Exeter College Oxford bans the Pope
Oxford University takes its Christian foundations very seriously. Or it used to. Despite all-pervasive political-correctness and multi-faith multiculturalism, its higher degrees are still bestowed upon graduands Ad honorem Domini nostri Jesu Christi, et ad profectum Sarosanctae Matris Ecclesiae. As they kneel before the Vice-Chancellor, he touches each one upon the head with a Testament, admitting them in nomine Domini, Patris, Filii et Spirutus Sancti. No one has (yet) sought to rid the University of this appalling bigotry; not even the emeritus rabid
Oxford has produced around 12 saints of the Church and some 20 Archbishops of Canterbury. Amongst its stellar theological alumni rank the names of John Wycliffe, John Locke, William Tyndale, John Colet and John and Charles Wesley. The University was inspired by and founded upon the fundamental tenets of the Christian faith: eradicate Christianity, and you cease to understand the academic culture and spiritual values which spawned one of the greatest seats of learning in the world. At various points throughout history, when that faith has been imperiled, men arose to establish theological halls and houses to address disbelief. When the college chapels were faced with closure, these became a bulwark of orthodoxy and sound doctrine.
But gradually the Fabians, atheists and secular-humanists have taken over. Chaplains have been downgraded, and Christians no longer dare to defend their faith for fear of being accused of bigotry, racism, or (worse) anti-intellectualism. St Catherine's College was the first Oxford college to be built without a chapel: it is a ghastly ‘Barbican’ structure without architectural merit. St Antony’s converted its 19th-century chapel into a library; Sommerville’s is multi-faith (with space for anti-faith); and many of the others are poorly attended shrines to the divines of yesteryear. Oxford University, like most British institutions, is rotting from within.
And now Exeter College, founded in 1314 as a school to educate clergy, is being harangued by a homosexual student for having the audacity to rent out its premises during the Easter recess to a Christian group. Why? Because some of its staff believe – shock horror – homosexuality to be (shhh...) a sin, from which one may be delivered. You’re free to believe it, of course: they're not opposed (yet) to freedom of conscience. But God forbid that you would ever seek to give voice to that belief in this Oxford college.
And so the complaint of that solitary student has now spread to hordes of other students, lecturers and gay rights campaigners (ie Stonewall). And lo, verily, are they come unto the Rector Frances Cairncross to demand, yea, demand that their college be purged of this defilement, for gayness is to be lauded and celebrated (and college buildings given over gratis for the celebration of such). But these vile Christians, yea, these vermin who believe homosexuals are 'sinners' who may be 'cured', are never again to set foot within its hallowed quadrangles.
The group concerned is Christian Concern, which has hired the college to host a five-day event known as the 'Wilberforce Academy'. The group’s chief executive Andrea Minichiello Williams has, apparently, previously said that homosexuality is a 'sin' and is a supporter of 'corrective therapy' treatment for gay couples.
This is, of course, deeply offensive and now constitutes ‘gay hate’ and ‘homophobia’. And so Exeter College is coming under pressure to cancel the event. The Rector is aghast, and said: “Given Exeter College’s strong record in protecting the rights and dignity of its gay and lesbian members, I am especially dismayed that we should come under attack. The college and its governing body have always worked hard to ensure that its members of all sexual orientations felt safe here and secure from any hostility. Given our contractual situation the governing body believes that cancelling the conference booking is not a viable option. However, we are reviewing the basis on which we take bookings for conferences in future.”
So cancellation is ‘not viable' (ie, a contract is a contract, and to cancel at this stage would be met with litigation and costs), and the College is ‘reviewing the basis on which (they) take bookings for conferences in future’ (ie they will henceforth ensure that no person associated with any discussion or debate about anything which may be deemed ‘homophobic’ will ever again be able to hire its facilities).
Let us consider for a moment that Andrea Minichiello Williams sincerely believes that homosexuality may be cured, and that this is her vocation, her mission, her whole raison d’ être. And let us agree that she is barking. And let us consider that Christian Concern simply wishes to hold a five-day conference for the exclusive, if not obsessive, discussion of such. And let us agree that this is theologically myopic, spiritually ignorant, manifestly unloving and utterly irrelevant to the Gospel of Christ.
What does any of this have to do with the student body during recess? Is it not simply a commercial matter? Does the College (and its student body) now have to agree with the moral worldview and meta-ethical beliefs of every organisation which seeks to hire its premises? Are they about to ban Christian unions and Catholic societies from operating under their aegis for fear of ‘homophobic’ expression? Or does this censorship apply only to external bodies? Will Oxford colleges hire out their halls to those who seek to limit or ban abortion and contraception? To those who preach sexual abstinence? To those who believe the mere orientation toward homosexuality to be an ‘objective disorder’? To those who believe marriage to be a union of one man and one woman? Would Exeter College rent out its buildings to a conference organised by the Holy See or attended by Pope Benedict XVI?