Wheaton alumni rally around gay students

May 4, 2011

Following a recent chapel series at Wheaton College on "Sexuality and
Wholeness," gay alumni and other alumni of the school have formed an
organization that aims to present an alternative view from that of a
chapel speaker who supported celibacy for gays. More than 400 people
signed an open letter to students at the Christian college in suburban
Chicago.

"The recent chapel message on Sex­uality and Wholeness
and surrounding conversations may have left you feeling alienated,
ashamed and afraid," reads the open letter. "Many of us felt trapped and
unable to respond honestly to these messages while we were students."

Matthew
Gore, a spokesman for OneWheaton and a 2004 Wheaton alumnus, said the
group wants gay and lesbian students at the school to know that they
have support among gay alumni. "As it is, most of those students would
be afraid to talk to anybody," he said. "That's just the environment
there."

In an e-mailed response to the letter, Wheaton president
Philip Ryken told students that the school considers gay people members
"of the human family as created in the image of God himself" but remains
committed to its covenant that condemns homosexual behavior.

"Many
have experienced insensitive or callous responses in this community,
for which we repent and seek forgiveness," he wrote, adding that the
school condemns violence and injustice toward gays.

Wheaton spokeswoman LaTonya Taylor said the recent chapel series included a sermon from Wheaton alumnus Wesley Hill, author of Washed and Waiting, who "spoke from the perspective of a Christian who experiences same-sex attraction but has chosen to pursue celibacy." —RNS