Baylor U. Remains Silent
May 6th, 2013
Yesterday, Brittney Griner, out lesbian basketball player and current student of Baylor University, wrote an op-ed for the New York Times about being gay and also produced this video to say “it gets better.” I’m having a difficult time here, trying to remember if there has ever been a current student of an anti-gay Christian college who has come out so publicly and faced no punishment. The Catholic Church has shown no such tolerance — this week even the Methodists are putting a retired minister on trial for officiating at his son’s wedding to a man. And Baylor, with Ken Starr at the helm, so far, remains silent while Griner puts herself out there in as public a way as possible as openly gay. Is she baiting Baylor with this video?
It seems obvious that there will be a time when the parents of students at evangelical colleges will no longer stand for the current anti-gay status quo on campus. It seems clear that there will be a day when being seen as too anti-gay will hurt funding. But surely we aren’t there yet?
Evangelicals On The Slippery Slope Toward A Big Gay Embrace
April 24th, 2013
You might have heard that Brittney Griner, who the New York Times called “one of the most dominant basketball players in recent memory,” came out recently. Or, maybe you didn’t. As the Times put it in their headline, “Female Star Comes Out as Gay, and Sports World Shrugs.” While everyone is waiting for the first male player to come out, Griner’s news has been received as no news.
What struck me this week was something that’s only been passed on by word of mouth, something probably too delicate to survive media scrutiny if reporters were to look into it and ask for official statements. That’s the reaction to Briner’s coming out at Baylor where she plans to graduate this spring before joining the Phoenix Mercury who just picked her up in the draft. Mark Osler, former federal prosecutor and also a former Baylor professor, passes on this little anecdote in the Huffington Post this week about how Baylor’s President Ken Starr (remember him?) treated Griner publicly just days after she came out —
“After Baylor clinched another Big 12 Championship, they made confetti angels on the basketball court as the crowd roared.”
No, Starr did not hold a press conference wearing a rainbow pin with an arm slung around his college’s most famous student. No theology has been rewritten and, so far, I haven’t found anyone with a picture of this hug on the basketball court. All the same, I’m sure it happened, and I’m confident it will happen again. This is how evangelicals are going to begin to embrace the LGBT community. Colleges especially are ground zero because of the tension between the older administration which at many evangelical colleges censors any mention of LGBT people and the students who, polls show, are now solidly behind marriage equality and finding a place for LGBT people. This hug was Starr’s nod to that fact, and the crowd’s roar a standing ovation to that nod. Theology and official statements might take another decade (or two) to catch up to this groundswell, but it will catch up eventually.
NOM and FRC and co. aren’t going to like it, but this scene is going to be played out more and more in the coming years while Bryan Fischer’s head begins to spin and he is finally moved to recite T. S. Eliot —
“This is the way the world ends, not with a bang but a whimper.”