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Southern’s School of Religion Hosts Own Panel on Homosexuality

On April 8, 2008, a group of students held a panel discussion on homosexuality with the support of the School of Social Work and Family Studies, History Department, and Campus Ministries. Eight days later. . .

On April 16, 2008 Southern Adventist University held a panel discussion entitled “Compassion and Clarity: Biblical Perspectives on Homosexuality.”

Southern religion student Darryl Bentley writes:

The panel was organized by the dean of the School of Religion (SOR) at the request of the Senior Vice President for Academic Administration, Dr. Robert Young.

I have included the body of an e-mail that Dr. Young sent out to all the faculty, staff and students at SAU.

“To all faculty, staff, and students of Southern Adventist University:

I’m writing to invite you to attend a panel discussion I’ve asked the School of Religion to provide as a continuing dialog on the topic of Biblical perspectives on homosexuality. You will note that this is not intended as a rebuttal, but as a continuation of the discussion launched last week {April 8, 2008}. The lead title “Compassion and Clarity” comes from the subtitle of a 1995, book by evangelical author Thomas Schmidt. Following the panel discussion, there will be an opportunity for those in attendance to ask panelists questions from the floor. I hope you will find time to attend. Students who attend will be given convocation credit.


Robert Young

Senior Vice President for Academic Administration”

Many have asked the question as to whether or not this panel was a response to a panel that was held a week prior to “Compassion and Clarity” that was totally student led. It is my understanding–as well as Dr. Young’s expressly stated reason above–that the “Compassion and Clarity” panel was not a response or rebuttal to the previous panel but rather a continuation of the discussion that arose from the previous panel.

I have also read and heard about questions regarding why the SOR did not participate in the first panel discussion. It is my understanding that the students who organized the first panel brought their ideas and material to the SOR already organized and pre-packaged, so to speak. The SOR was not asked by the student-led panel to help organize the panel or contribute to the material that was to be presented. Therefore, the SOR did not want to sponsor an event in which they had no part of the planning and where they had no input regarding the material that was slated for presentation. I am not a faculty member in the SOR but I can certainly understand why they chose not to sponsor the first panel in light of those conditions.

It is my prayer that having the second panel discussion video footage posted will allow viewers to get a fuller picture of the events that have transpired around this most important topic that affects our church today. I pray that each one of us will make it our practice, just like Jesus, to love the sinner and hate the sin in every aspect of our Christian experience.

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