Metro Weekly

Lesbian student says Moody Bible Institute threatened her for tweeting about sexuality

Megan Steffen says a joke about her sexuality led to being threatened with "stringent" disciplinary measures

moody bible institute, megan steffen, christian, lesbian, threaten
Moody Bible Institute — Photo: Wiki Commons

In a viral tweet that racked up close to three-hundred thousand likes, recent graduate of Moody Bible Institute Megan Steffen says she was threatened by the school’s administrators for posting a joke about attending the school as a lesbian.

Steffen received a personal letter from the fundamentalist Christian college’s Vice President and dean of student affairs, Timothy Arens, in October 2019 warning her of potential “disciplinary measures” stemming from “your inappropriate social media posts, which are inconsistent with MBI standards.”

“Even though the letter doesn’t say ‘hey, we’re punishing you, and we’re mad at you because you’re a lesbian,’ it’s very clear that that’s exactly why I’m being repeatedly reached out to,” Steffen told Chicago’s NBC 5.

It stemmed from a tweet Steffen sent joking about her sexuality, given her attendance at MBI, with an image of a woman laughing and the text, “God watching me enroll at Moody Bible Institute knowing damn well I’m Lesbian.”

Steffen reposted the tweet with an image of the letter she received from Vice President Arens:

In the letter, Arens claims Steffen’s actions are “dangerously close to the probationary level” and her punishment was the school’s “way of indicating to you our disapproval of your actions and giving you fair warning that further unwise behavior on your part will result in you being subject to more stringent disciplinary measures.”

According to the college’s student handbook “based on scripture, non-marital sex, homosexual sex, same-sex romantic relationships, and gender identification incongruent with one’s birth-sex all violate God’s generous intention for human relationships.”

“Such practices misrepresent the nature of God himself, and therefore are sinful under any circumstance…. Members of our community will neither practice nor propagate positions or activities at variance with Moody’s position,” it continues.

The handbook thus asserts: “Moody reserves the right to require the withdrawal of student whose behavior is in conflict with these standards.”

Steffens claimed homophobia is rampant against LGBTQ students at the Moody Bible Institute, telling NBC 5, “I think to a certain degree when you discriminate against people for something they can’t control, you deserve to be held accountable for that.”

She added: “I know that it’s time for them to be held accountable for their actions and for their deep seated pain they’ve caused so many people.”

Maddie DeVaughn, a former lesbian student, attested to Steffen’s assessment of the school’s bigoted attitudes towards LGBTQ students, characterizing Moody Bible as the “loneliest place I think I’ve ever been.”

DeVaughn says she felt discriminated against at all times, which led her to a suicide attempt before dropping out last year.

“It makes you feel unsafe and fearful, and that feeling of community that all of your peers have, you don’t have that,” she said.

Despite growing opposition, the Moody Bible Institute has doubled down on their zero-tolerance policies for LGBTQ students, referring to a binding Student Life Guide, which alleges that any same-sex relationships are sinful on page eight.

“For 135 years, Moody Bible Institute has offered education and training to thousands of students who seek to be equipped in God’s Word so they are able to compassionately and effectively serve the world around them,” MBI said in a statement to NBC 5. “Our care for the student body, which is guided by God’s Word and a love for them as a unique person made in God’s image, extends not only to their educational pursuits, but also their Christian maturity. We, therefore, continue to operate by our doctrinal statement as well as a set of community standards, by which everyone personally affirms.”

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