Jewell’s apparent flirtation with homosexuality nothing new: Part 2
Don HinklePathway Editor
February 11, 2003
EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the second of two columns tracing the history of the homosexuality issue at William Jewell College. The recent push by the student senate to include wording in the "Student Bill of Rights" prohibiting discrimination against homosexuals (the vote was 12-7 to include homosexuality; 15 votes were needed to take the issue before the entire student body) is just the latest in a string of developments involving the sinful lifestyle at a college that bills itself as "Christian." A campus group called The Unity Association has started a petition drive to revive the issue before the student senate and ultimately the student body.
LIBERTY — William Jewell students were to be aided in developing a proposal for official school sanction of a homosexual student organization by Marc Cadd, assistant professor of German and director of William Jewell’s Center for Educational Diversity, according to a story in the May 20, 1998, issue of The Kansas City Star.
"We claim to be a liberal arts college and one that prepares our students for the 21st century," Cadd was quoted as saying. "We are approaching that in a hypocritical fashion if we don’t address things like gay-lesbian issues. It is time to allow (homosexuals) the same amount of visible support as any other group."
The Star surmised that William Jewell was struggling to find a balance between being a "liberal arts college" where "diversity is welcomed," and being "loyal" to its "religious heritage" as required by its mission statement.
Quoting Roy Jones, William Jewell’s executive director of college relations, the article states: "Every year William Jewell received about $1 million from the Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC). Despite those Baptist links, Jones said, administrators realize that ‘this needs to be an institution of free inquiry and an institution where diversity is welcomed.’"
Jones is free to argue for "free inquiry" into the Sodomite lifestyle, but he does so against the teaching of Scripture and the beliefs of hundreds of thousands of Missouri Southern Baptists. And what did he mean by that revered buzzword of the academy: "diversity?" Did he mean to redefine it to include sinful behavior like homosexuality? Does "diversity" mean kleptomaniacs or any other kind of unacceptable behavior deserve to be tolerated by society? How far is "diversity" supposed to go? This is one of the major problems conservatives have with liberal thinking: that is liberals’ unwillingness to set any parameters as to what is — or is not — acceptable behavior for a society.
And what about William Jewell’s leadership? They seem to value "diversity" more than "Thus saith the Lord." Why doesn’t a William Jewell leader step forward and provide some guidance to the students?
To William Jewell’s credit there are no homosexual organizations on campus (I find it amazing that such a topic would even be considered on a Christian campus), but the issue appears far from settled. The pressure to tolerate such a perverse and dangerous lifestyle is increasing thanks to other campus radicals like The Unity Association. Just imagine how much "unity" there would be if a Bible-believing Christian joined their ranks and dared to proclaim, "Thus saith the Lord." Meanwhile some administrators and faculty seem willing to let the homosexual activists have their way, defending their anti-family activism under the guise of academic freedom and free inquiry while portraying homosexuals as "victims."
According to the Star article: "William Jewell faculty and students say slurs and hostile views about homosexuals are part of campus life (presumably this includes any Bible-believer who publicly states that homosexuality is a sin). And a former professor, who was homosexual, accused the school of discrimination."
What is wrong with requiring faculty members to abstain from such a sinful lifestyle? Church-state law expert Mike Whitehead, told Baptist Press in 1998 that a
private religious college must be free to teach its religious convictions. He said a school may require students and staff to show character and conduct consistent with these convictions.
"There is no legal duty for a private religious school to allow homosexual student groups to be recognized or to operate on campus. Public colleges, funded with tax dollars, are held to different standards and constitutional duties, including giving equal access to various student groups, including homosexual advocacy groups," Whitehead said. "That’s why Baptist colleges remain private, so that Baptist campuses may reflect biblical values."
The homosexual controversy at William Jewell surfaced again when the school recently gave its highest academic award, "The Faculty Award," to Paul Cernin, an "openly" homosexual student who had "led plans to form a group for William Jewell’s homosexual students."
The Kansas City Star reported it this way: "While studying in Cambridge, England, in his junior year, (Cernin) experienced new freedoms and even social opportunities. He joined a Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual Christian group. There were parties … even on campus. After returning to William Jewell, he missed that open
atmosphere. So Cernin worked with (Marc) Cadd to raise William Jewell’s awareness."
According to the article, Cernin’s position was that, "Christian traditions of love and acceptance should allow room for a gay, lesbian and bisexual group at William Jewell."
William Jewell leaders point out that they have always included the scriptural view of homosexuality in on-campus debates and seminars. But is that sufficient? I do not think so. They have made no apologies for creating a platform for homosexuals and their supporters to use in their efforts to gain acceptance into the cultural mainstream, much less in the minds of future William Jewell graduates.
For example, David Sallee, William Jewell’s respected president, had no problem in trumpeting that a clergyman — sympathetic to the homosexual cause — was the speaker for their 2001-2002 Baccalaureate Service. Paul Duke was the former pastor of Kirkwood Baptist Church, a St. Louis congregation that is affiliated with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (CBF) and the pro-homosexual Alliance of Baptists. Duke was the author of a
two-part series of articles titled, "Homosexuality and the Church." In it he writes, "Having taken the time to study the (biblical) texts, I cannot with confidence say that the Bible condemns all forms of homosexual behavior."
The radical pro-homosexual views of Alliance of Baptist churches have caused considerable gnashing of teeth within the CBF – particularly since some of its leadership comes from Alliance churches. Their relationship has often deteriorated into petty name-calling, CBF icon, Cecil Sherman, frustrated with the noisy homosexual influence in the CBF, referred to the Alliance of Baptists as "nuts" and "fruitcakes" in an editorial published last year by The Baptist Standard, newsjournal of the Baptist General Convention of Texas. It triggered a sharp rebuke by Stan Hastey, head of the Alliance, and underscored the intense nature of the debate over homosexuality even among the theological left.
More recently the revelations of Patricia Schoenrade, William Jewell’s chair of the psychology department and a psychology professor who has gone public with her warnings about homosexuality at the college, has alarmed Missouri Baptists. Schoenrade rocked the William Jewell campus in December when she told Baptist Press that there is a pattern of accepting homosexuality at the school and cautioned fellow believers that the spiritual and intellectual souls of the students are at risk.
Schoenrade, who has been a professor at William Jewell since 1989, said she is very concerned about the advocacy of homosexuality as a viable lifestyle.
"I think it’s fair to say that there is a pattern developing," Schoenrade said. "It’s very easy to confuse love for the individual with acceptance of the lifestyle. Whatever a student finds on a Christian campus, they will assume it is Christianity. If they hear advocacy of a behavior and nothing to counter it, that person will assume it is Christianity. I can’t say this strongly enough, but I believe the spiritual and intellectual souls of our students are at risk," Schoenrade said.
Schoenrade is no right-wing lunatic. She was an advocate for the homosexual lifestyle upon her arrival at William Jewell. She has since admitted that she was not a Christian at the time, but has now received Jesus as her personal savior.
"A person has to be a Christian to practice here and I certainly gave all the right answers when I was hired, but I did not truly accept God and no one who interviewed me would have known that," she said.
In 1997 Schoenrade coauthored, "Staying in the Closet Versus Coming Out: Relationships Between Communication about Sexual Orientation and Work
Attitudes," which was published in the Journal of Personnel Psychology. She investigated the aspect of whether homosexual employees should disclose their sexual orientation at work. It will be interesting to see how far "diversity" can go in the eyes of William Jewell’s self-perpetuating trustees, administration, faculty and students in light of Schoenrade’s "coming out."
Also of interest to Missouri Southern Baptists is the on-going inquiry by the MBC Executive Board’s Inter-Agency Relations Committee. Some churches have already stopped sending funds to William Jewell because of the controversy and others may soon follow suit. Here’s hoping MBC churches will wait and pray while the Inter-Agency Relations Committee completes its work. Then, if necessary, let the fur fly.