Two professors fired over homosexual behavior, another resigns in protest
Eastern Mennonite University, in Harrisonburg, Virginia, is under fire from within over its policies against homosexual behavior. Even protest organizers have been surprised that two rallies to change the policy drew about 50 people each time to unveil a 100-by-20-foot gay pride flag.
But University President Loren Swartzendruber, who took office in January, says the college is standing firm.
"I want to articulate as best I can the university expectation that, with respect to employment as well as student behavior, we will continue to follow our policy that sexual relationships are reserved for a man and a woman in marriage," he told the Richmond Times Dispatch. "That is the expectation of the Mennonite Church U.S.A, which is the denomination to which we are accountable."
At a campus forum Tuesday, Swartzendruber reiterated the denomination's stance. "While it can legitimately be argued that these are statements which may be superseded at some future point by a similar church process, this is where the Mennonite Church U.S.A. officially stands as of April 2004," he said.
Last year, two EMU professors were fired for engaging in homosexual behavior. Swartzendruber emphasizes that they were not fired for homosexual orientation. In fact, he said, two other staffers have been dismissed for heterosexual behavior outside of marriage. Swartzendruber also says that another gay faculty member did not have his contract renewed for next year, but that the decision had nothing to do with sexual orientation. That faculty member has appealed the university's decision.
Kathleen Temple, a heterosexual instructor in the school's Bible & religion department, resigned over ...1