A student at Moody Bible Institute (MBI), a Christian college in Chicago, has revealed that she was placed on “warning status” after she tweeted about being a lesbian.
Megan Steffen, who recently graduated, shared how she was threatened with further “disciplinary measures” if she wasn’t “trained” by the experience.
In a viral post which was retweeted almost 20,000 times, the former student posted a picture of “how it started” – a tweet she wrote that read: “God watching me enrol at Moody Bible Institute knowing damn well I’m lesbian.”
“How it ended” was a letter from the college’s vice president, sent in October 2019, which stated: “You are being placed on warning status through the remainder of the semester.
“This action is being taken due to your inappropriate social media posts, which are inconsistent with MBI standards.”
In an interview with NBC 5, the former MBI student said although the Christian college didn’t specifically say, “Hey, we’re punishing you, and we’re mad at you because you’re a lesbian”, it was “very clear that that’s exactly why I [was] being repeatedly reached out to”.
Steffens, who is calling for homophobia at the college to be addressed, added: “I think when you discriminate against people for something they can’t control, you deserve to be held accountable for that… I know that it’s time for them to be held accountable for their actions and for their deep seated pain they’ve caused so many people.”
According to the college’s student handbook, it “affirms the worth and relevance of human gender and sexuality, and of sexual intimacy as a distinctive of marriage”.
It continues: “Based on scripture, non-marital sex, homosexual sex, same-sex romantic relationships, and gender identification incongruent with one’s birth-sex all violate God’s generous intention for human relationships.
“Such practices misrepresent the nature of God himself, and therefore are sinful under any circumstance… Members of our community will neither practice nor propagate positions or activities at variance with Moody’s position.”
The handbook adds: “Moody reserves the right to require the withdrawal of student whose behavior is in conflict with these standards.
“Individuals who do not fit in with the objectives and ideals of Moody may be asked to withdraw whenever the general welfare demands it, even though there may be no specific breach of contract.”
According to its website, the college also believes that “church offices should be limited to the male gender”, and its understanding of science “excludes any position that allows for any evolutionary process”.
It even has a student society “to raise awareness of the lives threatened by abortion“, and prospective students “who have been divorced, married to a spouse previously divorced, or currently separated [are] considered for admission on a case-by-case basis”.
Maddie Devaughn, another lesbian former student of the Christian college, also told NBC 5 that MBI was “loneliest place I think I’ve ever been”.
She added: “It makes you feel unsafe and fearful, and that feeling of community that all of your peers have, you don’t have that.”
Responding in a statement, the college said: “For 135 years, Moody Bible Institute has offered education and training to thousands of students who seek to be equipped in God’s word so they are able to compassionately and effectively serve the world around them.
“Our care for the student body, which is guided by God’s word and a love for them as a unique person made in God’s image, extends not only to their educational pursuits, but also their Christian maturity.
“We, therefore, continue to operate by our doctrinal statement as well as a set of community standards, by which everyone personally affirms.”