle at the end of your post. It’s nice to know that you are at least amusing yourself.

  • WillBell

    “when there are atheists that seem to be more loving than most Christians, there’s something wrong with that.”

    Honestly I find this line of thought worrying. Are atheists not supposed to be loving and accepting? It sounds like “Oh no! We’re even worse than atheists! That’s pretty bad.”

    Some of us are really nice, it’s okay to not be as nice as some atheists.

    • Kylie Foo

      Hi WillBell – I hear you, and I wanted to let you know I apologize and also expanded more on that line about two comments down on the page.

      • WillBell

        Sorry for not bothering to look before adding my voice to a list of fairly repetitive comments.

  • charles000

    Memo to Alpha Delta Chi – this is 2014, the 21st century, not the 12th century. Maybe, just maybe, you might want to consider this concept, perhaps?

  • Guest

    A very well-written and sad story. I support you, Kylie and Sophia; nobody should have to deal with this kind of hate in college.
    Er…but…generalizing about atheists in that way is very hurtful towards the atheist community. Most atheists are just people too, tolerant and caring. Please don’t generalize about us as you were generalized about. Besides that, stand strong :)

  • anakinmcfly

    Your Romans 1:26 quotation disingenuously removes the first three words of that verse: ‘Because of this’, or ‘For this reason/cause’, or ‘That is why’, depending on the translation. It changes the meaning completely. Based on the verses directly preceding it, the verse was referring to a very specific group of people (thought to be the worshippers at the temple at Acrocorinth), in which their abandonment of God in favour of pagan religions involved them ‘abandoning’ their original heterosexuality towards homosexual or other forms of sex that would have been unnatural to them as straight people. There’s stuff about the history of that temple that you can look up. It was a hub of sexual activity between *everybody*, as part of fertility rituals, in which thousands of people, male and female, related and not, would basically engage in mass orgies.

    It bears no relation at all to people who were gay to begin with and had no heterosexuality to ‘abandon’, let alone did so in the worship of pagan gods.

  • anakinmcfly

    I was with you until you called that ‘sexism of the worst kind’. Nope, sorry; if you think that’s the worst of sexism, you live an extremely sheltered existence where the worst thing that happens to women is them being called ‘girls’.

  • anakinmcfly

    The Leviticus laws were meant specifically for the ancient Israelites. Apart from how most of us are not ancient Israelites, those laws were made with the purpose of keeping their small, growing community separate and visually distinct from their neighbouring cultures – hence the laws on how to shave or wear one’s hair and clothes and so on – in order that they could establish their own cultural identity. A few centuries ago when those translations were done, the English word ‘abomination’ used to mean ‘against cultural norm’, which was closer to the original Hebrew meaning.

    The law that you mention and those like it also had to do with the idea of not mixing different things, as part of their holiness code. So they were not to sow a field with two different kinds of seed, or wear clothing made of mixed fibres, and so on. It was about keeping things pure, and was a cultural thing, rather than a moral prohibition.

    • Pluto Animus

      Your hand-waving is fooling no one.

      Your magical book is arbitrary and unreliable. Give it up.

      • anakinmcfly

        I have no idea what ‘hand-waving’ you’re referring to, because everything I’ve said is based on credible research and centuries of Bible scholarship. It’s not like this is new stuff I just came up with. You’re on the internet. Google it.

        The word ‘abomination’ was translated from the Hebrew ‘toevah’, which means something like ‘ritually unclean’, and was most used in relation to idolatry – which tallies with the interpretation of Leviticus 20:13 being about male temple prostitution.

        The ‘man’ as in the one who ‘shall not lie with a man as one lies with a woman’ was translated from the Hebrew word ‘qadesh’, which means ‘holy one’. This further reinforces the temple prostitution interpretation, and would make a reading of regular homosexuality be odd, unless of course one believes that gay men are intrinsically holy ones – in which case, being gay would instead be a good thing.

        I’m also uncertain how any book can be ‘magical’, unless you’re claiming that the Bible has magical powers.

  • Sherman Boyson

    Seriously, DC? You refer to the women as “girls”? Please show me a story where you refer to male students as boys — for if you cannot, then you are guilty of sexism of the worst kind.

  • Thin-ice

    Although the Gospels provide plenty of evidence that Jesus was himself gay (close intimate group of male friends, friends with prostitutes, kissed Peter, John laid his head on Jesus’ chest, perfumed feet, etc), the rest of the Bible is clearly homophobic. I just don’t understand why any self-respecting homosexual would choose to be part of any homophobic religion. What’s with that?

    • anakinmcfly

      speaking as a gay Christian: firstly, there is no evidence that Jesus was gay (men were a lot more affectionate back then and in that culture, and all that was regular straight male behaviour. Secondly, no, the Bible is not ‘clearly homophobic’ once you take into account the linguistic and historical context of the texts. The Bible wasn’t written in English. The Bible itself is not homophobic, even though its English translations were.

      • Lizard

        Okay. Then it’s irrelevent. Pick your poison.

      • Thin-ice

        Seriously? My comment was deleted/censored by the Daily Californian just because I respectfully said I thought Jesus was gay??? Either the Christian Taliban is getting a foothold in California, or you’re so PC as to be ridiculous. This would be more typical of a high school newspaper . . .

        • QueerActivist

          The Daily Cal’s censoring posts that don’t support their worldview. There are probably a couple of religious homophobes on their staff who wouldn’t even tolerate the thought that Jesus was gay so erased your post.

      • Thin-ice

        There’s nothing “linguistic” or “cultural” or “allegorical” about Leviticus 20:13: ““If a man 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.” (And watch the newspaper delete this comment as well!!)

        • anakinmcfly

          Which part of ‘the Bible wasn’t written in English’ didn’t you get? :/

          Reposting my comment from above:

          “The word ‘abomination’ was translated from the Hebrew ‘toevah’, which means something like ‘ritually unclean’, and was most used in relation to idolatry – which tallies with the interpretation of Leviticus 20:13 being about male temple prostitution.

          The ‘man’ as in the one who ‘shall not lie with a man as one lies with a woman’ was translated from the Hebrew word ‘qadesh’, which means ‘holy one’. This further reinforces the temple prostitution interpretation, and would make a reading of regular homosexuality be odd, unless of course one believes that gay men are intrinsically holy ones – in which case, being gay would instead be a good thing”.

          Not sure why you think the newspaper would delete your comment, given that the verse was quoted in the article.

          • Thin-ice

            Meh, you engage in typical evangelical double-speak. Virtually all the English translations come out the same way, so methinks you are accusing virtually every translator ever of lying and twisting the meaning of the original Hebrew. I don’t know Hebrew, but I would rather trust the numerous Hebrew scholars who have translated the passage into English, than you.

  • rx7ward

    But it IS fiction! Sorry, but that’s true.

  • burnadams

    These two girls were refusing to follow God’s guidance in the viewpoint of the believers of this sorority. Or another way to put it, these lesbians were asking their sorority to choose between loyalty to God or loyalty to them.

    For them, the choice is pretty obvious.

    • Lando

      “The chapter had voted to let them stay.”

  • QueerActivist

    The Daily Cal article says:

    “If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a
    woman, both of them have done what is detestable.” — Leviticus 20:13, NIV

    Why would a non-homophobic person follow the Bible’s teachings, which has the homophobic Leviticus 20:13?

    Don’t Christians believe God is loving and not hating?

    • Lee

      It amazes me how anyone could quote that one line from Leviticus while ignoring the rest of the nonsensical bullshit.

    • Carissa

      Hi, hello, I’m a lesbian Christian. Did you know that the the oft-quoted Old Testament verses, and indeed, the New Testament verses, are referring to temple prostitution used for worshiping other gods? (I mean, dang, just google it. It comes right up.)

      Because those are what the verses are referring to. The whole “worshiping other gods” thing is why it’s such a big deal.

      No one’s going to take you seriously if you keep quoting Old Testament law because Christians aren’t held to it anymore because of this: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Acts+10%3A9-48&version=NIV

      “Why would a non-homophobic person follow the Bible’s teachings[…]?” Man, I don’t know, it’s like we’ve accepted Jesus Christ as our Savior and believe in following him, loving others, and all the hundreds of pages

      Does being progressive means telling people what they should and shouldn’t believe?

      • Nunya Beeswax

        Leviticus is a red herring. Try Acts 15, where Christians are required to refrain from sexual immorality, not to mention the Epistle to the Romans and the first Epistle to the Corinthians.

        • anakinmcfly

          Are you suggesting that sexual immorality is a good thing? Pro tip: it’s not, so please don’t rape, molest people or commit adultery.

          • Nunya Beeswax

            I’m uncertain as to how you got that from what I said. Do you know what “refrain” means?

          • anakinmcfly

            I’m sorry about that; mistook you for another poster who was going around being sarcastically scornful of Christian sexual ethics.

        • Carissa

          Yeah, I know it’s a red herring, but it’s one that never fails to get my proverbial goat.

          I will be the first to note that I am not a theologian. I am just a Christian with a lot of passion for history and think it’s important to account for that when we’re talking about source materials.

          Acts 15: The words “sexual immorality” are mentioned twice in this passage, but not really talked about in detail. There’s no reason to believe homosexuality would be included. I think it’s pretty safe to assume it’s the kind of thing anakinmcfly mentioned (rape, molestation, adultery).

          Romans: Yeah, please read the full chapter of Romans 1 (I assume this is the chapter you mean, since it gets quoted pretty frequently too). They were using sex to worship other gods. I mentioned this in my original comment.

          First Corinthians: Shot in the dark, chapter 7:2-4? Personally, I see that as a passage against adultery. Arguing that it means only opposite-gender couples are okay is an argument based in silence. Which is not really an argument at all.

          There’s your answer. Do with it as you will~

          • Nunya Beeswax

            No, there is a reason to believe that “sexual immorality” includes same-sex behavior. It’s forbidden in the Torah, and it’s perfectly logical that a group of 1st-century Jewish Christians would think it was abominable. Check the Mishnah if you want a reality check regarding Jewish interpretation of the OT passages.

            And yes, Romans 1 is specifically addressing the context of idolatry, but it also mentions covetousness, envy, murder and a host of other sins. Are you going to argue that murder is only wrong when it’s associated with the worship of false gods?!

            I was referring more to I Cor 6:12-20. But 7:2-4 is also apposite in adducing evidence that same-sex relationships were not contemplated. If they had been, why weren’t they mentioned? There is literally no positive representation in Scripture of a same-sex couple, no model for that sort of relationship, and several places therein where such relationships are disparaged and forbidden. What more do you want?

          • anakinmcfly

            Your first statement is a logical fallacy. When one says ‘sexual immorality is bad’, they mean that, well, sexual immorality is bad. Such that homosexuality wouldn’t be covered under that same condemnation if it’s no longer understood to be sexually immoral.

            Analogy: Someone says, ‘it is bad to do evil things’. If a person considers consuming pork to fall under evil things, they wouldn’t do it, *because* they think it’s evil. But if they cease to think pork evil, they would then be able to eat it with a clear conscience, even if they still affirm that ‘it is bad to do evil things’.

            Likewise: if those people were against homosexuality, it was *because* they thought it was sexually immoral. Whereas if homosexuality is *not* sexually immoral, then those verses would not apply to it.

            “Are you going to argue that murder is only wrong when it’s associated with the worship of false gods?!”

            Of course not, but I’d think it odd if the only times when murder was condemned was in the worship of false gods. Which obviously isn’t the case for murder (and the others) – the ten commandments themselves include ‘do not kill’. Whereas every instance where homosexuality was mentioned in the Bible, it was in very specific circumstances.

            If we were to judge heterosexuality in the same way, then given the number of times Jesus and so on speak out against various forms of heterosexuality (rape, incest, looking at a woman with lust, adultery), it would be logical to conclude that heterosexuality is a sin. Yet we don’t do that, so it’s a double standard.

            Put it this way: say there was an additional story in the Bible in which rape happens, and is condemned. If it were a man assaulting a woman, do you think people would be holding that up as proof that heterosexuality is wrong? What about if it were a man assaulting another man – do you think that people would neglect to mention it as a supporting factor when condemning homosexuality?

            Regardless of one’s views and conclusions, there’s a very clear double standard there. Look at the story of Sodom vs the similar story in Judges 19 – why is the first instance of attempted homosexual gang rape frequently used as a condemnation of homosexuality, when the far more heinous latter instance of successful heterosexual gang rape never used as a condemnation of heterosexuality?

          • Nunya Beeswax

            Which logical fallacy? I don’t see it, but maybe if you name the specific fallacy you’re seeing I can respond.

            Heterosexual behavior is not condemned in toto in the OT. Homosexual behavior is. You are interpreting the prohibitions in Leviticus and the references in the NT in ways no Jew or Christian ever did until about 50 years ago.

            Scripture is not a magical document that dropped out of the sky this morning on your doorstep. If Jesus promised that his Church would be guided by the Holy Ghost, do you believe him? Or do you believe that the Spirit would allow Christ’s Church to fall away from the truth on such an important matter for nearly 2000 years?

            Your hermeneutic is pretty clearly constructed so as to permit you to justify a practice which is otherwise unjustifiable. I can’t see how it can work except in some kind of hermetic isolation removed from the entire history of Christian thinking and practice prior to 1960. Thin-ice is correct, in my opinion; you deeply object to the plain sense of Scripture on this matter, but rather than follow that objection to its logical conclusion and either 1) interrogate it in the light of revelation or 2) admit that you don’t really want to do what it says you should, you manufacture an uncertainty to inject into your interpretation which lets you off the hook. I don’t think that works.

          • anakinmcfly

            I don’t know what it’s called, but it’s basically that: if Group X is condemned for being Y, and group X includes A, B and C, if in future C is shown to not be Y, then it would by definition no longer be part of X and thus no longer condemned.

            These aren’t my interpretations, and are based on far more than 50 years of Christian thinking – particularly the references in the NT, in which only more modern translations rendered as ‘homosexuality’. (e.g. especially the words ‘arsenokoitai’ and ‘malakoi’, which in older translations were listed as ‘male prostitutes’, ‘abusers of themselves with mankind’, ‘spiritually weak’, and so on; it is only newer translations that listed them as ‘homosexuals’ or ‘practicing/offending homosexuals’.)

            “If Jesus promised that his Church would be guided by the Holy Ghost, do you believe him?”

            I do. Which is a large reason I believe what I do. Our understandings of God and the Bible were to be guided and refined by the Holy Ghost, as has been done through the ages as we’ve come to understand that slavery is bad and women are people too, despite what earlier people thought based on their interpretations of the Bible. We’ve been constantly moving in the direction of greater compassion and humanity.

            “or 2) admit that you don’t really want to do what it says you should, you manufacture an uncertainty to inject into your interpretation which lets you off the hook”

            I’m not sure what hook you refer to here; I’m currently a 25 year old celibate virgin who has never been in any relationship or done so much as hold someone’s hand in a non-platonic manner.

            For some added context, I’m gay and trans (assigned female at birth, male gender identity since childhood, currently living as male, always been attracted to men), and nobody seems to agree on who I’m allowed to have romantic/sexual relationships with, even within conservative Christian circles. Some (like Pat Robertson) hold the medically-supported view that transsexualism is a medical condition and that I should thus be subject to the same ethical standards as any other man, regardless of my anatomy, and only have relations with a woman. Others disbelieve in trans identities and consider me to be a woman, due to my anatomy, who should thus only have relations with a man (which works fine with me). So when people speak of me trying to get off the hook, I’m never sure which hook they’re referring to. Meanwhile, there’s no Biblical justification whatsoever to support the view that I’m not morally allowed to have a romantic/sexual relationship with *anybody*.

            A while ago I realised that regardless of who I fall in love with, someone is going to find it wrong. So instead I’d rather just go with what comes naturally to me in terms of attraction, pursuing love rather than lust, and what my conscience is clear about. I made my peace with God many years ago. I continue to seek to improve myself and to live in a way that pleases Him. And I think that’s all we’re called to do, as Christians.

    • anakinmcfly

      That isn’t even what the Leviticus verse says, though, and the connotations differ between the translations. The original text referred to a very specific form of homosexual sex, i,e. male shrine prostitution in worship of pagan gods.

  • QueerActivist

    I am intolerant and close-minded against homophobia, as should anyone who says she or he is a progressive.

    • Zackary TH

      What more do you want?! If some of those ADX girls absolutely believe that homosexuality is not their god’s design, you can’t FORCE them to believe otherwise. Even a Berkeley education cannot force you to believe anything.

      I am gay. And yet I appreciate the action that those girls as a chapter and individually (like Katie) have taken. That must have been a very hard step for them. But unlike other Christians who use phrases like “I disagree with your lifestyle, but I still love you and we all have the right to say what we believe…” and thus denying us gays basic civil rights (by diminishing our argument to a mere sharing of opinions), those ADX girls have shown progressivity through their actions. That is, they’ve shown that they can hold to their beliefs while engaging with and supporting others who hold opinions different from their own, even if it meant being shut down as a chapter. They held to their beliefs, and yet they still managed to actively uphold the dignity and rights of their fellow students/sisters.

      This ADX chapter is progressive. The progressivism you are hoping to force upon others exceeds the realm of tolerance/intolerance. Tolerance, not acceptance, is the ideal for which I, as a gay man, am striving. Instead, you, QueerActivist, want to force others to acceptance. But if we as individuals “accepted” all the ideas in the world, we’d literally be crazy.

  • Justin Vu

    Hmm, how interesting. The turning point sounds like the suspension-bridge effect. And interesting conflict of ideas. A disassociation between core beliefs and feelings of how things really are. I wonder if it’s a thing where you choose which one matters more to you, or you trying to reconcile both ideas.

  • ToThePoint

    Hmmmm, that turning point. Reminds me of the suspension-bridge effect.

  • Andy B

    Just as a rule of thumb, the Bible is undoubtedly the most heavily studied, extensively written about and analyzed book in human history and by multiple orders of magnitude. If you have a question you can bet it’s already been answered. Now, that doesn’t mean that anyone has to accept those answers. However, it would seem reasonable to question whatever passage you do in light of available explanations (a simple google search will bring up thousands+ of responses) or even in light of the knowledge that one must exist.

    • seanwardwell

      Andy, I have a question about particle physics. Can I find the answer to that in the bible? Also, I have some questions about evolution, geology, anthropology, nuclear engineering and neurology. What chapter/verse would you suggest? I’d Google it, but my other Firefox tab is all the way over there.

    • Thin-ice

      It also means that anyone can find a verse in the bible to support virtually any position on any subject. The only thing in the bible I have any respect for is where it re-states the golden rule. But even then, plenty of verses (esp. in the OT) contradict even that.

      • Nunya Beeswax

        Of course you can find a verse; that’s the prooftexting game. But it’s not about isolated verses divorced from their context. It’s about the entire skopos of Scripture, interpreted through the consensus of the Fathers and Councils.

    • JPC

      Yes, the Bible’s been studied extensively- both its origins (as I understand it, rather convoluted) and its content. I’ve found that the content is variously taken as literal, metaphorical, or downplayed to the point that it’s never willingly mentioned depending on the chapter and verse in question. In many cases the same chapter and verse is taken all 3 ways by a variety of people- leaving me with the distinct impression that much of the explanation is creative repositioning, or “spin” to make a text created in another time and culture somehow seem more palatable and even relevant.

      I do not consider such interpretations “knowledge” per se, but given that they were created long after the original writings, more along the lines of speculation. As such I don’t find the Bible useful at all, as a guide to live a healthy, constructive, loving or even spiritual life.

      This sentiment is not shared by many, I’m sure, and here’s where I feel it becomes relevant to this article. Many or most of the strictures in the Bible, such as all of the rather horrid Leviticus, were potentially ridiculous, arbitrary and superstitious even at the time they were written- and frankly have no place whatsoever in today’s society. Yet they are interpreted as inviolate and followed, with modification, justification and defensiveness by many Christians the world over with very unfortunate results.

      Atheists in most cases take the view that to change the understanding of Christians of all of the thousands of sects and update this Biblical nonsense is impossible (think of the intractability of Young Earth Creationists, for instance) therefore, better from a humanist view to point out the lack of any supporting evidence and tear off the bandage all at once, as it were.

      It’s unfortunate that these two young women were treated so poorly- yet this treatment, and worse, happens every day, all over the world at the hands of religious doctrine. Time to leave it behind.

  • rlauriston

    I find it bizarre that UC Berkeley was funding and providing administrative support to a religious organization. Is UCB continuing to fund other religious organizations? Seems like a good follow-up story.

  • Mike

    Leviticus 19:19

    “‘Do not wear clothing woven of two kinds of material.”

  • cal_guy

    Nice formatting on the article Daily Cal! If you join a christian group expect to be held to their religion’s backwards ways. I have no sympathy for these girls. As victims of religiously motivated hate, they really should try to open their eyes to reality. God is not a nice guy: pro-misogyny, pro-slavery, pro-genocide, and pro-homophobia (although surprisingly socialist). “We’re supposed to be one of the most welcoming and most helpful and most loving faiths, and when there are atheists that seem to be more loving than most Christians, there’s something wrong with that.” This quote is just so absurd if you look at the history of Christianity, it’s current actions, or even just the scripture. Maybe you reconsider speaking down to nonreligious folk.

  • Gerald Leung

    “All Christians (people who accept Christ) are welcome.”

    “… except Christians who [blank].”

    Regardless of whatever else you claim Christianity to be:
    1) those 2 statements contradict each other (the second is precisely: “some animals are more equal than others”).
    2) and because of the National Board’s need to have their cake and eat it too, they’ve violated their own rules while leaving the girls to pay the price.

    Even if Christianity equals (whatever you claim it to be), nothing changes the fact that their parent organization set rules and standards their own higher-ups decided they can’t or won’t follow.

    I’m an atheist. I don’t particularly like religion and never have. But there are traits of the philosophy that has developed around historical Christian thinkers, and been developed by them, that are actually admirable from a humanist standpoint.

    And what I got from reading this story is that, it wasn’t Foo and Chaparro who were wrong. It wasn’t the Berkeley chapter who was wrong. The rules weren’t even wrong: 1) “Accept all Christians”, 2) “Delinquency must be determined by the house vote”. So the parent org was wrong. They didn’t want to actually follow rule 1 even though they wanted to keep lying to themselves that they do.

    In fact, the Berkeley sorority members probably dealt with the perceived conflict better than anyone–they accepted their sorority sisters and stood by them. Honestly, I think they should call out their National Board, because declaring the house inactive was essentially a retributive punishment for not voting the way they would have wanted. The implication is that your house vote never mattered anyway because you were all punished if the outcome wasn’t what made life convenient for the upstairs folks.

    • Nunya Beeswax

      Gerald, “accept all Christians” seems aimed more at not tying the sorority to any one communion or denomination. I struggle to see how that can be interpreted as “Turn a blind eye to unrepentant sin.” If Chaparro & Foo had been habitual shoplifters instead of lovers–and devout Christians despite their behavior–would you argue that the sorority has a duty to accept them as members in good standing?

      • Gerald Leung

        Well I admit I’m biased against the religion, and the philosophy surrounding it, in few but critical aspects.

        But I’d argue if we were to ask: “What would Jesus do?”, and consider whether the National Board’s actions reflected such choices, we’d be asking, would Jesus:

        – not abide by his own rules?
        – cast out followers for their sins?
        – manipulate his followers to turn on each other?

        If he wouldn’t, then perhaps the National Board is the one who hasn’t been very Christian. (If he would, well… I know my word as a critic of Christianity may not hold much esteem, but maybe one ought to seriously reconsider just how loving and benevolent such a body of values can be, or perhaps how loving and benevolent people adhering to such values can be.)

        I know, they keep engaging in this “sin”. The only objection I can make is on the basis of homosexuality even being considered a sin in the first place (because theft harms third parties whereas I don’t believe homosexuality does, at least not here, and that is even an act of loving), and I concede that obviously won’t really persuade anyone who seriously follows and believes everything the Bible says.

        I can’t say what the sorority itself had a *duty* to do, but I assumed if there’s an obligation to do something, there’s really no need for a vote.

        • QueerActivist

          Gerald, Christianity and their Bible are full of contradictions. How can Jesus and his followers preach love if they have a homophobic thing like Leviticus 20:13 that compels Christians to treat queer people with hate and intolerance?

          • Kylie Foo

            I personally think it’s because many Christians still don’t understand that every message has a context and an intended audience. We read everything else in context (historical, cultural, etc.) – so why not the Bible? Idk, it always seemed obvious to me, but then I’m a Rhetoric major who was almost an English major.

          • QueerActivist

            You say it’s obvious to you, but it’s obviously not so obvious. MANY Christians interpret Leviticus 20:13 as letting them treat queer people with intolerance. Why would a loving God create a book that could be misinterpreted to inflict inequality and discrimination against queer people?

          • Nunya Beeswax

            I would guess that it’s because He wants sex to occur only in the context of a lifelong marriage which is open to procreation.

          • Pluto Animus

            Excellent question.

            And the Christians reply:

            -Crickets-

          • Nunya Beeswax

            Uh, hello? My reply right below yours, posted 10 hours before yours, Richard Dawkins.

          • Nunya Beeswax

            Kylie, of course it’s read in context. What do you think a bunch of first-century Judeans would think was sexually immoral?

            I think it’s most likely that their conception of sexual immorality was heavily influenced by the Torah.

          • Gerald Leung

            I think a bunch of first-century Judeans would synonymize homosexuality with rape, which seems to be the way Christians and most religions with conservative traits have tried to present it to the rest of the world until the late ’90s.

          • Gerald Leung

            QA: I started responding to this but it turned into a reply to Nunya.

        • Nunya Beeswax

          Jesus practiced acts of radical forgiveness, but they can’t be separated from his radical judgments. He refuses to allow the woman taken in adultery to be stoned, and forgives her sins, but charges her not to continue in them.

          It’s true that theft harms third parties and gay sex doesn’t, at least not in the way Western jurisprudence construes “harm”. But we’re not talking about crime, but sin, and whether third parties are harmed is irrelevant. You may think that’s silly, and that’s your prerogative, but the differentiation you’re making is meaningless in this context.

          If the sorority broke its own bylaws, there are legal remedies that can be pursued. Presumably Chaparro & Foo are aware of this.

  • Chris Fuga

    First: “norms of moral expectation”
    Considering that norms are something that is “typical or standard” it would appear that in this case this view of homosexuality is not following the norm.

    Second: Why is a shift in scriptural interpretation only a problem in this case? There were plenty of scriptural arguments made in support of slavery
    along the same lines hundreds of years ago.
    “This has been the established way of doing things for thousands of years”
    “This is listed in Scripture, it’s the way God wants it”
    Abolitionist views also had no precedent in “the Fathers, the Scholastics, the Reformers” of that time.
    Until they did

    I’m just trying to point out that this would not be the first time there has been a shift in Christian values. Paradigm shifts in philosophical and religious teachings have always been a part of history.

    • Nunya Beeswax

      As I said, “norms of moral expectation established by the Christian church in its infancy”–meaning that there is a through line of Christian morality that we cannot change on our own authority.

      I don’t think there’s anything in the Christian religion that prohibits slavery tout court. It can be argued, however, that the practice of slavery in the modern era has been so cruel and abhorrent that it is incompatible with Christian ideals of kindness and compassion–and I would agree. St Patrick & St Gregory of Nyssa, both of whom were pre-500 AD, favored ending slavery, btw, and from the earliest times it was considered a good work for Christian slave owners to free their slaves; so in fact there are precedents, though up to the 19th century abolitionism was certainly a minority view.

      Change has certainly been part of the Christian faith over the centuries. But up until a certain point, it was the sort of change that occurs when an acorn becomes an oak sapling. The changes contemplated by neo-Christians are more akin to the transformation of a dog into a cat.

  • garthbartin

    “There are atheists that seem to be more loving than most Christians”

    That’s pretty insulting and bigoted….if you’re going to go support equality and speak out against prejudice it shouldn’t end at your own marginalized condition.

  • Nunya Beeswax

    This issue is the result, or perhaps the manifestation, of the conflict between Christianity and neo-Christianity. Alpha Delta Chi is behaving according to norms of moral expectation established by the Christian Church in its infancy, and indeed even before that–Christian sexual morality is derived from that of 1st-century Judaism.

    In contrast, neo-Christianity is bending over backwards to read Scriptural prohibitions against same-sex sexual behavior in a way which denies their obvious grammatical construction, and ignores the reception history of the texts in an attempt to establish a justification for homosexual acts. That their interpretations have no precedent in the Fathers, the Scholastics, the Reformers or even the 19th-century divines should tell us something. No rapprochement is possible between traditional Christianity and the views of those who claim that sins are not really sins, regardless of whether those sins are relating to illicit sex, wrath, pride, etc.

    It seems to me that Chaparro & Foo have done the right thing by dissociating themselves from an organization which does not fit with their beliefs, rather than attempting to force it to accommodate their wishes. There’s certainly nothing stopping them from establishing an alternate Christian sorority more open to their views.

  • QueerActivist

    Why are there religious bigots in Berkeley? They should take their Bible-thumping FAR from this progressive university.

    Anyone who pledges or joins Alpha Delta Chi or is a member of Alpha Delta Chi is a homophobe for tolerating the national board’s homophobia.

    They preach love but tolerate hate, bigotry, and homophobia.

    • Nunya Beeswax

      Progressive? Do you even live here?

      • QueerActivist

        All progressives should be intolerant of homophobia. Are you a progressive?

    • Katie Engelby

      Alpha Delta Chi is a place where girls of multiple denominations can come together united by their desire to spread God’s love and to learn from the differences that try and divide us. I honestly don’t know where I’d be if I didn’t have the sisters I had from this sorority. They are some of the most caring and loving individuals I’ve ever met, Kylie and Sophia obviously included.
      I wanted to say that just because there are many girls that believe homosexuality is a sin, there are almost just as many that believe it is not a sin. And for them to believe that homosexuality is a sin does not make them homophobes. They, by definition, do not have an irrational fear of anyone that has a sexual orientation that isn’t heterosexual. I stress again that these sisters [both past and present] are some of the greatest people I’ve ever met with some of the biggest hearts. They are loving and caring and inspiring, they are always there to share in a laugh or to offer a shoulder to cry on in the difficult times, they have such an enormous capacity to love. And for me and for others to judge them as bigoted is technically bigoted too, since it is being intolerant of others’ beliefs. I know that, when I was in the chapter, we were split on this issue. But we kept the sisterhood, we even risked the house [being dechartered would have kicked us out], to keep our sisters. That people who did believe homosexuality is a sin as well as those who believe it is not a sin came together and stood by Kylie and Sophia.
      The actions that a few others have taken in this sorority should not warrant a generalization for every member of the sorority. And that doesn’t mean that sisters in the sorority are tolerating hate, bigotry, and homophobia. While I was in the sorority, I was working to change what happened. And I know that there are other girls in the sorority that are working to change what happened too.

      • JJMMC

        “Homophobia” does not literally mean irrational fear of homosexuals or homosexual behavior. Anyone who believes homosexuality is a sin (by definition) possesses an aversion to homosexuality and is therefore (by definition) homophobic. To claim ‘bigotry’ against historically persecuted minority groups is any way morally (if not denotatively) equivalent to an intolerance of oppressors is patently absurd. One can “technically” be bigoted towards perpetrators of genocide. Please be intellectually honest and don’t sidetrack the conversation with useless discussions of semantics.

        Any members who did not actively resist the efforts of the national chapter were complicit this backwards act of discrimination and should be ashamed of themselves. Period.

        • Katie Engelby

          [sorry, this is kind of a long reply]
          Homophobia is obviously meaning different things for different people, and it seems like none of us are truly agreeing on a definition. To have a belief that it is a sin by your own moral and religious standards does not make you homophobic. To have a belief that it is not a sin by your moral and religious standards does not mean you aren’t Christian/Christian enough, which has unfortunately been a point brought up. This is also is in no way like genocide and I would appreciate if you did not make such extreme claims.

          Right now everyone is standing their ground and being unmoving. Both those that believe it is a sin and those that believe it is not a sin. It is leading to a lot of tension and honestly, a lot of hurt. The comment that got deleted that I had replied to said that the sorority preached love, but tolerated hate, bigotry, and homophobia, and my response was geared as such.

          Kylie and Sophia are some of the greatest people I’ve ever met and I had stayed in the sorority until Spring 2013 to try and fix things within the chapter, mainly focusing on the community and to get something passed that would allow same-sex relationships and homosexual members. This was going against quite a number of different people’s beliefs, and it’s a very long, hard, and difficult road to try and find something that everyone can agree upon. And these actions and my heart for this issue have not changed at all, only my association with the sorority. But by your and others’ definition, I was homophobic and hypocritical no matter what I did, no matter what I said. And you could say that without knowing anything about me and my beliefs, which is not okay in the slightest.

          This has been a very complicated issue since day one and there’s no ‘how-to’ guide that tells us how to proceed after such a situation occurs. Just because change isn’t happening as fast as many want it to does not mean that change isn’t happening. I mean, how do you go about any of this? A few members on National Board kick 2 sisters out that you keep in despite risking losing your charter. Then they leave and National Board reactivates you and you have to continue on, but then the girls start picketing and there’s limited communication on all fronts. This sorority has brought so many girls together who in turn have touched each other’s lives. I would not be where I am today without the sisters I have from this sorority. This was a place where I could open myself up and share my story and learn from others’ and get to watch myself and others grow.

          I don’t want someone who has been/is in the same situations as I have been to be denied the same community I was lucky enough to have. And I don’t want people to continue to make generalizations about every member of the sorority based solely on the actions of a few. I am not homophobic. I am not hypocritical. I am doing exactly what I did while I was in ADX as I am out of ADX. I didn’t suddenly stop being homophobic and hypocritical the moment I deactivated. And I obviously can’t speak for everyone else, but I know by their actions that they are unconditionally loving and have always been there for me, as they are for their fellow sisters, past and present.

          Just because there weren’t as many people speaking up as would have been hoped for doesn’t mean people didn’t have thoughts to share on the topic. This has hurt everyone involved in many different ways: obviously not in the same way Kylie and Sophia were hurt. But hurt should not be compared to others’. This article is mainly about Kylie and Sophia, who have been through so much that I really wish they never had to. Their story is powerful and empowering. They are courageous and strong and inspirations. But they’re not the only stories affected by this situation. And many have had their stories negatively impacted by the issue. And in that hurt, it’s difficult to process everything, let alone be demanded to fix everything right away. I did the best I could, and so did everyone else. But time was needed to heal up.

          • Lindsey

            Actually, it IS important to talk about the difference in hurt here. As members of a marginalized group, Kylie and Sophia will be hurt on a daily basis for their entire lives – systematically and personally – at no fault of their own, just for existing.

            From what I can gather, it seems like your sorority sisters were hurt because someone pointed out (gasp!) that they were allowing bad things to happen to good people and/or continuing to identify with a group which systematically oppresses their sisters. We have consequences for our actions and inaction, and sometimes those consequences consist of guilt/pain/hurt from not doing everything we could. It’s part of growing and swallowing your pride, learn from it.

            Also, there is a “how to” guide. It’s called looking beyond yourself and treating people as you’d like to be treated.

          • Katie Engelby

            Each and every person involved in this has been hurt and will hurt every day. It’s a different hurt, but it doesn’t mean that their hurt is more valid than mine or anyone else in the chapter. I love Kylie and Sophia so much, and I also love the girls in the chapter. They’ve all been there for me when I needed them and really helped me grow.

            This article is about Kylie and Sophia and their story. Unless it ever got published, you won’t ever know how others were affected by this. This is in no way meant to understate the pain that Kylie and Sophia had to endure. I was there. I reached out. I remember seeing the hurt. But everyone was hurting. A community started isolating itself since it didn’t know how to react to the news or what steps to take or what right words to say.

            Please don’t make assumptions about my sisters. You don’t know how they were affected or the reasons behind why they were affected. We were informed after the fact that the two members were kicked out and we voted to keep them in. And there’s been a constant push to put something in the Constitution that clarifies ADX’s position so this won’t ever happen to anyone else in the sorority. I left for personal reason, but I stayed to try and change what was happening. That doesn’t mean I was okay with how Kylie and Sophia were treated. In fact, the opposite. I stayed because I wasn’t okay with how they were treated and I wanted to change it while keeping around a place where I got to meet some of the greatest people ever.

            This is a much more complicated issue than can truly be expressed. No one was completely right in their actions throughout this ordeal. Everyone was in a state of hurting and isolated themselves and pushed each other away to try and heal. I know I’ve been doing as much as I can, and I know girls in the chapter are doing the same. What’s being asked from a number of them is to compromise their belief or step out of the chapter if it is to make ADX tolerant of homosexuality. It is their own belief, that they have come to from their own experiences and prayer. But those that feel it is not a sin would be asked to compromise their belief if ADX were to say that homosexuality is a sin, again those people coming to that conclusion by their experiences and by prayer. There is no ‘how to’ guide on creating a written amendment to have in the sorority’s Constitution that pleases both sides without one side having to compromise their beliefs. I personally believe it is not a sin, which I know that a number of my sisters disagree with. But ADX can/has been a place where we can learn why we disagree on this and other issues. I’m trying to understand more of where those sisters are coming from, and I’m trying to have them understand me. This issue shouldn’t immediately turn people against each other; it shouldn’t suddenly create an us versus them mentality. And from what I remember and what I saw, that was starting to happen in the chapter – that people are sharing in their different beliefs and trying to work through them and to find a way to prevent a situation like this from ever happening again.

      • QueerActivist

        You are not homophobic because you fought against the national
        chapter’s homophobia. Anyone in your sorority who agreed with the
        national chapter’s homophobic treatment of Kylie and Sophia, two of the
        bravest people at Berkeley, tolerate homophobia and should be ashamed of themselves.

    • Zackary TH

      Just judging from this article, while I agree there were homophobic instances (from the national sorority it seems), those ADX members seem capable of more progressivity than you are. Even the conservatives of ADX were willing to set aside their beliefs and they practically asked to lose their sorority (something dear to them) in order to keep two sisters that they loved. I’m not a Christian, but that sounds pretty Christian and sacrificially loving to me.

      And while I respect your opinion, it appears that you, on the other hand, go about life disrespecting beliefs different from your own. I’m just saying, do yourself a big favor and stop associating with Berkeley’s open-minded progressivism and jump straight to calling yourself intolerant and close-minded.

  • Kylie Foo

    Kate and Ben – I do really apologize. I didn’t mean to ostracize nor disrespect! My point was that if Christians continually self-profess a foundational goal of love (that everything they strive to do is guided by love), then Christians should also be doing more to demonstrate that than folks from other faith systems who don’t emphasize the principle of love as strongly. Simply put, that if we talk the talk, then we have to do the corresponding walk!

    I definitely did not mean that all is awry when a non-Christian appears more loving than someone who identifies as Christian. My sincere apologies again, and I hope my words can be taken charitably.

    • QueerActivist

      Kylie, I am sorry about how your homophobic sorority treated you with hate rather than with compassion. You are better off being away from those hateful homophobes.

      I am proud that you are OUT and PROUD and unwilling to let homophobes ruin your life. Continue to show everyone that anyone who joins Alpha Delta Chi will be complicit in homophobia and hate.

      The Southern Poverty Law Center should include Alpha Delta Chi in its list of hate groups.

      • quark

        not everyone in ADX shares those same homophobic views. And nice job calling our sacred text “fictional,” The hate needs to stop on both sides.

    • lamblove

      As Christians we are taught to love everyone, but a point that is being misunderstood is that the girls were not following membership requirements of the organization. They were not kicked out because anyone hated them, it was because they were not following the pledge in which every member takes. Any member of the sorority who breaks any of the membership requirements would be put on delinquent status. It’s just the way it is. It’s not that anyone loves them less within the body, its just what happens. In fact, I know a lot of the girls in ADX have stood behind them even more than ever and reached out in love to them.

      • adxalum12

        There is nothing in the memsbership requirements or national constituation that says members may not be homosexuals or engage in homosexual relationships. However, engaging in homosexual premarital sex would be a different issue because sex before marriage is addressed in the national constitution and membership requirements.

      • Armanatar

        “Apparently, they were in violation of an ADX membership requirement stating that all sisters must embody a ‘willingness to avoid situations which would cause one’s brother or sister to stumble.'”

        This requirement is far from a clear-cut “no gays/no homosexual relationships” rule. The point of contention is whether being in a lesbian relationship is “causing [someone] to stumble.” If you believe homosexuality is a sin, then it would seem to be clearly yes. If you see nothing wrong with two women having a romantic relationship, then it’s straightforwardly no. Thus, to determine whether there was a violation of the charter, one must determine which position is the correct one. When ADX sided against the couple, people called bulls**t, and here we are.

        tl;dr: They only broke the pledge if you define homosexuality as a sin independent of the charter, and if you do, you’re bad and you should feel bad.

        • lamblove

          homosexuality is a sin, its clear in the Bible that relations are meant to be between a man and a woman (as mentioned in the article). As well, ADX constitution states that the the final word is The Bible. It doesn’t mean I/we hate or don’t love those who struggle with this sin.

          For example, if a girl (especially one in leadership) were to struggle with something like alcohol the same thing would happen. There is a membership requirement that states “willingness to abstain from alcohol in situations where the Christian witness would be adversely affected.” If that girl was getting drunk all the time (especially if she’s underage), and after being lovingly talked to was refusing to seek support in it, then she would also be put on delinquent status. Not because she is not loved, but because of the way she is acting in response to care and support.

          • anakinmcfly

            “homosexuality is a sin, its clear in the Bible that relations are meant to be between a man and a woman”

            It’s not. The Bible wasn’t written in English, and the words that got translated as ‘homosexuality’ actually referred to other things like male soldiers raping their defeated enemies, pedophilia, and pagan sex rituals (between men who were otherwise straight).

    • Lee

      Kylie, thank you for clarifying. As a Christian I don’t expect you to have a deep understanding of the atheist community but, as a life long atheist, I do. You may (or may not) be surprised to learn that we, as Atheists, are some of the most tolerant people you will ever meet. I certainly can’t speak for all Atheists but in my experience two common threads that we all share is skepticism and humanism. I belong to a fairly large atheist community and I can tell you without hesitation that we despise homophobia, misogyny, racism and bigotry. If you listened to our strongest proponents such as the late Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Seth Andrews and many others, you’ll find the same common thread. Humanism. (And anti theism that I’m sure won’t interest you) I hope you find a community of people who share your beliefs and recognize the love you have in your relationship is no different that which my wife and I share. (I’m a man) But If that becomes a problem I assure you, if you walk into your local atheist meeting and simply say “I’m a homosexual Christian and I’m not looking to challenge my faith but find friendship amongst those who will accept me just the way I am”, you’ll be amazed at the response. I’m willing to bet you’ll get a much warmer reception than I will walking into most Christian churches as an atheist. In closing, I’d like to apologize for the wall of text, I’m on my phone and that makes formatting a sysiphean task. Also, this is not in response to your comments in the article, you’ve already addressed that. I merely wish to inform you or anyone who reads this that most common misconceptions about Atheists couldn’t be further from the truth.

      • Kylie Foo

        Lee – I appreciate your input, and I can only wish that more theologically-inclined folks see the merits of humanism, in that sense. Even from a Christian perspective (or at least my own) I think the emphasis on people as creation share – at least should share – a lot of its foci with humanism.

        I’ll say that many of the kindest, most influential people in my life have been from other faith backgrounds (including atheists and agnostics) and I am truly sorry that my words here in this article might be taken to condone further discrimination. At the end of the day, there are people of all walks and stripes who subscribe to different faiths, and there are both bigots and truly accepting folks in every tradition.

    • Thin-ice

      ” then Christians should also be doing more to demonstrate that than
      folks from other faith systems who don’t emphasize the principle of love
      as strongly”

      That’s the theory. The actual truth on the ground is that christians behave no differently from anyone else. Your divorce rate, the rate of imprisonment, child abuse, and in almost any metric you care to measure, there is no difference. (And I used to be an evangelical and missionary in Europe, but no longer believe in God – so I’ve seen it from inside and out.) And please don’t characterize your Christian faith as more loving than other faiths: “…than…other faith systems who don’t emphasize the principle of love…” That’s arrogant. How do you know that? My guess is that every religion emphasizes love as much as your brand of evangelical christianity.

      • Kylie Foo

        Thin-ice: I ask that you not take my comments out of context. Both statements had other important words (“if.. then…,” “as strongly”). If we must argue, let us argue on the substance of the matter, not misrepresentations.

        In reality, the truth is that most of the “Christian” population is not more loving – you are right in that, and as this article has shown, I have experienced it first-hand. Though ultimately, only God can judge who is truly “Christian” or not; self-identifying as Christian doesn’t necessarily make one so, in the same way that claiming a skill on your resume does not actually prove the skill. I also have no doubt that other faith traditions emphasize love, but I was also only referring to those who do not emphasize it as strongly. For my own faith, I know that Christ directed the “greatest commandment” for us to be love, and as of now I can only speak from my own perspective. If you are aware of other religious texts who put it so blatantly as being the “greatest” priority, I am happy to learn. And if we should discuss faith traditions, let’s do it based on their founding texts/persons instead of their followers (who might exist only in name but not deed).

        • Nunya Beeswax

          The “first and great commandment” is to love God. Which would seem to include believing things about Him that are true, no?

    • Cranky Humanist

      Thanks, Kylie. It’s a sign of your good character that you apologize so unreservedly (I don’t see the words “if” or “but” anywhere in there!).

      I hope that the feedback you see here helps you realize that you’re carrying around some biases about atheists. In your apology you highlight that you did not mean to cast aspersions on non-Christians, but your off-hand comment specifically mentioned atheists (not, say, Jews or Hindus). The sad fact is that anti-atheist bigotry is not uncommon in religious circles. Indeed you find it directly preached from the pulpit (if you want examples, try searching for “humanism” in the podcast section of iTunes; you’ll find great humanist podcasts but also a set of anti-humanist sermons from various churches).

      I hope that you will resist this anti-atheist bigotry where you find it, whether overt (like the sermons I mentioned) or implicit (as in your off-hand comment).

      And yes, we humanists have a responsibility to resist overt and implicit anti-theist bigotry amongst atheists as well (I acknowledge it is very common in our community).

      One tribe: humanity!

    • AnOski

      Yes, Christianity professes kindness as a virtue. But the pervasive misogynistic and otherwise offensive ideologies in the Bible are inescapable; anyone who takes a document like that to heart must “interpret” substantial parts of the document away.

      The Bible very clearly states that homosexuality is a sin. It also states that a number of other mundane things constitute sin: namely, eating ham, wearing blended fabrics, tattoos, remarriage/divorce, women speaking in churches, etc., etc..

      Many followers choose to adhere to particular religious rules and not others. You, Kylie, belong to a minority in our society. You happen to be someone who breaks one of these rules. While many Christians would uncaringly eat bacon despite its place in the Bible, they cannot see past your homosexuality.

      I find that sad, but unsurprising, given what is clearly written in the scripture. I find it sad because my conception of kindness does not regard homosexual people as any different from heterosexual people or other LGBT/others. You claim that Christianity champions kindness. In general, it does. But it also clearly states that homosexuality is to be frowned upon.

      In light of that, your statement in the article and your response here make no sense whatsoever. Why would you assume that people without prejudice, as Lee emphasizes below, should be less kind than the average Christian?

      Because some document tells Christians to generally be kind, but intolerant of many things? An intelligent person does not need the promise of heaven to see the merit of good deeds or kindness.

  • Kate K.

    As part of the queer community, I think that the community and media support that they are getting is fantastic. No one should be ostracized for who they are, just because it sways from the perceived norm. Kuddos to both of them and I wish them the best of luck in finding the justice they deserve!

    I would like to comment on the closing quote, however. As an atheist, I find the quote ostracizing within itself and made me really disappointed that such an amazing article ended on a discriminating note. I understand that atheism might be seen negatively in the eyes of other religions, but it is terribly inappropriate to generalize an entire belief system, just as it is wrong to generalize all Christians as ADX has done.

    I do not want to detract from the purpose of the article, because I truly do believe that Kylie and Sophia’s message is powerful. The quote is a very small blemish in a wonderful article, but I hope that it can be taken as seriously as the rest of the message.

    • Ben Smith

      It is strangely phrased. I think they are really trying to say that
      Christians should be the most loving people in the world, but it’s
      common in Christian circles to throw shade at atheists in the process of
      trying to reinforce that.

      • C.

        I don’t think Kylie is trying to “throw shade at atheists” to make Christians look better. It’s not that Christians think atheists aren’t good people or that they are incapable of being good – for there are plenty of amazing and loving students on this campus who are not Christian – but it’s that we are specifically called by the Bible to love unconditionally and sacrificially. I think she just wanted to emphasize how much this situation clashes with the Christianity’s message of grace and love by juxtaposing it with atheism where these beliefs are not explicitly written out as guidelines to live by.

    • Guest

      “We Christians should all stick together and love each other because, whether we’re gay or straight, men or women, Catholic or protestant, at least we love Jesus and we’re not like those godless heathens over there.”

      • Guest

        Well paraphrased. The apologetics also commenting on this are playing down an extraordinarily offensive and elitist statement.