Letter to the Editor: LGBTQ+ students belong at Calvin

Dear Editor,  

The reason I am writing today is in response to the letter written a few weeks ago by Professor David Noe entitled: “An open invitation to discuss traditional views of marriage.” Noe’s “traditional view” is one which I often encounter at Calvin, and one which often negatively affects LGBTQ+ students on campus.  

I am a Christian and a Calvin student (class of 2021). I am gay. I have spent half of my life praying on, studying about, and wrestling with the seeming conflicts between my faith and my identity. I did not come to any of the conclusions I am about to share easily, but only after years of doubt, questions, and struggle. I want my LGBTQ+ peers to know that they are not alone, that they should not feel guilty about an identity they cannot change, and that there are people (myself included) who care about them.  

Professor Noe is presenting his “hate the sin, love the sinner” doctrine as the only rational conclusion a Christian could come to. He tries to excuse himself by hiding behind a handful of contested Scripture passages (sometimes referred to as the “clobber passages”). I worry for the people who will read his letter and unquestioningly believe what he is saying, because this view is bigoted: it reinforces a worldview which ostracizes LGBTQ+ people. And when the “traditional view” is imposed on LGBTQ+ people it leads to self-hatred and guilt over something that is not their fault and cannot be changed.  

I will avoid getting into specific theological arguments, as that rarely changes minds, and instead appeal to something else: belonging. Too many LGBTQ+ students feel alone at Calvin and shunned from the Christian Church. It is something I have experienced myself. It happens when you attend a lecture which denies the existence of sexual orientation, when people stare in disdain at your rainbow flag t-shirt, when you read a misguided letter in Chimes, or any of the various other discriminations and microaggressions we face every day. Recent events have exacerbated this as well: isolation because of Covid, political anxieties, worries about next year’s Synod, and especially mourning a loss within the LGTBQ+ community on campus. Even though Calvin has made major strides towards becoming a safe place for LGBTQ+ students (SAGA and Without Shame are two incredible resources), there is still much that needs improvement.   

Professor Noe is advocating for a separation between the Church and the LGBTQ+ community. It is this dichotomy which makes Calvin a difficult place for LGBTQ+ students. Not only do we have to stand up for ourselves against discriminatory housing policies, casual homophobia, and ignorance, those of us who are Christian also must confront a Church which so often shuns us. When views like the one Professor Noe holds go unchallenged, it reinforces the lie that queer people do not “belong” at Calvin the way our straight/cisgender peers do. So, I wanted to end with a reassurance to my LGBTQ+ peers. You Belong Here! God loves you just the way God made you! You Are Valued! You DO NOT have to change who you are to belong! You Are Loved! 

-A Gay Calvin Student 


Chimes granted anonymity to this student, as revealing their identity could result in personal injury to them.