That any employee, student or church member in our society be required to remain silent about their sexual orientation in exchange for secure employment, academic growth or spiritual support is an intolerable injustice. Unfortunately, this conditional coercion is far too often the norm.
Discrimination presents in many forms, not the least of which is passive silence. We look to our both our academic and religious institutions to engage us, lead us, and inspire us—-not to avoid our deepest needs and concerns out of fear of popular approval. We look to our institutions of higher moral reasoning as we seek knowledge, understanding and advancement as a human race. We must hold sacred the responsibility to confront our fears and biases; with all courage, engage critical thought when approaching long held traditions.
Acceptance of LGBT persons as full and equal community members must begin with a welcome invitation in clearly defined anti-discrimination polices, as well as public accountability to address and act upon any ethos that would diminish the right of any human being.
Belmont, as a gay person of faith, I humbly challenge you to inspire us with your willingness to facilitate safe, open dialogue on matters of faith and sexuality.
In this Advent season, I encourage the Belmont community to boldly embrace the opportunity to act with the human compassion, leadership and abiding love that honors Jesus Christ, the university, and your Nashville neighbors.
Such an endeavor could begin with both an offer for Coach Howe to return to her position and with a sincere apology to all who have been harmed by her dismissal.
Peace—-with justice—demands nothing less.