Eastern Nazarene College denies club charter to LGBT group

Nazarene Ally, an Oklahoma City based group, works to change denominational policy. Graphic provided.

Quincy, Mass – Eastern Nazarene College, (ENC) has rejected a proposal for a LGBT support group on campus. Senior Athena Horton, created and filed the proposal, which she presented to ENC. ENC’s cabinet representative, Vernon Wesley, responded with a one-page statement declining the group’s proposal to be an official student group.

The group is called “Loving God, Bringing Triumph”, and according to the charter was founded on creating a “safe, non-judgmental, and confidential environment” for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students at ENC. Since there is no LGBT voice at ENC, the group sought to “initiate dialogue that allows for reconciliation to occur” and let LGBT students and allies join in a conversation of “support and non-judgmental” way. Horton presented the proposal to ENC’s Cabinet representative February 12th.

Wesley replied to Horton on February 27th. In Wesley’s one-page statement he said ENC was aware of this as an issue for its student body but said that ENC could not support a student LGBT club out of concerns for the “legal risks” associated with a potential for break of confidence, and that faculty involvement would be inappropriate for a club. He went on to say that students engaging in these types of conversations in a “formally sanctioned [club]” would pose a “risk of being harmful to all those involved.”

This rejection comes less than three months after ENC’s sister school in San Diego, Point Loma Nazarene University (PLNU), rejected a similar student led attempt to have a LGBT focused club called “Bridge Point Loma” on campus. “Bridge Point Loma” was told by PLNU’s Vice-President of Student Development, Caye Smith, “it would be problematic to charter any organization that would be contrary to the positions of the Church of the Nazarene.” According to the Church’s doctrinal book there is “no compatibility between [being gay] and Christianity”.

Nazarene Ally, founded in 2010 in Oklahoma City, has been working towards changing denominational policy and advocating space for LGBT people and allies within the Nazarene Church. Nazarene Ally seeks to provide resources and training to members and local churches about discussing issues facing LGBT Christians and being a straight ally.

Nazarene Ally supports the efforts of “Loving God, Bringing Triumph” and “Bridge Point Loma” in their efforts to gain official status as university clubs.