Oxford Bans Christian Group Over LGBT Claims Threat To Physical, Mental Safety
By PNW StaffNovember 26, 2018
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Conservative Christian organizations continue to find their ability to operate on college campuses under fire. The latest act of discrimination came against the group Christian Concern when it tried to host one of its Wilberforce Academy events at Oxford University in the UK. The Wilberforce Academy’s mission is to "train and equip students on what it means to proclaim Christ in public life".
The student body of the Junior Common Room (JCR) rejected Christian Concern's booking at Lady Margaret Hall by a vote of 81 to 8 with only 2 students abstaining. Now the final decision rests with the government body of the JCR student association.
Outside the official vote, there has already been heated debate on the issue between students who perceive the Christian beliefs of Christian Concern as a threat to their lifestyles and others who see efforts to ban and silence Christian views on campus as a threat to free speech in an academic environment that purports to prize freedom of thought.
But those who campaigned against allowing Christian Concern to use the campus did so not only with the excuse that they found Christian views to be offensive, but also that they felt that those attending the Christian training would present a "real threat to the physical and mental safety of students" still on campus.
A spokesperson for Christian Concernsaid in a statement to the Christian Post that "It is disappointing that the college and its students would appear to feel so threatened by an event promoting the same Christian values as Oxford University has so clearly been shaped by."
The spokesperson also notes that nine other Academies have been held and no harm was caused by any of the events and on the contrary, they were said to be exemplary guests on the campuses where they held their activities. It is perplexing, she went on to say, "how the historic Christian view of marriage, gender and sanctity of life would constitute a threat to students' physical and mental safety."
An unnamed student interviewed for the Christian Post story summed up the issue succinctly when he said, "If the college believes in a quantifiable risk of harassment, I'd be in favor of rejecting the conference, but it looks like the JCR are rejecting them on an ideological basis, which seems actively against its own nebulous values."
Without any past complaints of harassment or violence and without any concrete assessment predicting that incidents are likely to occur, all that is left is fear of Christian views and Christians themselves. Open debate and free speech are not possible when one considers the mere presence of those with differing beliefs to be a "threat to mental safety" or even a "physical danger".
One of the students who voted against allowing Christian Concern to hold Wilberforce Academy on the campus expressed a common sentiment by saying that "we're inviting them into our home and we can't invite people who stand against our values." The students who voted, led by a group of LGBT rights activists, find it abhorrent that Christians would be allowed space near where they live and study.
No one, including members of Christian Concern, is demanding that Oxford students adopt their Christian beliefs. No one is demanding that they protest abortion clinics, speak out against the homosexual agenda or accept the Bible as the inerrant word of God.
But the 81 students who voted to ban Christian Concern from their campus did just that, declaring that not only do they disagree with these Christian beliefs but that by merely holding such beliefs one should be barred from the common sphere of society.
This movement to ban Christian Concern, led by a LGBT group on campus, flies in the face of the university's core mission of allowing free speech and intellectual exchange on campus. As universities have become more liberal and increasingly hostile both to religion and conservative values, many have begun to label conservative and Christian views themselves as dangerous or threatening.
Gone now is any pretext of intellectual freedom when the mere existence of alternate views is unacceptable.
This is the true threat to the mental safety of the students of Oxford, a climate of censorship and fear that would ban groups from setting foot on campus because they dare to hold views not in line, not with the university itself, but with those of radical atheists or LGBT activists.
Lose this intellectual freedom and the prospects for debate at even the best universities become little more than echo chambers of leftist thought that stifles any real discourse.