Photo courtesy of Alante Jones
Impact Movement, a christian organization on campus, hosted a conversation about homosexuality and Christianity in the KIVA on Tuesday, March 29.
An internationally known speaker and theologian, Bishop Joey Johnson spoke at the event. Johnson is a pastor from The House of the Lord in Akron and served as a pastor for over 40 years.
All christian organizations on campus were invited as well as the LGBTQ community to partake in the conversation about faith and sexuality.
Johnson spoke about what the Bible says about homosexuality and Christianity.
“What the Bible teaches in this area is complex,” Johnson said. “It’s not as simple as some would like to make it.”
Johnson made a point that he does not stand against LGBTQ people, but against LGBTQ marriage.
He touched on many subjects in just a short half-hour, but concentrated especially on how Christians should treat members of the LGBTQ community, stressing the importance of love.
“We should do more than tolerate, we should actively love them (LGBTQ),” Johnson said.
His talk was followed with a question and answer session open to the audience. The Impact Movement asked Johnson how someone should minister to gay friends.
“You love them, you accept them,” Johnson said, “loving them doesn’t mean you accept their behavior.”
One of the more heated questions from the audience asked Johnson to elaborate more on if homosexuality was the same as the civil rights movement.
Johnson answered by saying, “I’m offended when that argument is made....if you believe that homosexuality is inborn then you can make the same argument that it’s the same as those who are African-American and that it’s the same struggle.”
He went on to say that being homosexual is not inborn, “It is a choice,” Johnson said, “Me being black is inborn. To equate the two is not applicable.”
Over 150 people were in attendance and the audience reaction was high throughout the conversation. Many people reacted to his words with “amen” and “right” as Johnson spoke.
“I think the Bishop has a real gift of cutting through to the truth," said Paul Campbell, a community member who attended.
Camara Rhodes, a senior theatre major, said he loved the conversation.
“People in the church need to be educated on it because there’s so much misinterpretation," Rhodes said.
Caress Lofton, a member of the LGBTQ community said, “I was a little disappointed.”
“It seemed a little one sided,” Lofton said, “but I am a member of the lesbian community, so I was hoping to hear more love”
The advisor of the Impact Movement, Darnell Wilson, said he learned more about tolerance from Johnson’s talk.
“Tolerance is not about having beliefs, it’s how your beliefs lead you to treat other people when you find out you disagree," Wilson said.
Keri Richmond is the religion reporter for The Kent Stater, contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org