A number of Christian Universities, including Goshen College and Eastern Mennonite University, are making significant updates to their non-discrimination policies barring discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
“As an institution rooted in the Anabaptist tradition, we reaffirm our strong relationship to Mennonite Church USA,” said Goshen College President James E. Brenneman, “and recognize the diversity of interpretation of Scripture on this issue within our denomination and the broader Christian church, a diversity reflected within the board of directors and on our campus as well. We seek forbearance and grace amidst our differences. We deeply affirm the goodness of marriage, singleness, celibacy, sexual intimacy within marriage, and a life of faithfulness before God for all people.
In an email sent out to all students yesterday, Kay Nussbaum, Chair of Eastern Mennonite University’s Board of Trustees, and Loren Swartzendruber, EMU’s University President, explained that the policy change came after months of listening sessions with input from students, alumni and employees as well as a recent national Mennonite gathering held in Kansas City, MI.
“… as we affirm the goodness of singleness, celibacy, and sexual intimacy within the context of a covenanted relationship (marriage)–our hiring practices and benefits will now expand to include employees in same-sex marriages,” read the email.
According to garyrva.com, during the gathering, faith leaders agreed to continue their policy prohibiting pastors from performing same-sex marriages, but they also issued a resolution of Forbearance “that recognizes the diversity of perspectives in our church, and calls on us ’to live in grace, love and forbearance’ with one another.”
Christian ethicist Rev. Dr. David Gushee told HRC, “I believe these policy changes are not at all moral compromises but instead reflect the deepest Christian moral values–such as love, justice and the sacred worth of each person.”
Less than a month ago, over 1,000 were in attendance as the Mennonite Church USA voted against same-sex marriage but granted “forbearance toward conferences, congregations and pastors in our body who, in different ways, seek to be faithful to our Lord Jesus Christ on matters related to same-sex covenanted unions.”