Dear Common Ground,
We thank you for reaching out to us and we hope you will read this letter with an open heart.
At Senate, we talked about different intersections of identity involved in this discussion, including identities around race, national origin, sexuality and religion. We do not feel comfortable speaking for everyone in our community, let alone individuals of these different identities.
However, after reading your email, we wanted to ask further questions of our nationals. We reached out to Greg Jao, Vice President of Intervarsity Christian Fellowship/USA and he wrote back to us the following: “Intervarsity/USA affirms the right of LGBTQI individuals to ‘live, love, work, and marry’ as they choose. The national organization has not taken a position on public policy, legislation, or judicial rulings surrounding this topic.” IVCF’s stance shows that their theology of sexuality is related to scriptural interpretation rather than political initiatives. The theological stance relates only to IVCF exercising its constitutional right to define who can act as its ministers.
Knox IVCF has people in our chapter who agree with Intervarsity’s theology of sexuality and others who do not. We see disagreements on this topic within our chapter as an opportunity to have dialogue and be a group with diverse religious beliefs. At both the national and local level, we hold no restrictions on who can be members of an IVCF chapter. We welcome anyone and everyone into our community, offering a space to wrestle with the complex relationship between sexuality and religion.
The history between the LGBTQ+ community and American Christianity, specifically the religious right, has been one fraught with tension and hurt. We acknowledge and empathize with the hurt that the LBGTQ+ community has and continues to experience at the hands of hateful people. We as a community reject any attempts to dehumanize those within the LGBTQ+ community.
Although this conversation about IVCF nationals has been difficult, we think it has ultimately been a good discussion for the Knox community to have. Knox should be a community where different identity groups can simultaneously thrive despite our differences. We should all respect religious liberty, political and personal freedom, LGBTQ+ people, and other communities without disregarding, defunding, defaming, dehumanizing and de-voicing those with whom we disagree.
From this explanation, we hope you can understand why we cannot fulfill the requests you have asked of IVCF. Common Ground, you have had many contentions with the IVCF national organization, and we want to facilitate communication between you and IVCF nationals if your community is interested. We think that you can best represent your own voice to this organization, and we hope this can be an avenue where you can express yourselves. We want to have these important conversations. We will continue dialogue at our upcoming Interact with Intervarsity event and in collaboration between our two communities. We have been saddened by the tension between our two groups, and we hope to find reconciliation and healing for all involved.
The 2019-2020 IVCF Exec,
Jessica Hickey, Irein Thomas, Rae Sullivan, and James Stratton