Church hosts ‘Affirming Ministries Fair’ in response to Christian school standing firm on Biblical values

The fair was announced on the organization’s Facebook page and had a list of 12 churches and groups sponsoring the event.

Other religious universities have faced legal repercussions for adhering to their religious beliefs.

Southside Faith Communities (SFC) hosted an “Affirming Ministry Fair” on Nov. 3 after Samford University (SU), located in Birmingham, Alabama, stood up for traditional Biblical values after students attempted to form an LGBTQ group called OUTLaw. 

The fair was announced on Oct. 11 on the organization’s Facebook page and had a list of 12 churches and groups sponsoring the event.

The fair came in the wake of the Christian university taking a firm stance on supporting traditional marriage. 

Students attempted to start the LGBTQ group “OUTLaw” on campus during the fall semester. On Oct. 20, Angela Whitlock, a Cumberland Law student at Samford who attempted to start the group, received an email, obtained by Campus Reform, from university President Beck Taylor denying official status to the group on campus. 

“Civil discourse on matters of human sexuality and other subjects at the forefront of the public debate will always exist at Samford, and the university is not retreating from those discussions,” Taylor wrote. 

[RELATED: OPINION: What is the point of having Christian universities if they can’t have Christian beliefs?]

“Nevertheless, extending official university recognition to a student organization that advocates for beliefs and behaviors contrary to the religious values of Samford would be inconsistent with my responsibilities as president.”

Whitlock told Campus Reform that SU was “cherry-picking the Bible to support oppression.”

This decision is not about the University’s right to decline initiatives or requests that don’t fit with its religious values,” Whitlock argued. “I honorably served my country for over 11 years in the United States Army...I strongly support the freedom of religion. However, I don’t support Samford cherry-picking the Bible to justify oppression.”

Whitlock also attended the fair, noting her apprehension towards “Christians as a whole” but said the fair exceeded her expectations. 

There were so many more ministries that approached me and truly made me feel welcome. I thought to myself, “This is what it’s all about... THIS is the love of Christ,” Whitlock said. 

Campus Reform also contacted SFC, who explained they were delighted at the turnout. 

”We were overjoyed at the attendance for our Affirming Ministry Fair for Samford students,” the spokesperson stated. “While we hope for a world where Samford students may have a full range of ministry opportunities offered to them on campus, we will continue to provide support and affirmation for Samford’s LGBTQ+ population, loving our neighbor as our faith traditions insist.”

[RELATED: UPDATE: Open letter to Jewish university condemns newly formed student group]

Other religious universities have faced legal repercussions for adhering to their religious beliefs. 

Campus Reform has followed Yeshiva University’s (YU) lengthy battle with the YU Pride Alliance over the group’s demand to be officially recognized by the Jewish university. 

Despite YU extending an olive branch by creating an alternate group for LGBTQ students that wish to follow the Torah, the YU Pride Alliance condemned the move calling it a “desperate stunt” and a “sham.”

In July, Seattle Pacific Univeristy (SPU) students raised $37,000 to file a lawsuit after discovering that SPU staff are required to adhere to biblical standards in their personal as well as professional lives. 

The policy states that “as members of this academic and faith community” staff are prohibited from “cohabitation,” “same-sex sexual activity,” as well as other prohibited activities. 

The university is still currently dealing with the lawsuit. 

Campus Reform contacted SFC, Samford University, and Whitlock for comment. This article will be updated accordingly. 

Follow @kliseanderson on Twitter.