This seems clearly illegal, but also shows how religion is like an abusive partner. The World on Campus reports that a Christian a capella chorus at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill—”Psalm 100″—expelled Will Thomason, an openly gay student, just for being gay. Weirdly enough, University policy seems to support the group’s right to discriminate in this way:
Psalm 100, whose mission is “to spread the joy of the Lord through song,” operates under a constitution based on Biblical standards, and the group concluded that Thomason’s views on the group’s constitution did not match up with its standards.
The university’s official policy seems to support the group’s ability to expel a member based on religious belief. It says: “Student organizations that select their members on the basis of commitment to a set of beliefs (e.g., religious or political beliefs) may limit membership and participation in the organization to students who…support the organization’s goals and agree with its beliefs.” However, the same policy says a student cannot be excluded from membership based on “sexual orientation.”
Templeton [Blake Templeton, the group’s director] said the university approved Psalm 100’s original constitution, which allows its decisions to be made based on the Bible. And he stressed that it was Thomason’s disagreement with the group’s constitution, not his sexual orientation, that got him kicked out.
As if “disagreement with the group’s constitution” were not the same thing as being gay! That’s a distinction without a difference.
But this is the most disgusting part:
Blake Templeton, general director of the group, said the decision was tough, especially because so many people thought it was done out of hatred.
“That’s so far from the truth,” he said. “I want the power of God’s love to be so, so clear.”
Templeton stressed that the group made its decision out of love for Thomason, not hate.
Right. Just like an abusive spouse: “I’m going to hurt you, but only because I love you.”
If you want to voice your objections, Winston Crisp, UNC’s Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, is conducting an investigation, and you can email him at email@example.com Here’s a sample email if you are too lazy or busy to write your own, but of course it’s better if you be original. But sending something is better than sending nothing, and all of it will send a message to the UNC administration:
Dear Chancellor Crisp,
I am writing to protest the expulsion of UNC student Will Thomason from the “Psalm 100” chorus simply because he was gay. While UNC’s policy appears to support the chorus’s right to expel members based on religious belief (a policy that I disagree with as well), it does NOT support the right to expel members based on sexual orientation. As I’m sure you’ll agree, that policy is not only illegal, but highly immoral. What could someone’s sexual orientation possibly have to do with his ability to sing?
Some Christian sects may still hold on to their archaic notions of sexuality, but society has moved on, increasingly recognizing that gays are neither immoral, mentally ill, nor aberrant. I am sure that UNC agrees with that view as well, and hope that your investigation of the issue will lead to Thomason’s reinstatement in the chorus.
Thanks very much.