Dean of Students answers questions about resurface of Underground

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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5 Responses

  1. Joy
    I think the thing that gets to me about this is that he said "we believe it is possible to have loving, respectful relationships with others knowing you have different values and BELIEF SYSTEMS ." As in, he thinks that the BQU is of a different system aka not Christian. The whole point of what they're trying to say is that they ARE Christian, they DO believe in the bible, just a different interpretation. They DO believe that Jesus is the son of God, just not that he condemns the LGBTQ community. They aren't asking for you, Danny, to sit back and have respectful relationships with them as people of a different belief system, they're asking you as brothers and sisters and PEOPLE in Christ, to come together and hold hands and worship the same God that created each of us, even if they're queer and you're straight. You don't get it. God loves them, just as much as He loves you and their relationship with God shouldn't be questioned just because they have a different understanding of the bible than you.
  2. Don
    I truly appreciate the overall tone of love and respect that is voiced by Danny Paschall. Without question, I have heard far worse from many Christian leaders. However, I do agree with Joy that there seems to be a lack of belief that those of us exist who love God with all our hearts and are also gay. While Biola absolutely has the right as an institution to determine its own theological beliefs and standards, it should at least acknowledge that there are many loving, committed Christians, pastors, churches, and even denominations that believe and interpret the scriptures differently in regards to sexual orientation issues and same-sex relationships. We, as the full body of Christ, disagree on a multitude of issues today, from baptism to abortion to artificial insemination. But while we may hold different opinions about specific issues or practices, we all hold true to our love for God and our honest desire to live more like Christ each and every day. We may disagree, but we need to recognize and respect that we are all still part of the Christian family, both gay and straight.
  3. Dr. Shelley Craig
    This is exactly why HeartStrong has existed for more than 15 years!
  4. Felicia
    I find Mr. Paschall's claim that Biola does not endorse, nor ever has endorsed, reparative therapy hard to believe. While as a student, the conversation between Biola and the LGBTQ community was always in the context of being ex-LGBTQ. Torrey Conference 2008 featured an ex-gay speaker Mike Haley from Focus on the Family who got two time slots to share his journey about going through reparative therapy (his job at Focus is to convince others to do likewise) and they invited several non-Biola students who were currently in the middle of reparative therapy to speak on the subject at an After Dark in late 2011. That's much more endorsement than any other side of the LGBTQ conversation has received. I think his comment arises mostly out of wanting to distance Biola from the current controversy surrounding ex-gay ministries, a very wise choice, no doubt.
  5. Stephen Hale
    Yeah, Felicia is correct. Danny flat lied here. BIOLA has brought a number of "cure your gayness" speakers to BIOLA while I was there as a student. I too am thinking of the 2008 Torrey Conference. If in some way this technically does not qualify as an endorsement, then the distinction is only one of semantics, and not of substance. He needs to apologize for lying. Further, the purpose of journalism is to call out leaders for stuff like this.

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