Here are the e-mails that were broadcast to all students of Concordia-Chicago last week announcing the STOP meeting meant to address the abuse of gay students. As I understand it, the first one was sent out before Dr. Johnson got involved. The second one was after he got involved. Here are the two e-mails:
Dear Campus Community,
The Striving to Overcome Prejudice Committee (STOP) is pleased to announce the following educational opportunity, open to all students, staff, and faculty:
Straight But Not Narrow (SBNN) is an educational program designed for a campuses. We are planning opportunities for the campus community to participate in one of two sessions. The program is one hour in length. It is a basic introduction to the LGBT language, definitions, and what it means to be supportive to LGBT people.
The sessions will take place in the Oak Park River Forest room on April 4th from 10:00a.m. to 11:00a.m. and from 11:30a.m. to 12:30p.m. We invite everyone to participate in one of these sessions.
In addition, the committee is announcing the presence of Safe Zones on campus. Unlike more visible under-represented groups, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons cannot be readily identified. Likewise, there is no easy method of identifying persons who are familiar with LGBT issues. The Safe Zone Program strives to provide a way for supportive persons within the University community to prominently identify themselves. The program advances Concordia University Chicago’s goal of creating a campus community in which everyone is treated with respect and dignity. Look for the following sticker to signify those supportive people: [sticker not included]
And the follow-up e-mail:
To the Campus Community,
Because of some misperceptions and inquiries, the Striving to Overcome Prejudice (STOP) Faculty Committee would like to clarify our earlier message regarding the April 4th educational program on campus.
In no way should this educational program be construed as contrary to the theological positions on human sexuality of the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod, with which the university is affiliated. Please know that Dr. Johnson has requested time to address this matter in opening remarks at both of the sessions. The program is designed as an educational forum where everyone will come together to learn from each other. It is not meant as a platform for advocacy of any point of view.
In addition, there were questions raised about the STOP Committee. The STOP Committee was created in the late 1990s as the Antiracism Taskforce, and has periodically gone through name changes as it broadened its focus. It is a committee whose members are appointed by the president of the university.
Thank you. The STOP Committee
Is it just me or does the second e-mail sound like the line from the Wizard of Oz, “Just ignore that man behind the curtain?” In other words, e-mail one says “we are violating what the Scriptures teach about sexuality” and e-mail two says “just pretend with us that we aren’t violating what the Scriptures teach about sexuality.” As it turns out, according to our eyewitness account, it was the latter.
We are pleased that Dr. Johnson took some steps to alleviate the pagan language of the first e-mail but anything short of abolishing this committee is too little and too late.