Metro Weekly

South Carolina college with two gay athletes issues statement on homosexuality

UPDATE: Erskine College issues clarification of statement of human sexuality in accordance with Biblical worldview

“We believe the Bible teaches that monogamous marriage between a man and a woman is God’s intended design for humanity.”

Erskine volleyball players Drew Davis (left) and Juan Varona (Image credit: Erskine College).

Erskine volleyball players Drew Davis (left) and Juan Varona (Image credit: Erskine College).

— A statement issued and adopted by the Erskine College Board of Trustees regarding the school’s view of human sexuality. Last year, two players for the school’s men’s volleyball team, Drew Davis and Juan Varona, garnered some press after they came out as gay. As first reported by Outsports.com, Erskine College issued the statement, which cited Biblical-based opposition to homosexuality, promising to add the statement to its official manuals and integrate it into the larger campus culture.

The statement calls any sexual activity outside of marriage as “sinful” and “ultimately destructive to the parties involved,” adding, “As a Christian academic community, and in light of our institutional mission, members of the Erskine community are expected to follow the teachings of scripture concerning matters of human sexuality and institutional decisions will be made in light of this position.”

UPDATE: In response to a number of articles covering this issue in a variety of media outlets, Erskine College issued a statement on Friday afternoon seeking to provide additional context information for the school’s statement. The college also wanted to clarify that no students have been banned from campus, nor has Erskine sought to condemn gay students. 

Referring to the college’s statement on human sexuality, the clarification says: “This statement describes a position. It does not prescribe a policy and does not ‘ban’ any individual or class of individuals from attending Erskine. No students have been asked to leave Erskine based on this statement. 
 
“Furthermore, with respect to all applicable anti-discrimination laws and regulations, Erskine does not discriminate against any protected categories of individuals in the administration of its policies, programs or activities,” the clarification reads. However, it should also be noted that LGBT people are not considered a protected class under South Carolina law. 
 
The college’s clarification also says that the statement on human sexuality is not intended to reverse or undermine the college’s stated aim of “show[ing] hospitality and respect to all members of its community, regardless of their religious or philosophical commitments,” with the school noting that “Erskine has been and is a distinctly Christian academic community where all types of students are welcome.”
 
The college also says that there are no sanctions for any behavior or belief in their student conduct policies, and that the position of the college in the statement on sexuality simply established a point of reference, within the context of the college’s theological tradition, meaning evangelical Christianity. Erskine also reiterated, as it did in the initial statement, that it seeks to “treat all persons justly” and welcomes a civil and respectful dialogue when discussing complicated issues such as human sexuality, even advising the campus community to “practice humility and prayerfulness when engaging in any conversations or other actions related to these topics.” 
 
“These principles are not perfunctory additions to the statement,” the college wrote in its clarification. “They express the genuine intent of the board for how the administration should approach these topics and how the community should interact concerning them. This actually confirms what most of the Erskine community would say typifies how we relate to one another when we disagree.”
 
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John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at jriley@metroweekly.com