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Let the Community Decide

DISSENT:

By Liam T.A. Ford

The staff position cloaks its virulent antireligious bias none too well. Although it feigns agreement with President Neil L. Rudenstine's decision not to judge the issue, the staff nonetheless believes itself more equipped than the president to render a decision. Witness its disdainful insinuation that only "a Biblical literalist" could believe that the Bible condemns homosexual acts.

The staff, in other words, wishes to have its cake and eat it too. While calling for the University to cease its institutionalization of Christianity as its semi-official religion, the staff wants to make clear that Concerned Christians at Harvard consists of people who think the world is only 5000 years old.

Even if the staff were to admit that the Bible might possibly have some validity, it would still take sides on the call for the Reverend Gomes' resignation. Regardless of Rudenstine's role. The Crimson wishes to dictate to members of Harvard's Christian community the type of pastor with which it should be comfortable.

That the staff cannot (or does not wish to) allow the distinction between hating the sin and loving the sinner reveals more than a simple misunderstanding of theology.

It is doubtful, for example, that the Christian community at Harvard would accept the continued ministry of someone who denied that "thou shalt not kill" is a tenet of modern Christian morality. Similarly, the Rev. Gomes has a right to say that his version of Christianity allows homosexual activity. But he and the staff cannot deny that traditional Christian morality holds an opposite view.

And there are many Christian Harvard students who, although less strident in their opposition to Gomes' teachings than is CCH, would accept 2000 years of tradition over 20 weeks of a new interpretation. They are not all literalists, and they do not all hate homosexuals. If they have left Memorial Church it is because of what Gomes has preached, not because he is gay.

Those who disagree with Gomes' interpretation of the Bible--and "Anderson and his four friends" are not the only ones--have at least as much right to determine who will head their Christian community as The Crimson does.

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