Exposed: Shocking Homophobia Within The Christian Union
“Homosexuality Compared To Murder”
Controversy continues to surround Bristol’s under-fire Christian Union
Homophobia is the latest allegation to be levelled at the under-fire Christian Union at Bristol University.
It recently emerged the society has shunned female speakers for over a decade. Now, The Tab can reveal homosexuals have been subjected to prejudice by some CU members.
Earlier this year, Krish Kandiah, the invited speaker at a CU event entitled ‘Is God Homophobic?’ suggested celibacy was the only appropriate response to homosexual desire.
Victoria Au, a practicing Christian, attended the event and was shocked when homosexuality was directly compared to murder.
“I was having a conversation about how one can say hate the sin but love the sinner when another CU member butted in and started giving an example of a murderer to show that murder is a sin but Christianity still accepts the murderer, therefore, likewise with homosexuality.”
“Others were more polite, though they repeatedly cited the Bible as evidence homosexuality is a sin.”
Mike Paynter, who also attended the event, remarked that this treatment of homosexuality as a sin caused some controversy, especially when sinning was described as the equivalent of assault.
“[Krish] had earlier compared sinning against God to punching your mother in the face; it was unpleasant but she would ultimately forgive you. When challenged by an audience member on this comparison to homosexual sex Kandiah quickly backtracked.”
Such comments openly disregard UBU’s Equality Policy which all societies are accountable for. The Christian Union is already being investigated for breaching the policy, after refusing to let women speak at certain events unless they were accompanied by their husband.
These recent revelations have disappointed many Christian students. Lucy Beggs, a self-described Christian feminist spoke of feeling “overwhelmingly frustrated and isolated”.
“Energy wasted on maintaining gender discrimination is an unhelpful distraction from the positive and edifying message that Jesus came to bring.”
Krish Kandiah has since defended the content of his talk, saying his message was intended to be a positive one.
“I started my talk with an apology for the way the Church has sadly often been homophobic when God clearly isn’t. It’s a core belief that Christians should show love and respect to all people, whatever their gender, race or sexuality.”
“In our wonderfully diverse society, we won’t all agree with each other, but the point I was making is that we should respect each other anyway. I hope this attitude can be extended to everyone, including Bristol CU.”
The allegations of discrimination are made more worrying by the level of influence the CU appears to have at the university. Their high-profile means all students arriving at the university are likely to come into contact with members of the society in their first weeks in Bristol.
One student, who wishes to remain anonymous, told The Tab Clifton Hill House was nicknamed ‘Christian Hell Hole’ whilst they lived there.
On arriving at the hall, Freshers were greeted with gift bags on their doors, containing sweets, bible verses and schedules of CU events. The UCCF also provides a ‘Freshers’ Week Planning Guide’ teaching CU leaders how to fully capitalise on this ‘vital’ recruiting opportunity.
Despite this heavy presence, the CU is by no means a moderate organisation. Although the Bristol CU claims to be inter-denominational, their doctrinal beliefs, based on those of the UCCF, are those of evangelical conservatism.
Stephen Laird, the Anglican Chaplain of the University of Kent, told The Tab, “UCCF is an activist organisation which seeks to influence groups of Christian students into particular ways of thinking, ways which many contemporary believers find outmoded and perplexing.”
“Their stance on the ‘infallibility’ of the Bible, for example, supports a belief in the ‘six day’ account of creation found in the book of Genesis.”
It remains to be seen whether the recent pressure on the Christian Union will cause them to adapt their beliefs. Many students are hoping the society will see sense and vow to make changes.
Victoria Au insists a failure to change would be a “misrepresentation of most religious people in regards to their belief against discrimination towards women and LGBT+ individuals.”
Bristol’s Christian Union is hardly the first to get into hot water over homophobic remarks. In 2002, Warwick University CU was disaffiliated after allegedly telling a student he could not be both Christian and gay.
Similarly, in 2006, the CU in Edinburgh threatened to take legal action against the university after being banned from teaching an abstinence course which featured stories of ‘cured ex-gays’.