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Showing posts with label Morehouse College Is It Still A Christian College. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Morehouse College Is It Still A Christian College. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The Morehouse Man Can He Be Gay?

The mission of Morehouse College is to develop men with disciplined minds who will lead lives of leadership and service. A private historically black liberal arts college for men, Morehouse realizes this mission by emphasizing the intellectual and character development of its students. In addition, the College assumes special responsibility for teaching the history and culture of black people.

Founded in 1867 and located in Atlanta, Georgia, Morehouse is an academic community dedicated to teaching, scholarship, and service, and the continuing search for truth as a liberating force. . . . The College seeks students who are willing to carry the torch of excellence and who are willing to pay the price of gaining strength and confidence by confronting adversity, mastering their fears, and achieving success by earning it. In pursuit of its mission, Morehouse challenges itself to be among the very finest liberal arts institutions in the world. Michael Brewer, a Morehouse senior who is also a very outspoken gay rights activist. He arrived on campus knowing that he was not going to hide his gay identity and lifestyle.

Morehouse is a private, independent, four-year liberal arts college for men. It was founded in 1867 in Augusta, Georgia as the Augusta Institute; its purpose, to train freed slaves to read and write. It moved to Atlanta in 1879 and expanded its scope to prepare blacks for the ministry. Consequently, it was called Atlanta Baptist Seminary. In 1894, the first college instruction was introduced and in 1897, the first bachelor’s degree was granted and the name changed to Atlanta Baptist College. In 1913, the name changed to its present name, Morehouse College. The key is that it's a religious institution.

The college has played a key role in defining black manhood in America. But with a past steeped in religion, tradition and machismo, it has struggled to determine how homosexuality fits within that definition.

The private school was founded shortly after the Civil War with the help of Baptists sympathetic to the plight of illiterate freedmen. Over the years, it became famous for turning out the vaunted “Morehouse man” — a paragon of virtue and strength in a society that once institutionalized the destruction of the black nuclear family.

Traditionally, its students have been expected to follow a well-worn path: They were to choose ambitious wives, they were to become captains of industry, leaders of men, saviors of a race. But now students like Brewer are forcing the school to confront a hard question: Can the Morehouse man be gay?

Sen. Barack Obama has made it clear that he intends to challenge black churches to rethink their doctrines on homosexuality. Liberal arts colleges are voluntary associations, which means that students choose to go there of their own free will. And these colleges are allowed to openly and clearly set standards for behavior for faculty, staff and students, especially if these standards are linked to openly declared religious doctrines. My question: Was Brewer asked to sign a behavior code when he enrolled as a student? Did he sign it? Did it ban sex outside of marriage for all, straights and gays? In other words, Morehouse has religion in its DNA, but are religious truth claims still part of its legal identity today? Note the word “legal.” What kind of college is Morehouse, today? Does it still openly claim its Christian identity?