The LGBTQIA Resource Office of the University of North Carolina, Wilmington, has drawn fire from the university’s own head of sociology department for issuing faculty and students with a guide to local gay-friendly churches, businesses, health clinics and other institutions.
The guide circulated in August refers students seeking an affirming place of worship to the Metroplitan Community Church and several other LGBT-friendly congregations.
However, UNC Wilmington criminology professor Mike Adams, who also spends his time as an online commentator, has deemed the list to be “the height of silliness” and “government waste.”
Adams first aired his disdain in an article for TownHall.com dated Monday where under the title of “Separation of Gay Church and State,” and after going through the list of affirming churches and summarily criticizing or ridiculing them, he wrote:
All kidding aside, the stupidity of this list of recommended churches should be self-evident — even to atheists who get gas when they see a cross near Ground Zero. Even they must admit that the University of North Carolina at Wilmington LGBTQIA Office would never be willing to take the time to come up with a list of churches for people who want to hear the two most important truths about homosexuality:
1) It is unequivocally sinful according to both the Old and New Testaments (remember St. Jude?), and 2) God wants you to avoid homosexuality because He loves you and He knows it will hurt you badly, not to mention end your life prematurely. That is why God gave you free will instead of a gay gene.
In an interview with Fox News, in which the news agency casts this in a “tax-payer money being used to tell people where to worship” light, Adams repeated his claims that this guide was entirely wasteful and perhaps even discriminatory because the university hadn’t put out a list of churches that condemn homosexuality:
“It’s just amazing,” he told FoxNews.com. “It appears to me to be the height of not just silliness, but government waste.”
Adams, who wrote about the church guide in an online column Monday, has previously called for the abolition of the LGBT group as well as several other identity-related groups on campus. He said the university guide probably has not crossed the legal line, but the university should stop distributing it anyway.
“If I were to stand up and start recommending churches in the classroom, that would be a serious problem,” Adams said, claiming a separate UNC campus took down a broader church guide a few years ago following his objections.
While I have absolutely no desire to rob Adams of his right to express his opinion, I must also point out the hypocrisy here. The guide is meant as a resource for interested parties so they can find affirming spaces in which they can practice their religion in accordance with their beliefs and identities. Yet here Adams appears to be suggesting that because this is not how he chooses to interpret his religion it is not worthy of accommodation.
This speaks to a wider religious freedom issue. Those on the more conservative side of the religious and political spectrum are passionate defenders of religious rights, which of itself is a worthy cause. However, to pick and choose which person’s religious rights one defends based on whether they accord to one’s own beliefs smacks of the same intolerance such groups claim they are assailed by. And given that no one is being forced to read this guide, this seems doubly intolerant.
I would also add, it could be suggested that this guide provides a service for those students who perhaps believe as Mr. Adams does, that homosexuality is not agreeable with their choice of religious affiliation, in that it notifies them of establishments both religious and secular they may wish to avoid. In effect, if they don’t like it, they don’t have to go there, and similarly they don’t have to read this guide.