The University of North Carolina, Wilmington, wants LGBT students to know there are churches that don’t take the “turn or burn” approach to homosexuality espoused by one area congregation — but its distribution of the information has ired some conservatives.
Late last month the school’s LGBTQIA Resource Office put out a guide to gay-friendly local businesses and other institutions, including churches. It listed Metropolitan Community Church (St. Jude’s, pictured), Unitarian Universalist, Lutheran, Presbyterian, and Episcopal congregations. The head of the sociology department has suggested professors share the information with students, FoxNews.com reports.
Mike Adams, a UNC Wilmington criminology professor and online commentator who frequently writes in opposition to gay rights, criticized the list in a column published Monday on conservative website Townhall.com. “The stupidity of this list of recommended churches should be self-evident,” he wrote, adding that it was inappropriate for a state-funded university to make such recommendations. He said the university would never put out a list of churches that teach what he called “the two most important truths about homosexuality”: that “it is unequivocally sinful according to both the Old and New Testaments” and that it is harmful.
Speaking to Fox News, Adams admitted the list of gay-friendly churches probably did not violate the constitutional requirement of separation of church and state, noting that it would be a more serious problem if a professor used classroom time to advise students on where to attend church. But the university should cease distributing the information anyway, he said. Travis Barham, an attorney with the conservative Alliance Defense Fund, also questioned the appropriateness of the list. Fox News could not reach the LGBTQIA Resource Office for comment.
A church with a less accepting view of homosexuality also made news in Wilmington recently. Sea Gate Community Chapel last week put up a sign that condemned gay people for living a “perverted lifestyle” and warned them to “turn or burn.” Sunday morning Wilmington Pride held a protest at the church, and Sunday afternoon a man smashed the sign with a hammer and took off in his car. Police are still looking for the perpetrator.