The News From The Dark Blues

Homophobia, rowing, turds and carnivals in Oxford this week. JAMES ROTHWELL reports.

Fresh questions around Oxford’s equality policy arose this week after The Oxford Student revealed that Exeter college will be hosting an anti-gay pressure group.

Headlines screamed “Exeter Welcomes Homophobes” in reaction to college authorities hosting a conference organised by “Christian Concern.” According to its website, the group aims to reintroduce conservative Christian ideals into the legal system.

Alarmingly, the group recommends “corrective therapy” for homosexuals, who are sinful and evil in their view (see the full OxStu investigation for details).

But students are even more concerned about the College’s perceived ambivalence towards the implications of hosting such a group, and indeed their ambivalence towards the issue of homophobia in general.

The Exeter response provoked guffaws in Oxford’s gay community, as did the college’s assertion that by hosting Christian Concern’s conference they are standing up for freedom of speech.

But even more bizarre than the scandal itself was a crass cartoon in rival paper Cherwell the following day. Their likening of an exposé on homophobia to a slimy turd fished out a toilet bowl has already made ripples in JCR communities. Rather depressingly, the paper’s eagerness to make a few cheap shots at their sensationalist rival made them forget entirely about the issue at hand -namely, that an Oxford college giving an anti-gay group the “seal of approval” by hosting their conference is very much in the public interest of students.

In other news, the usual futile back and forth points scoring about history libraries has raged on. Many have also celebrated the recent victory in the struggle of gender equality, which is that male and female rowers will gain equal coverage in the boat race as of 2015.

Elsewhere, the endearingly shambolic troupe behind the city’s carnival has scrapped the event once again, while new research suggests that people with smaller brains have fewer friends. Oh the joy of being the cutting edge of scientific research at Oxford University.

Overall, been a veritable snowstorm of controversy for Oxford students this week – and on that note, over and out, chaps.

  • Let the idiots speak

    Freedom of speech doen't just mean freedom of speech for people you agree with. Unless somebody is inciting violence there is no reason not to allow them to speak, and certainly no reason to say that people don't have a right to hear those they are interested in.

    • I was

      just about to say that

  • WadhamWadham

    If they were having these guys over so they could engage them in a debate, then fine.

    But they're not.

    Exeter are taking something in the region of thousands of pound from the group in exchange for letting them use their facilities, with no challenges to their ideas whatsoever.

    If you go the Christian Concern website you will see that the group has already plastered it with pictures of Oxford University, hence the author's allusion to the "seal of approval" , the implied endorsement and kudos that comes with such a University. Though it would have been prudent of him to mention these points himself.

  • Hang on….

    I thought that blonde bloke writes these?

  • Exaggeration?

    I couldn't find the stuff about 'corrective therapy' and viewing homosexuals as 'evil' anywhere on the website. Where is it?

  • David

    Just because a group stands for orthodox and historic Christian teaching and values does not mean they are anti-gay. These are the ideals and values which Oxford University was built on.It is one thing to disagree with homosexual practise and quite another thing to think homosexuals are 'evil and sinful'. The Bible and, more to the point, Jesus, teaches the former rather than the latter.

    • A gay christian

      Actually Jesus doesn't ever mention homosexuality. (Literally speaking, neither does the Bible, given that the word itself didn't exist until the mid-19th century.) There are a mere handful of references to same-sex behaviour in the whole book. But I don't think this thread is really the place for a theological or hermeneutical debate. Nor would such debate be directly relevant to the article's contents. I just wanted to point out that your statement regarding the Bible and Jesus's teachings is based on a particular interpretation of the biblical narrative, and not an opinion shared by all Christians.

    • Pope Tab

      The Jesus who consorted with whores, tax collectors, criminals and menstruating women doesn't really sound like someone who would disagree with the practice of homosexuality…

  • Exaggeration?

    Still looking for some help concerning the actual website- otherwise this article makes some pretty strong and serious accusations which are unfounded.

    • Well, to be honest

      I doubt they're going to put their most extreme, sordid and mental views on the wevsite, hence the reason that investigative journalism exists.

      • Exaggeration?

        I highly doubt the Tab has carried out 'investigative journalism' in this case. Unless sufficient evidence is produced, this article is slander. Not impressed, Tab.

    • Not exaggerated

      Hi there, I wrote the original article in the OxStu on this and thought, seeing as you appear to be having difficulties, I'd point you in the right direction. 1st link covers "evil", second link cover "unnaural" and "immoral" and third link covers the corrective therapy. I did do my best to make sure I got down the group's actual views- hence why I actually rang the group's CEO and had a 20 minute chat with her about her views, so to accuse me of slander is, I think, somewhat off the mark, regardless of what you make of the article's line of inquiry.

      • Hmm.

        Not Bad.

  • Money talks

    They've got the right to have their silly little conference, obviously. Does that mean the college doesn't have the right to refuse their money if it disagrees enough with their views or if to allow it would cause too much negative publicity? Of course not, just as (I imagine) they wouldn't allow a conference by the BNP, ALF or a radical religious non-Christian pressure group that wants to alter the country's laws based on a near-literal interpretation of their particular holy book.

    The college isn't standing up for freedom of speech, any more than it stands up for the 'right' of management consultants to consult with other companies about management when they want to have a posh conference in Oxford. It's not necessarily promoting the Christian group's views by allowing their conference, but it's noticeably not condemning them, which presumably makes their student union LGBTQ rep's job quite difficult next year. Whether they've allowed it because someone high up in conferencing sympathises with them, or because they just don't care as long as there's no bad publicity, shame on them.

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