LGBT student activists at one of California’s largest Christian universities are demanding that school officials end what they consider discriminatory behavior against LGBT individuals on campus by removing certain clauses from the student conduct policy.
The demands come in the wake of allegations of discriminatory treatment waged by one employee at the Azusa Pacific University (APU) campus, who filed a lawsuit against the school.
Scores of students rallied behind a homosexual campus cook earlier this week to pressure school officials into rejecting biblical sexual morality and embracing the sin of homosexuality that is condemned in the Bible.
“More than 50 students gathered [Monday] at the vigil to demand justice for [Mahesh] Pradhan, who is suing Azusa Pacific for retaliation, wrongful demotion and, among other things, infliction of emotional distress, and to call for more inclusiveness and acceptance of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning or queer community,” The San Gabriel Valley Tribune reported.
The students submitted a letter to school officials in conjunction with their demand/protest of the school holding to biblical principles.
LGBT students shared personal stories at the demonstration of their alleged bouts with discrimination. The Tribune noted that they also worshipped and delivered APU officials a letter making the following four demands:
- A full investigation and disciplinary actions for those who allegedly harassed Pradhan
- Recognition of the LGBTQ+ student group Haven as an official Azusa Pacific University student club
- The removal of clauses in the student handbook that discriminate against the LGBTQ+ students
- The establishment of campus-wide LGBTQ+ training for faculty, staff and incoming students
APU Spokeswoman Rachel White insisted that the Christian university does not promote or condone a climate of hate or discrimination, while denying all of the allegations.
Not so fast …
The university denied all of the allegations, according to APU spokeswoman Rachel White.
“We value and respect our employees and we do not condone harassment,” White assured, according to the Tribune. “It’s completely against who we are as a university community.”
However, Azusa is adamant that its students strive to live their lives in a way that is honoring to Jesus Christ – not secular politically correct agendas promoting LGBT lifestyles.
“Although students do not have to be Christian to attend APU, all students are expected to comply with ‘lifestyle expectations’ outlined in the student handbook, the Undergraduate Catalog and ‘any additional policies related to living in the APU community,’ according to the school's website,” The Christian Post reported. “The school's Student Standards of Conduct bars students from doing such things as jaywalking and hazing to engaging in overnight stays with members of the opposite sex.
APU officials make it no secret that biblical morality is the standard on campus – not the lifestyles that were promoted for eight years in the White House under the Obama administration.
Consequently, APU is not abandoning its adherence to the infallible teaching the Bible offers when it comes to proper relations between men and women, so it gives no apologies about its policy specifically banning same-sex relationships – regarding both staff and students.
"Students may not engage in a romanticized same-sex relationship," section 9 of the policy reads, according to CP, which then quoted section 11 and gave APU’s take on marriage in the document. “Students may not engage in unmarried sexual behavior. The university only recognizes the marriage between a man and a woman."
White candidly confirmed that ASU continues to hold strong to its convictions on marriage.
"APU adheres to a traditional definition of marriage,” the Tribune pointed out. "We are transparent about our belief. Each student must look at the university's values and decide if APU is the right place for them. It's an individual choice."
A different account
The 52-year-old chef, Pradhan, appeared to draw attention to himself, looking as if he was holding back tars while a rainbow flag swayed in the breeze behind him.
“There have been moments where I used to walk on eggshells just being on campus,” Pradhan claimed. “I told them that I am not gay, but what’s wrong with being gay or being straight? Why do you need to label people?”
Pradhan’s attorney Arthur Kim contends that APU has violated the United States Constitution.
"(APU is) an educational institution that is open to the public that interacts with the public and yet it insists on imposing its own specific religious beliefs on everyone – whether or not they believe it," Kim agued.
Seeking the God of justice, not ‘social justice’
Besides having “God first” emblazed on its walls as its motto, APU’s strong support of God’s Word is also evident in its foundational documents.
"The evangelical community of disciples and scholars who embrace the historic Christian understanding of Scripture, Azusa Pacific University holds that sexuality is a gift from God and basic to human identity as well as a matter of behavioral expression," APU’s identity statement states. "We hold that the full behavioral expression of sexuality is to take place within the context of a marriage covenant between a man and a woman and that individuals remain celibate outside of the bond of marriage. Therefore, we seek to cultivate a community in which sexuality is embraced as God-given and good and where biblical standards of sexual behavior are upheld."
It was pointed out by Shane Vander Hart – a conservative Christian blogger who founded Caffeinated Thoughts – that when students apply to APU, they know full well that LGBT behavior is not embraced on campus – as each student is expected to sign a statement of agreement with the school’s policies in the application process.
“One question on the application asks if they agree to abide by student standards of conduct,” Vander Hart pointed out in his blog, emphasizing that "no one forced those students to attend APU."
The blogger insists that Christian colleges must be permitted to champion their values on campus.
"Christian-based institutions must be allowed to retain their identity or else they cease to be Christian-based," he argued.
However, Vander Hart says, according to the Tribune, that if certain allegations made by Pradhan are true – such as being locked in a freezer, cornered in a restroom, called a derogatory term for homosexual and being hit in the posterior with a wooden paddle by his supervisor – punishment must ensue.
"He does not deserve harassment," Vander Hart insisted. "If this happened, the school should follow its policies regarding such behavior (and they may have already)."
On the other hand, Vander Hart maintained that Pradhan’s demotion from chef should be valid if he truly tried to impose his own values on others – values that contradicted the Bible.
"They have every right to discipline him for that," Vander Hart asserted.