Letter to the Editor

I applaud Mitchell Gunn’s “Pride week should be every week” (The Argosy, Oct. 24)

Mitchell references the Surrey B.C. man kicked, his assailant hurling homophobic slurs; he mentions the New Glasgow, NS man stabbed and injured, whose friends allege that he was attacked because he is gay.

Such events draw attention immediately: anti-gay behaviour is openly and violently expressed—homophobia by assault.

There is another kind of homophobia—less publicly manifested—no less toxic. I mean homophobia by exclusion.

Recently, Saint Thomas University student Colin Briggs was a volunteer in a youth program at Fredericton’s Crosspoint Wesleyan Church. Coming out as homosexual, pastor Mark Brewer dismissed Briggs as a youth volunteer.

It is exemplified by Crandall University, the Atlantic Baptist Convention-sponsored university in Moncton. That institution, though receiving provincial and federal funds for capital expenditures, rejects overtly gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons from faculty or staff employment.

In homophobic assault—we hate you, and beat you up.

In homophobic exclusion—we are better than you, we keep you out.

Crandall’s sponsor is heir to a noble tradition—its Anabaptist foreparents were the victims of hatred and persecution. It is ironic that Crandall is now the perpetrator of homophobic practice. Even more ironically, Crandall claims its exclusion is Biblically based.

Not all Convention congregants agree with the scriptural sanction. Baptist Andrew Nurse, Canadian Studies professor at Mount Allison University, writes: “I am an evangelical Christian … and there is no good reason why equality should be denied GLBT Canadians—many bad things happen as a result of the denial of equality rights”

Isn’t it high time that the Convention of Atlantic Baptist Churches re-examine both their biblical roots and their contemporary exclusionary policy?

Both homophobic assault and homophobic exclusion are un-Canadian—can either be called Christian in contemporary society?

-Eldon Hay

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