News & Politics

LGBT Students Disrupt Duke Divinity School Proceedings, Present 15 Demands

(Kaitlin McKeown/The Herald-Sun via AP)

Student activists at many colleges aren’t content to allow anyone or anything to stand in opposition to them. They don’t want dialogue, they want subservience.

Take, for example, the antics of campus LGBT activists during the Duke Divinity School’s State of the School address. The Duke Chronicle reports, “The group, which identified themselves as LGBTQIA+ Duke Divinity students and allies, was protesting the treatment of students with marginalized sexual orientations and gender identities in the school.”

The group listed 15 demands that they expect the school to address. If the school fails to act, the group has threatened more “non-violent, direct action.”

The LGBT students felt that the school is quick to trumpet its diversity by having these LGBT students in the first place, but supposedly pushes them into the background otherwise. That’s behavior no one would tolerate. But is it true?

Elaine Heath, dean of the Divinity School and professor of missional and pastoral theology, wrote in response to the outcry: “The issues raised by the students point to the need to continue this dialogue to grow as a diverse and hospitable community that generates an environment for deeper and broader theological reflection and formation, amidst a church and culture that is divided and faces further fragmentation.”

That’s a fancy way of saying “let’s learn together,” which is what’s supposed to happen.

However, these LGBT students don’t want discussions. They want surrender.

They are demanding a class on queer theology to be taught no later than next semester. They are demanding the school hire a “black trans woman or gender non-conforming theologian” and a tenure-track trans woman theologian.

Madeline Reyes, a first-year Divinity School student and the group’s press representative, was “furious” at Heath’s reasonable answer:

“[Heath] is using the language of the ‘white moderate’ Dr. [Martin Luther King Jr.] warned us about in his ‘Letters from a Birmingham Jail,’” Reyes said. “Civil discourse has not worked, nor is it our job to engage in such discourse with those who have done violence to us.”

Comparing Ms. Heath’s response to “violence,” and to the arrests, fire hoses, and police dogs unleashed on MLK’s protesters, is delusional and shameless. This is not behavior that the administration should tolerate, but administrations with the moral clarity to tell these students the truth are few these days.