Baptist School Silencing LGBT Students?

By Michael O'Loughlin

Originally published on Advocate.com April 25 2014 6:02 PM ET

Officials at a Baptist university in Ohio have seized copies of a student-run publication that had run articles in support of LGBT students on campus.

According to Generation Progress's Doug Bair and Brian Stewart, administrators at Cedarville University, located near Dayton, prevented students from distributing 400 copies of The Ventriloquist during a regular chapel service. The paper has been printed and given to students on campus regularly since 2010.

An article on the paper's website reports that Wednesday, the school's president and vice president for student life confiscated papers. It suggested that the "move to shut down The Ventriloquist is likely the latest in a series of shifts towards right-wing religious fundamentalism by the new administration."

GenProgress points to several pro-LGBT articles that may have caught the eyes of administrators. Among them is an op-ed from a former Cedarville student, Avery Redic, who reported on his removal from several student leadership positions following his disclosure that he is gay.

Redic writes that administrators told him his sexuality was “spiritual instability” and provided him with notes from a class condemning homosexuality. The next day, he writes, administrators announced that Redic had resigned his student government leadership position, a move he said he hadn't made.

Last year, The New York Times's Mark Oppenheimer wrote about Cedarville University's struggle over its Christian identity amid administrative changes,

"Even by evangelical standards, nearly everyone at Cedarville is theologically conservative," Oppenheimer wrote. "But some conservatives have a greater willingness to hear dissident views. The departures of William Brown, the president, whose resignation is effective June 30, and of Dr. [Carl] Ruby, who left suddenly last month, are widely viewed as strengthening the hands of the most conservative trustees, fearful of a more open Cedarville." Ruby was vice president for student life and was reportedly well-liked by students.

Cedarville, with just over 3,200 students, is ranked by both U.S. News and the Princeton Review.

Follow Michael O'Loughlin on Twitter at @mikeoloughlin.
 

Contributor: 
Michael O'Loughlin