EagleVision contacted Biola’s Dean of Students, Danny Paschall, by email to get his take on Friday’s resurfacing of the Biola Queer Underground. The BQU will be holding a panel on identity, sexuality, and gender this Friday at La Mirada City Hall.
EagleVision: What are the administrations feelings regarding the panel on identity, sexuality, and gender being held at La Mirada City Hall?
Paschall: We are thankful to live in a country where there is freedom to express one’s beliefs and convictions. That being said, there are many public events going on around our area that don’t necessarily align with our theological beliefs. We still value treating everyone with dignity and respect.
You have said repeatedly that if a student comes forward and says they are struggling with homosexual desires, they will not be kicked out of school. What is Biola's approach when dealing with students who have embraced their homosexual desires, and identify themselves as part of the LGBTQ community?
That is correct—such students will not be kicked out. As an institution we have communicated clear community/theological values. We are clear on our stance on sexuality. If someone is here and not wanting to live according to our voluntarily agreed upon community standards we will treat them with dignity and respect, and at the same time hold them accountable for any behaviors that violate the standards.
Would Biola encourage a student struggling with homosexual desires to seek ex-gay or reparative therapy?
No, we would not. We never have, nor do we currently endorse, reparative therapy. We connect and meet with many students that struggle, are working through, and are trying to understand their same-sex attraction. If students decide to go to counseling, that is their individual choice and many of them do and they find counseling really helpful.
The BQU has reached out to LGBTQ groups, such as Soulforce, for support. How does Biola plan to respond if these groups come after Biola demanding change?
We have a very clear, gracious, Biblical and respectful stance on this issue, as found in our statement on human sexuality. We believe it is possible to sit across from someone and engage them, love them, knowing you have different values and belief systems. We are hopeful that this could happen with groups like BQU. They have chosen to remain anonymous so at this point we have not had a chance to respond to a person or persons.
Do you believe that Biola will ever be a place where LGBTQ students can be open and feel safe and secure in their identities? If so, how does Biola plan to get there? If not, how does Biola plan to work with a group like the BQU long term?
Our goal as an institution is to live according to what we believe the Bible says about sexuality. I don’t think that will ever change. That said, as mentioned earlier, we believe it is possible to have loving, respectful relationships with others knowing you have different values and belief systems.
In terms of what we see long term with BQU. Our goal is to treat everyone with dignity and respect including the BQU.
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