Students outfit hiring policy support

Students outfit hiring policy support

Ryan Smith, a first-year, bought shirts symbolizing support for GC hiring policies.

Ryan Smith, a first-year, bought shirts symbolizing support for GC hiring policies.

 Smith inverts conversation, shirt colors toward hiring policy support

Logan Miller

News Editor

Ryan Smith, a first-year physical education major, returned to his dorm room recently with a package full of 10 daisy-yellow t-shirts. On each shirt, purple lettering reads, “Peacefully, I support the Goshen College hiring policy.”

“I know a lot of people who are against the open letter,” said Smith. “It’s an obvious minority. The main goal of this is to get the other voice out, and this is an environment where it will be respected.”

Upon arriving on campus last Fall, Smith was asked if he would like to buy a purple, “Where’s my LGBTQ prof” shirt. When he learned what the shirts were endorsing, he got the idea to buy his 10 yellow t-shirts.

It wasn’t until he saw an article written in The Record expressing a view similar to his own that he decided to place the order.

“We hope to make another order once these shirts are seen in public,” said Smith, who said the shirts will be seen around campus within the next week.

Though he is expecting an evident amount of backlash from the GC community, Smith believes his purchase of the shirts was not an act of hatred.

“We know it’s hard, and it’s really touching the people that are LGBTQ – we’re not hating, we’re not judging,” he said.

Smith feels that the issue of GC’s hiring policy has garnered an overwhelming majority of students favoring a change in the policy. “They’re the majority, and that’s just how it’s going to be,” he said.

However, the voices urging GC to maintain its current policy are present, though not commonly expressed, Smith said.

Smith calls the current hiring policy a “compromise,” since it allows GC to hire whomever it chooses so long as the tenets of Christianity are upheld and non-heterosexual identities are kept private.

Though he acknowledges the thought processes of those that claim such a policy to be oppressive, Smith doesn’t think the ends justify the means.

“The Bible takes a clear stance against it,” Smith said. “Is it worth it to undermine the word of God for a social justice issue in our culture? I think it’s not.”

Smith said specific Bible verses serve as foundations for his beliefs, such as 1 Timothy 1: 8-11, which reads, “We know that the law is good if one uses it properly. We also know that the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers. . .for the sexually immoral, for those practicing homosexuality.”

However, for a verse to represent his reasons for purchasing these shirts, Smith said that he would prefer one that encourages people to carry out God’s work, regardless of others’ opinions.

“The issue at hand is about doing God’s work,” he said.

“We should never be afraid to voice our opinions anywhere,” said Smith, who believes that more students sharing his perspective about the hiring policy will continue to come out of the woodwork.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if there are 50 people wearing these shirts by the end of the year,” he said.

Written by Record

24 Comment responses

  1. Avatar
    March 11, 2014

    Ryan, We applaud your brave stand. It is difficult to take a stand in support of traditional values as you will be called pharisee, outdated, hater, oppressive – Take a trip over to pink menno to see who is behind all of this noise. Lots of people who used to be part of the faith community but have left to follow sinful desires. They do need God’s love to be shown to them in friendship, understanding and nurture so that they can learn and see the truth. Perhaps Goshen could get Rosario Butterfield to come on campus and help give a balanced PhD perspective from the Queer and Women’s study side of things.

  2. Avatar
    March 11, 2014

    Lets see. Wearing purple shirts that advocate sinful sexual activity is seen as a “human right” while a yellow shirt traditional understanding of the bible on a church sponsored campus is seen as violence and oppressive? Goshen, is this how far you have slid? Too bad Goshen has lost her spiritual distinctiveness and will be forced to make further cuts. Hopefully your diplomas will still be recognized in 50 years when the college is no more. My heart is sad for those professors who could have taken big university jobs but instead took well below average pay as they saw their job as a mission of the church only to see it destroyed by a few activists who couldn’t get their minds off of their sexuality.

  3. Avatar
    March 11, 2014

    Gay rights was an issue at GC when I was a student in the 80s. I’m not surprised it hasn’t gone away. What does continually surprise and unsettle me is the vitriol and even hatred that drives so many arguments (from both sides). Living on a planet of 7 billion people, we’re all bound to be confronted by people with opposing viewpoints at some point along the way. Some of them may hold (as I do) that for a disciple of Jesus, sexual activity outside a faithful monogamous heterosexual relationship is wrong. Yes, I know it’s 21st century, and that this viewpoint is increasingly seen as proof of unregenerate bigotry and backwardness. But guess what — as long as you live in a democracy, you may meet people like me. We’re not going to shut up and fade away just because we didn’t choose the politically correct flavor of the year. (Remember learning about the 1st Amendment in high school?) Following Christ requires the readiness to be a fool for him. At the same time, Christ teaches us to have reverence and respect for every human being. Let’s keep working to build a society where young people can feel free to ask questions and take positions on important matters of faith without being belittled or persecuted. Let’s love and respect every person we meet — especially those we disagree with.

  4. Avatar
    March 10, 2014

    You folks crack me up. Somehow, entire parts of the Bible are being tossed out under the guise of “Jesus never said it”. I guess Paul really didn’t know what he was talking about – so why bother using any of his writings? Seems like a bad case of selective hearing to relieve one’s itching ears. Others here are taking insignificant verses out of context and “straining at gnats while swallowing camels”.

    Ryan takes Scripture as it comes to him, supports the administration (!), is willing to talk about it, and people accuse him of being hate-filled. Give me a break.

  5. Avatar
    March 09, 2014

    Where can I buy a shirt????

  6. Avatar
    March 08, 2014

    GC: You will be lovingly and peacefully marginalized rather than taken out back and stoned as the Bible commands.

  7. Avatar
    March 08, 2014

    Seriously? We’re debating this at GC now? Uugh. It’s 2013 people.

  8. Avatar
    March 07, 2014

    You have an interesting perspective.

    I’m confused about claims of “peaceful” approach. “Peacefully” indicates that no harm or oppression is being done. However, denying someone an occupation or human rights is rather harmful and oppressive.

  9. Avatar
    March 07, 2014

    @David: Seems you draw on fallacies- I was simply giving a more complete summary of a severely abridged Bible passage, and immediately I’m a supporter of institutionalized discrimination. I am simply a supporter of GCs rights as a private college. Honor for these rights is part of the non-tuitional price one pays for choosing this school if you disagree. Perhaps you believe all colleges/ corporations/ entities should be secular. In that case, there are plenty of other college websites one can browse.

  10. Avatar
    March 07, 2014

    @Seth, it seems to me that you completely miss the point of the story you reference. Even if you do think the Bible deems same-sex relationships inherently sinful (which more and more of us do not), a careful reading of the whole story here would not support the type of institutionalized discrimination and oppression you seem to advocate. Yes, Jesus told the woman to “go and sin no more.” But he did some pretty significant other things, first. He invalidated the righteous indignation of those who would punish this woman while not first addressing their own sins and shortcomings. He shielded her from the violence of these privileged members of society. He remained with the woman in her pain, made sure she was safe from her oppressors, spoke to her instead of about her.

    Once you’ve done all of those things with regards to the LGBTQ community, and if you’re still convinced that being queer is a sin meriting institutionalized discrimination, then you can think about what “go and sin no more” means in this context. Only then.

  11. Avatar
    March 07, 2014

    Very good job, Ryan. The point here is not oppression of anyone. It’s about choosing to do what’s right. We also want the best for Goshen College. Thanks for what you are doing. You have my support.

  12. Avatar
    March 07, 2014

    Behind every opinion is a person and a background. Although I am longing for the hiring policy to change, if we don’t respectfully listen to the opposing argument, it isn’t likely they’ll listen to ours.

  13. Avatar
    March 06, 2014

    Ryan, I give you props for realizing that you are the minority. That might be the only thing I agree with. I think it’s a valid claim that LGBTQ community deserves their rights. They have come such a long way to aim for acceptance in our community.
    In my opinion, your ridiculous shirts make Goshen College an unsafe environment for students who want to engage in positive conversation. Your “brilliant” shirt idea is in my opinion a form of attack.
    Also, props to Jay Troyer.

  14. Avatar
    March 06, 2014

    @Joe: Jesus told the woman caught in adultery to go and sin no more. He didn’t say ” Ill make an exception and let you continue doing this because your life is hard and you feel oppressed by society.”

  15. Avatar
    March 06, 2014

    So will they also ask if staff had sex before marriage? Why focus on just homosexual behavior? Mr Smith have you thought about that?

  16. Avatar
    March 06, 2014

    Wonder if this freshman kid is a virgin? IF not that is a sin as well.

  17. Avatar
    March 06, 2014

    Honestly is this a joke? Did Jesus say anything about homosexual activities? If we pull verses out of the bible, then we all need to have sideburns. Some bible scholars even suggest David and Johnathan had a romantic relationship. Goshen college should hire anyone they want regardless. Jesus hung out with a prostitute even when others questioned why. You know why because Jesus invites all. Lets be like Jesus.

  18. Avatar
    March 06, 2014

    I have one question for the folks who purchase and wear these T-shirts.
    What is peaceful about in-your-face bigotry?

  19. Avatar
    March 06, 2014

    Friendship… True friendship is what moderates people’s minds and deepens their understanding. May these young people have the opportunity to really learn to know people they respect and appreciate in the GLTBQ community. Unfortunately wearing a yellow shirt makes that difficult.

  20. Avatar
    March 06, 2014

    Yes, really, peacefully! With no hate intended!

    I would love to talk about this if any of you would.

    Send me an email at and I would be happy to explain why I believe what I believe. I love to talk religion and politics!

  21. Avatar

    So you will also support GC hiring policies when they change? Because, just like slavery and male only voting and many other things that were considered “natural” in the past, biases against those with minority sexual orientations will soon be anachronistic. Just like this shirt.

  22. Avatar
    March 06, 2014

    Students are learning the ways of Goshen College; attach the word “peaceful” to anything and it should fly!

  23. Avatar
    March 06, 2014

    Wow – Peacefully? Really? in that you did no physical harm to someone? Do consider this as you wear this shirt: were I a member of the LGBTQ community, I would react to this shirt as if I had been slapped in the face, I would think you have no room for me in your world, I would not feel safe on this campus, I would wonder why you think I don’t have the same human rights as you do, to live. As an ally, I still feel slapped. (Class of 1978)

  24. Avatar
    March 06, 2014

    One hopes Ryan checked the t-shirt labels carefully before he bought them.

    “Do not wear clothing woven from two different kinds of thread.”
    Leviticus 19:19

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