The Student News Site of Chatham University


The Student News Site of Chatham University


The Student News Site of Chatham University


New discussion series addresses the LGBT community and the Bible

Is homosexuality a choice? Can you be a lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender person, open about that aspect of your identity, and be a Christian? Can you love or befriend someone who is LGBT while holding true to your beliefs? If you find any of these questions interesting and you have the next two Mondays free it might be worthwhile to attend a new discussion series Chatham University is offering on the relationship between the Christian community and the LGBT community.

Sponsored by Student Affairs and co-lead by Wil Forest of East Liberty Presbyterian Church and Reverend Shanea Leonard of the JUDAH Fellowship Christian Church, this discussion series came out of a desire for students to feel more comfortable with their spirituality.

Monday September 8, a number Chatham students gathered in the PCW room to begin a series of discussions on faith, sexual orientation, gender identity, and some of their own personal experiences.

For its kickoff, after a few ice breakers, the first topic of discussion was ‘If a person could reconcile being LGBT and being a Christian.’

“I thought those two hats that I wore couldn’t be worn at the same time,” Forest admitted while sharing his spiritual journey with the group. Leonard recounted similar struggles from adolescence well into young adulthood.

Although many of those in attendance identified themselves as being Christians, individuals that are not devout were there–Maggie McGovney, the current president of Chatham’s Queer-Straight Alliance, for one.

“As a non-religious person, I attended because I wanted to learn more about why people stick with their religious after coming to terms with their sexuality,” McGovney said. “As for the discussion, I was surprised by some of the incredibly intolerant things I heard from students asking questions of the pastors who visited to talk with us, though I suppose this demonstrates the need to have them come back for a second night to discuss LGBTQ issues in the bible.”

Even in a world with openly gay athletes and ‘It Gets Better’ videos, being openly LGBT and being a Christian are complicated things for some to reconcile. When asked if the Bible is an anti-gay text Forest said, “Someone once said that the Bible is God’s love letter to people. I like this characterization and find much truth it. If understood in context and in its entirety the Bible is very much about love not about being hateful or exclusionary.”

Both Forest and Leonard hope to help people who choose to attend the discussion series get a better understanding about the bible and homosexuality, and that those individuals who may be struggling with their faith and sexuality leave feeling empowered.

“First and foremost, God created you and God loves you…no matter what,” said Forest in response to being asked what he would say to a young person struggling to reconcile their faith and sexuality. “God wants you to be the person you were created to be.”


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