Soulforce Denounces Forced Resignation of Carl Ruby at Cedarville University
PRESS RELEASE: March 3, 2013
“Apparently, ‘love the sinner, hate the sin,’ is too much compassion for gay students at Cedarville.” – Rev. Dr. Cindi Love, Executive Director, Soulforce
(Abilene, TX) – Soulforce, an organization that nonviolently resists religious oppression of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people, denounces what appears to be the forced resignation of Vice President for Student Life, Carl Ruby, from Cedarville University. Ruby resigned on January 10, 2013, and the resignation was upheld at a meeting of the University’s board of trustees on Saturday, February 23.
“It appears that Carl Ruby was compelled to resign because of his compassionate concern for LGBT students at Cedarville,” said Rev. Dr. Cindi Love, Executive Director of Soulforce. “This is despite the fact that he held to the school’s fundamentalist Biblical interpretation that homosexuality is a sin. Apparently, ‘love the sinner, hate the sin,’ is too much compassion for gay students at Cedarville.”
Soulforce visited Cedarville University, a small Baptist college outside Dayton, Ohio, in 2007 as part of its flagship program, the Equality Ride, which brings young LGBT activists to conservative Christian colleges for dialogue. A New York Times article on Ruby’s resignation cited Ruby’s welcoming of the Equality Ride as a possible cause for the school administration’s action.
Dr. David Olsen, a 1984 alumnus of Cedarville, and the director of Cedarville OUT, an LGBT alumni association of the school, has continued a long-standing dialogue with Ruby about the difficulties gay students face at conservative Christian colleges. “Carl is my friend,” said Dr. Olsen, “and although we disagree on Biblical interpretation, he would never let that get in the way of his caring for other people. In this sense he’s a true Christian.”
Dr. Olsen believes a final straw in forcing Ruby’s resignation was his creation of “safe spaces” on campus for LGBT students to come together and meet for mutual support. Allowing space for these discussions did not reflect a change in the school’s policy toward homosexuality, but at least allowed LGBT or questioning students to discuss their feelings without fear of condemnation or expulsion. “It wasn’t even a ‘safe space’ Carl was creating, just a ‘safer space.’ That was too much for Cedarville,” Dr. Olsen said.
Rev. Dr. Love sees a silver lining in Cedarville’s decision. “We are getting to a point where evangelical schools are going to have to decide what homophobia has to do with their identity as Christian colleges. This was the question we were hoping to provoke seven years ago when the Equality Ride first started visiting these schools: Can you continue to call yourself Christian and reject your LGBT students? We’re trying to take the identity crisis off the shoulders of the LGBT students and place it on the administration and the faculty of the schools.”
Rev. Dr. Love has further comments on the situation at Cedarville in her most recent Huffington Post Article: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rev-dr-cindi-love/cedarville-baptists-send-vp-and-president-packing_b_2714282.html