I attended Cedarville from 1993-1996. My time there, while at times difficult, was memorable and formative in some very important ways. Originally, I came with the intent of going into the ministry. My plan was to major in Bible and go on to seminary, possibly even becoming a missionary. Of course, like for so many of us, plans changed and I ended up majoring in Philosophy instead. As a result, I never made it to seminary either -- I now practice law in New York City.
While attending Cedarville, I got involved with different student organizations ranging from the Philosophy and Intercultural Clubs to the student 'ministry' clubs to local universities and inner-city areas. I had good experiences participating in all of these. Unlike many, however, my experience at Cedarville did little to strengthen my religious beliefs. In fact, it did the exact opposite. In my search to find sound, logical reasons for my faith in Christianity I was presented with arguments that, in the end, were lacking in cohesiveness and credibility and which left me with many questions and few answers.
Among other things, I found the attitude at Cedarville towards homosexuality troubling to say the least. Although at the time I knew no students personally that were openly gay or lesbian (how could they have been), there were male and female classmates of mine who (looking back on it) clearly were. Although at the time, I was mainly involved in promoting racial diversity, awareness and sensitivity I often wondered how long would it take until the question of sexuality was addressed as well since the same people who use the Bible to support the slavery and racism also use it to condemn homosexuality. Ultimately, I figured a place like Cedarville would be unlikely to ever deal with these issues constructively.
Having said all that, I am happy to see that groups like Soulforce and Cedarville Out have been making inroads into what are ostensibly some of the last true bastions of conservatism left. I want to also say that I am in full and 100% support of the cause. I work in and around NYC's theater district and have many gay and lesbian friends. And they are just as human and just as real as the rest of us. And I believe that it is just as natural for my gay and lesbian brothers and sisters to be attracted to members of the same sex as it is for heteros to be attracted to our opposites. In other words, we are all God's children, perfect just as we are. It is time for the oppression and persecution of others based on nothing more than who they are attracted to come to an end. If it is in fact true that Christians are called to lead by example, why not demonstrate that by showing tolerance, acceptance and love instead of persecution, rejection and hate. Surely that is not what the Bible teaches.
As a 'straight ally' of the GLBT members of Cedarville Out, I would offer an ear to anyone gay or straight who wishes to discuss this matters. Feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.