Open Letter to Asbury University

4 11 2010

Asbury University (formerly Asbury College) is playing Fox News in the campus gym and cafeteria. When did Asbury start teaching propaganda instead of truth? When did it lose its compassion?

Shortly after college I married a fellow Asburian who declared his homosexuality a year later. He was told by an Asbury faculty member that if he got married he would be “cured” of his homosexuality. I was the victim of this declaration and yet I was able to forgive the College for its naiveté.  

Now, the views espoused are attacks against my son (who is the child of my straight second husband). And that I cannot forgive so easily.

My son is on the autism spectrum. The Republican Party and its mouthpiece, Fox News, have mocked those with autism specifically and those with pre-existing conditions more generally. Leaders in the Republican Party think my son is a wrecked car with “autism”.  I cannot—and will not—support a political party who values money over people.  I cannot—and will not—support an institution that condones ridiculing “the least of these”.

As a result of Asbury’s shift from a conservative Christian institution to an extension of the political party whose leaders call my son—who is a gift from God, perfect and created in God’s own image—unworthy of equality;  I am changing my Will so that it no longer includes your institution.

The Jesus I know doesn’t think little kids with pre-existing conditions should be discriminated against in favor of profits. The Jesus I know doesn’t hate or ridicule people who disagree with him. The Jesus I know teaches compassion and charity.

“I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. They are not much like your Christ.” –Gandhi

Please call Asbury and tell them to turn off Fox. 1-859-858-3511 (X 2105 alumni office)




2 responses

4 11 2010
Brad Camilleri

I am one of the admissions counselors at Asbury University and I am also an alum (class of 2001). I share your concern about a single political party being represented as the party of Christians everywhere or of Asbury University specifically. I would like to comment on your concerns if I may from my perspective.

As someone who currently works at Asbury, I can say that the TV channels broadcast in various buildings on campus are chosen by individuals who happen to work in the cafeteria or in the athletic building and who are responsible for turning these TVs on in the morning and not by the administration in some broadly intentional way. If someone working in the cafeteria wanted to watch CNN or ESPN (and they do sometimes) that channel is on. If a student wanted to have it changed to another channel, be it MSNBC or FOX NEWS, that is allowed as well. If a TV is on FOX NEWS more than another channel, it is because the person that normally turns that particular TV on happens to be a fan of FOX NEWS.

More importantly, I would like to say that in my experience at Asbury there is a palpable concern for people with specific needs and concerns, especially among the student body themselves I am proud to say. We have many students, faculty, and staff who are personally investing in the needs of members of our community: physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. We have a number of students at Asbury who are on the autism spectrum, many of whom receive personal support from a number of “behind-the-scenes” support resources that we invest in institutionally but which are rarely seen by the casual observer. Additionally, we have many students studying in areas like Education, Social Work, and Equine Facilitated Wellness who are specifically training to help meet the needs of those who have unique needs and also unique abilities.

I want you to know that even though i don’t know him personally, I care about your son and his well-being, and I believe many others here would as well, regardless of how they tend to vote (and I tend to vote Democractic for what it’s worth).

I would like to apologize on behalf of Asbury University for how the decisions of individuals who have worked and lived here have hurt you, directly and indirectly. If there is any way that you know of that we can rectify any harm done to you, I would like to advocate for that for you. Please let me know if I can help make things right, in as much as that is possible (and I understand that it is not possible in many situations).

Thank you for your honesty and thank you for allowing me to respond. I hope it is received in the spirit that I intend.

Brad Camilleri

4 11 2010

Thank you Brad.

It seems the loudest voices from the Christian camp are so loud, angry and judgemental that the softer, compassionate and reasonable voices get burried. I appreciate your williness to share your perspective and I am heartened to know that Fox doesn’t speak for the institution.

I know of several more families who are upset by Asbury’s apparent far “right” bent and are in process of changing their Wills to exclude Asbury. It’s unfortunate… perhaps a PR article in the next magazine is appropriate..?

My son shows a gift for editing video and while I believe that Asbury has one of the best programs in the Country, I wouldn’t feel comfortable sending him there. We have forgone reunions because of my lack of confidence in Kids College working with a child who isn’t “typical”. I am so glad to know that Asbury has students on the autism spectrum and that supports are provided so that they can succeed! This also may be a good topic for the magazine… with a P.S.– Asbury doesn’t believe that marriage “cures” homosexuality! 🙂

I appreciate your offer to advocate for me, and for your apologies on behalf of Asbury. You’re a good man. Advocate for those who can’t speak for themselves– be a Christian that Gandhi would like… and consider putting all the campus TVs on Boomerang before hiding the remotes! 🙂

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