Azusa Pacific University (APU) has gone back and forth this school year on whether to allow students to date members of the same sex.
Last week, the Southern California Christian college decided, once again, to remove a ban on “romanticized” same-sex relationships from its code of student conduct.
“APU is an open-enrollment institution, which does not require students to be Christian to attend, and the handbook conveys our commitment to treating everyone with Christ-like care and civility,” stated APU provost Mark Stanton. “Our values are unchanged, and the APU community remains unequivocally biblical in our Christian evangelical identity.”
APU, which comes out of a Wesleyan tradition and continues to uphold a traditional view of marriage, does not require its students to be Christian, unlike about a third of fellow members of the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities that require students to sign a statement of faith.
APU prohibits sex outside of marriage, and the student code revisions represent “uniform standards of behavior for all students, applied equally and in a nondiscriminatory fashion,” Stanton said.
The student government and Brave Commons, an LGBT student group, opposed the administration’s restrictions around same-sex relationships and had pushed for more clarity around the type of punishment students in same-sex relationships would face. Brave Commons issued a response Friday saying “the ban removal offers equal treatment of LGBTQ+ students in relationships as their heterosexual peers.”
In December, two board members resigned, due to “a personal belief that APU has drifted from its orthodox principles,” board chairman David Poole told World magazine. Poole released a statement to the APU community saying he disagreed with their characterization.
While APU students are not required to sign a statement of faith, faculty members are. Around the same time that the ban on student same-sex relationship was lifted for the first time last fall, APU had also dropped longstanding language from an eight-point statement on human sexuality, which declared “homosexual acts” (among others) are “expressly forbidden” by Scripture; “heterosexuality is God’s design for sexually intimate relationships”; and “humans were created as gendered beings” to be fruitful and multiply. These revisions have remained on the website.
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Source: Christianity Today