And that's where I continue to run into philosophical trouble. At what point do you offer support and assistance to a group of people even when you disagree with them? Hope is, by definition, both an institution of higher learning, and at the same time an institution affiliated with the Christian Church, particularly the RCA.
The RCA has modified their position on homosexuality in a way that begins to acknowledge the science behind human sexuality. That has not filtered down into the local churches, nor to Hope.
Holland is a very "conservative" place. That's fine. And Hope is always going to be a "conservative" school. That's fine. There has to be a point, though, where the idea of Human Rights aren't reserved solely for those who meet a certain standard of behavior.
That's the tip of the iceberg for a much larger discussion about how Americans are starting to fall into the subtle racism and xenophobia that says "Rights belong only to the Righteous." That's not how the idea of The New World and America grew out of the Enlightenment.
It is part of our social contract that Rights belong to everyone, that Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness are God Given and Inalienable. That phrase and that idea did not come out of an intellectual void. Locke made it very clear that Life, Liberty, and Property were the province of the Citizen. Further analysis developed it into the idea that Pursuit of Happiness was a more apt description of that Right, and that these Rights were not only for Citizens, but were indeed for all people.
Hope is a private institution. It does not have to answer to anyone, really, other than itself. Its behavior as an institution is degrading its reputation, alienating a specific segment of the population, and neglecting its responsibility to adhere to the governing Church's policies. But, most importantly, it is ignoring its essence of purpose by allowing hatred, fear, and prejudice to guide its path.
Homosexual students are on the Hope campus. The question is frequently asked why would they come there if they know they are not welcome? Frankly, I don't know, except to say that the benefits outweigh the detriments. Also, and maybe this is the key to the answer, those students don't see their sexuality as anything that could, would, or should exclude them from their own Life, Liberty, and Pursuit of Happiness. To them, it's just not a big deal. There's no need to segregate themselves into some other educational system because, wait for it, they are no different from anyone else. Being "gay" doesn't preclude one from being able to participate in a vibrant academic society. In short, it's only the "straights" who are making a fuss about this, and that fuss is rooted in a collection of words that were written down some five thousand years ago to codify an oral history that had persisted for close to two thousand years prior to that, then translated and re-translated into and out of several dead languages, and without the context of the original history. But for a few examples of misguided translation, the Biblical injunction against homosexuality could have just as easily be interpreted today as instructions on how to prepare your bed for sleep.
The historical context has been lost in the Bible itself, although not in other contemporaneous sources. And the science of human sexuality has advanced its knowledge beyond the pervasive and historical prejudices. Fear is not an option. Denying the investment in student life while on campus is perpetuation of a myth abhorrent to Man and God.