Op-ed submission: Love in Christ

Deborah Rookey | Class of 2018

I am a student leader in progressive organizations on campus, former president of Wash. U. for Bernie and a queer woman.

I am also a sweet-tea drinkin’, y’all sayin’, church-goin’, Arkansan founding president of a Christian Campus Ministry.

Those of you who spend a significant amount of time on the South 40 have probably noticed flyers and even an Underpass space advertising an event called “The Original Diversity: Man and Woman in Christ.” Ignoring for a moment the bizarre view of intellectual history perpetuated by these flyers and the abuse and misuse of the word “diversity,” they draw upon an underlying, confusing dichotomy.

Why do we continue to place Christianity, and religion in general, as synonymous with bigotry?

I understand the history. It’s rather inescapable. I could write a book on how the tenets of Christianity do not align with many of the events it was used to justify—in fact, there are books out there on this—but that is not what I’m here to talk about. What I want to discuss is the event happening right here on our campus. The idea that Christian beliefs and diversity (and I mean true diversity) are incompatible blows my mind. This is a religion that was founded by a Jewish populist bringing people who previously were not welcome into the temple with him. How is that in line with exclusivity? Church has always been a source of comfort for me, a place of community, the place where I first started singing (another huge part of my life). I go to church each week to center myself for the coming days. So, when the rhetoric of my God, the one I worship and praise daily, the one I was raised to know gave their only son for me, is used to tell me that I am condemned for being who I am? I simply can’t accept that.

But the other side that I cannot accept is when people (typically my fellow liberals) see this side of Christian rhetoric and condemn the church, believing that this is representative of Christianity as a whole because this is the group that yells the loudest, because the far right has somehow claimed the name of God.

That is why I was asked by my fellow sponsors of the “Nothing But Love” event next Monday to write this op-ed. We aren’t here to divide people; we’re here to protest the forces of division itself. I’ll be there with my cross and my rainbow flag. I hope that you’ll be there too.