by Alexa Schwerha
Students at DePaul University, a private Catholic university in Illinois, are circulating a petition demanding the elimination of a Christian group after it posted a Q&A on its now-deleted Instagram page denouncing LGBTQ lifestyles, student newspaper The DePaulia reported.
Signees called on DePaul University officials to ban the group “from meeting on campus and promoting discrimination against members of the LGBTQIA+ community,” according to the petition titled “Eliminate Vessel.” Vessel is not an official student organization on campus and appears to have deleted their Instagram page soon after sharing that they are a “non-affirming” group and “do not agree that the LGBTQIA+ lifestyle is supported by biblical text. Below are verses which support this,” according to a screenshot obtained by the DePaulia.
“The greater context for this is that sin is anything that separates us from God. We are all sinners and have fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23), yet Jesus died for our sins so we can be reconciled and have a relationship with Him,” the post reportedly read. “That is why we would like to make it clear that EVERYONE is welcome at Vessel. This is a space where we come as we are to learn more about Jesus. We are here to grow and journey with one another regardless of our stance on various issues such as this one.”
The petition alleged that the statement violated DePaul’s anti-discrimination policy, but Brigid O’Brien, the student who started the petition, wrote in a March 6 update that administrators confirmed it did not.
“Expressing a belief that an entire group of individuals is inherently ‘sinful’ in their lifestyle (although being LGBTQIA+ is not a choice and not a lifestyle) doesn’t violate anything here at DePaul,” O’Brien wrote. “Isn’t that crazy?!”
The petition currently has more than 600 signatures. Spectrum DePaul, a “queer social community-based student organization,” published a statement on its Instagram stating it is “ashamed” that students would attempt to form “an organization with values based on exclusion and bigotry.”
“We are proud of the action the DePaul community took against this organization and are heartened to know how supportive the DePaul community is in the face of homophobia,” the post reads.
Vessel did not intend for the post to offend anyone and argued that “disagreement is not harassment,” members told the DePaulia in a statement.
“Recently, our small group Vessel was questioned on our views of sexuality and relationships. In no way did we intend to harm, or seem to ostracize or reject the LGBTQIA+ community at DePaul,” the statement read. “In fact, we would much rather focus on worship and community building, key aspects of our faith community. We have reached out to those who have raised issues with our group (none of these people have attended or attempted to attend a meeting) in order to promote conversation and understanding, but none have followed up on this.”
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Alexa Schwerha is a reporter at Daily Caller News Foundation.
Photo “DePaul University” by DePaul University.