Sensitivity surrounds statement
Biolan's Equal Ground shares on the impact of the Nashville Statement. | Jessica Goddard/THE CHIMES
'an us-against-them kind of move'
Allison Schuster, Biola alumna and student coordinator of Biolan’s Equal Ground, felt the statement was an attack on her. After processing the statement and realizing that several Biola professors had signed it, professors whom Schuster grew up going to church with and formed friendships with since she was little, the impact changed.
“The hurt of having those people that were so intimate in my life at one point then making a statement that very much felt like an us-against-them kind of move. I don’t know what their intentions were, but to me it felt like it was taking a stand against me personally and against my people,” Schuster said.
Despite feeling such opposition, Schuster sees the hard place the university and President Barry Corey remain in with making a response because of the need to care about students and not betray faculty, staff or donors. The university has not released a public response, but professor of biblical and theological studies David Talley shared with the Chimes how he hopes the statement can be seen as one in love.
“Well, I mean, I think it will [affect LGBT students] but I think it’s still an affirmation of biblical principles. Two of my professors signed it in the poli-sci department, and knowing them personally, I know they have nothing but love for students, regardless of LGBT or not. So, I know by signing it, it wasn’t to in any way attack anybody,” said Eric Nimmo, junior political science major.
The need for a change in approach
For previous Biola student and BEG student coordinator Gena Schwimmer, her hope for Biola’s response to the changing definition of sexuality includes having more openness to the simple fact of LGBT students being on campus.
“I hope that they can change enough to realize that we still want to be at this school, whether we… had a choice or not. But we’re still there, and it’s incredibly difficult for us to be there sometimes because it’s dangerous and it’s hurtful and it’s harmful for us… I hope that Biola can not change its views but change the way it reacts towards LGBT students and how they handle certain matters,” Schwimmer said.
In response to the statement, leader of BEG Erin Green wrote an open letter to Corey, which students such as Schwimmer agree with, with further responses from BEG still in the discussion phase. With Schuster, the process is one of learning and seeking reconciliation.
“For me personally, I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to turn the other cheek and... not in the way that we usually talk about it of like ‘Alright, hit me again, come at me,’ but in a real deep sense of seeking reconciliation and not hitting back in my words even,” Schuster said. “Not being spiteful in return, not being harsh in return, but how do I actually try and find restoration, and that’s a hard process and one that I’m still discerning in this particular situation.”