What is the difference between being an advocate and being a bully? In modern political activism, the line continues to blur as so many on the left refuse to separate one from the other. At Baylor University, a private Baptist college located in Waco, Texas, this distinction and lack of respect for it from liberal activists has been well demonstrated.
LGBTQ Nation reported, “Queer and conservative students are clashing at a religious Texas university.” It describes the “clashing” as, “The LGBTQ students, united under the Greek letters Gamma Alpha Upsilon (GAY), say that YAF [Young America’s Foundation] has made baseless accusations that GAY ‘is violent and [has] intentionally threatened or sabotaged their members/meetings’ by tearing down YAF event fliers and disrupting meetings.”
It’s Not a Clash When One Side Isn’t Fighting
The LGBT organization argues that while LGBT student members do, in fact, routinely tear down fliers and signs for upcoming conservative events and are known for “voicing displeasure over YAF’s conservative speakers,” the students are not acting with authorization from the organization itself. Despite the ongoing dispute over these accusations, members of the organization have so aggressively petitioned school officials to ban well-known conservative speakers such as Matt Walsh and Ben Shapiro, the school is attempting negotiation meetings in an effort to quell the controversy. An “equity officer,” charged with investigating claims of discrimination and harassment, was even involved regarding Shapiro’s upcoming November speech, although a representative of the LGBT group denied requesting officer involvement.
Prior to Walsh’s speech, LGBT students organized petitions “denouncing it that garnered thousands of signatures, as well as an attempt to have the event cancelled, claiming Walsh’s presence on campus threatened the physical and emotional well being of students and faculty.” The school’s multicultural department organized a counter “love feast” event to deter planned protests. One student tweeted, “Letter organizers have gotten some q’s about what Baylor folks should do Tuesday night. Our advice? Don’t give YAF & their speaker the attention they crave. Instead, attend Dia Love Feast, an alternative event celebrating the diversity that makes Baylor great.”
In September, LGBT organization Vice President Anna Conner stated, “Our club does not disagree with Ben Shapiro coming to campus, nor did we disagree with Matt Walsh last semester.” Conner admitted that one member did tear down fliers promoting the Walsh event, but said the member was acting in a personal capacity, not on behalf of the organization.
Zachary Miller, the chair of Baylor’s YAF group, told The College Fix, “The university kind of protects them in a way. … They tore down our fliers and did things against the university policy, which we reported them for, and not only did they not receive any disciplinary action, the university is now obviously negotiating with them to negotiate with us.”
Why Is This LGBT Conflict Occurring?
Despite the conflicting narratives and ongoing tensions between the groups, one important question is missing from the discussion: Why is it a conflict in the first place? A protest from a rival school during a football game gives some insight into this question.
In September, the Rice University marching band performed an LGBT pride demonstration on the field. The demonstration included dozens of LGBT and gender identity flags and LGBT-themed songs. Protesting the Baptist university’s denial of official recognition of the LGBT organization, the spokesperson for the band said, “And so we all got to our show writing meeting Sunday, and we were like, ‘Oh my gosh, this is like exactly what our show needs to be about. We absolutely need to call Baylor out for this.’ From there, it just kind of happened.”
The university has openly stated it is inclusive and open and cares about its LGBT students. The reasoning behind the official denial of the LGBT group follows the school’s religious purpose, as it has stated, “[It is] expected that Baylor students will not participate in advocacy groups which promote understandings of sexuality that are contrary to biblical teaching,” including “heterosexual sex outside of marriage and homosexual behavior.” Beyond this premise, the university has gone out of its way to protect and advocate for LGBT students, demonstrated by ongoing “negotiations” between the LGBT group and YAF, as well as the university providing the LGBT group a meeting room.
The school is both private and Christian, specifically Baptist, which holds to traditional biblical teaching. LGBT students are not denied entrance, expelled, treated poorly, given bad grades, nor banned from congregating. They do not need to hide relationships or conceal their sexual or gender identities. All LGBT students who attend the school have chosen to do so with the understanding of the university’s principles and policies. Yet the conflict comes exclusively from LGBT students breaking campus rules about behavior toward other students and staging protest campaigns against speeches completely unrelated to them or their interests.
While the conversation has centered on how the university ideologically views sexuality, the real discussion should be focused on how the LGBT students view their participation in this particular culture and institution. Why is it necessary to force the university to officially recognize an organization that specifically violates core religious and moral foundations of the school? Why is it necessary for LGBT students to tear down fliers and hysterically claim fear and personal injury at the very existence of a campus speech they assume will offend them? Why does LGBT advocacy require imposing views on every other student at the university?
This LGBT ‘Clash’ Is Simply Bullying
There is no “clash” between conservative students and LGBT students, as there is no conservative effort to silence or ban LGBT student activities on campus. The issue comes solely from leftist students who feel entitled to deny other students the opportunity to hear points of view they have deemed unacceptable. More to the point, out of the thousands of heavily leftist universities across the country, why is it so important for the left to make these demands at conservative Christian schools?
Advocating for a point of view can be a very positive experience for everyone involved. In this scenario, a group of LGBT students gathering together to provide a space for other LGBT Christian students to discuss common issues would be welcome. The students could hold their own discussions and invite their own speakers, even without being officially recognized by the university, and they would find nothing but tolerance.
The bullying comes in trying to force an ideologically driven institution to violate its values to satisfy one faction’s desire for validation and public approval. Whether as an organized force or individually, the fact that the LGBT students are intolerant of conservatives engaging in separate activities is evidence of their motivations.
Leftist activism has taught multiple generations of students that equality requires the total elimination of disagreement and the complete erasure of dissenting views. There is no reason both groups could not function independently without conflict, but leftism requires advocates to shout down and banish thought that threatens its worldview.
Most importantly, it is becoming more and more impossible for Christian organizations to simply exist free from the constant harassment of leftist groups demanding concessions of morality and principles. There is absolutely no reason a private Christian university cannot advocate for its culture of values and morality without facing endless conflict. The only purpose in LGBT students behaving as they are is bullying.