Monday, December 22, 2014

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Gonzaga University LGBT Center Clashes with Gospel Mission Over Camp Use

The Gonzaga Bulletin reports that there's been a clash of missions between Gonzaga University’s Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transexual (LGBT) resource center and the Union Gospel Mission (UGM).

The LGBT center requested use of the Union Gospel Mission’s Tshimakain Creek Camp for its annual “Always Our Children” retreat. That request was denied.

According to the Union Gospel Mission, the center was turned down because of the LGBT center’s mission.

“…just like Gonzaga, there are certain things they allow on campus and they don’t allow because they align with their values, who they are,” said Phil Altmeyer, UGM executive director.

Father C. Hightower, director of Gonzaga University Ministry described the decision as one of bias. Campus ministry co-sponsors the retreat with the LGBT resource center.

“The reality is we had a situation where, because of the practice of the faith, some of our students suffered an incidence of bias,” said Fr. Hightower. “…we acknowledge that people that are gay and lesbian, that it’s not a lifestyle choice, it’s the dignity of the divine in their creation.”

The controversy led the Union Gospel Mission to create a written policy governing use of their facilities.

Because of our structure, nature of support, and sensitivity to the whole Christian community, we cannot rent, lease, or extend our facilities to be used … When the sponsoring group is of a controversial nature. We may individually concur with the philosophy, doctrine, or practice of a sponsoring group, but if it could cause ill will toward the Mission by the community, we must deny use of the facilities.

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