When Gary Campbell tried to enrol to complete his studies in Clark Summit University, a Christian college in Pensylvania, which he attended between 2001 and 2003, he was refused because of his sexual orientation.
Campbell dropped out of the college in 2003 to save money and went on to join the US Navy. He had to leave the force due to struggles with alcohol, and after 19 months of sobriety, he decided to get his life back on track by returning to education and finishing his degree, which he was just two classes away from achieving.
Upon completing his degree, Gary wanted to get a job with which he could help other recovering addicts.
Clark Summit University describes itself as a “learning community of believers dedicated to biblical higher education” and according to the student handbook, drinking, watching R-rated movies, smoking, spending time alone with members of the opposite sex and physical displays of affection are banned. Students must also attend chapel.
Campell told Pink News that the university knew of his sexuality when he attended previously. “I was under a watchful eye,” he said. “If I kissed another boy or did anything sexual it was expected of me to confess and be accountable for my actions.”
Campbell suspects that there was no previous record of his sexuality, but rather that those refusing his return to the Christian college looked at his social media accounts.
Appealing to the college, Campbell wrote: “I ask that you not view me only as a homosexual, but as a determined, compassionate, hard-working man who is of good moral character. My goal again is to assist my community and help those who are struggling in the grip of addiction.”
There is now a hashtag on Twitter, #LetGaryGraduate, demanding that the Christian college let Gary complete his Bachelor’s degree.
The most loving friends I’ve ever made were LGBTQ Christians and to disallow someone to finish an education because they experience same sex attraction is discriminatory. Jesus made gay people in His image too. Who are we to be the bouncer at His table? #LetGaryGraduate https://t.co/Vm2msvNEfX
— Alanna Paris (@elenitamarie18) September 13, 2018
It's a shame that this so-called institution of faith wants to cherry pick what part of the Bible they want to preach. Above all, they won't share how they figured out his sexuality. https://t.co/BSw5yi2jGD #LetGaryGraduate Thank you @LackawannaEDU for stepping up!
— Ankur Ponda (@ankurponda) September 13, 2018
.@ClarksSummitU u r not #Christians. With hate u perpetuate, u wouldn’t know love of #JesusChrist if it slapped u in the face. Please learn how to love & stop judging ppl & ruining their lives. Ever heard of LOVE THY NEIGHBOUR? The great and first commandment? #LetGaryGraduate
— AussieWhisperLounge (@AussieWhisperL) September 12, 2018
Defending their actions, Clark Summit College issued a statement to Fox56 saying: “As a Christian college, we expect all students to act in a way that is consistent with our biblical belief system. We have always clearly stated those beliefs and have exercised the freedom to uphold our faith.”
Meanwhile, another Pennsylvania University is looking into helping Gary to complete his degree. Lackawanna College President Mark Volk said that the college is looking into transferring the credits that Gary had already earned so that he can complete his degree with them.
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