Singer Josh Ritter criticizes Christian college for anti-gay student policy

Singer Josh Ritter criticizes Christian college for anti-gay student policy

Singer-songwriter Josh Ritter, fresh from a performance at a private Christian college in Pennsylvania, criticized the school after learning it’s “Community Covenant” forbids its students from “sinful practices as … homosexual behavior.”

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Ritter posted on Facebook Friday evening that while on tour, he always likes to learn a little bit about the place I’m going to play, and that he was “surprised and disappointed about what he learned about Messiah College.

Today I was Grantham, Pennsylvania, at Messiah College, and as I was doing a little digging about the place I learned something that surprised and disappointed me.

Messiah College requires all students to sign a “Community Covenant” promising to, among other things, “avoid such sinful practices as…homosexual behavior….”

This policy, which I see as exclusionary and bigoted, could not run more counter to my personal beliefs. If I had done my homework, and read about Messiah’s policies ahead of time, I would never have agreed to play there.

Ritter did play at Messiah College on Friday as previously agreed, but said he used the opportunity to encourage students to “seek openness and change.”

“I spoke honestly about my personal views – that we should all have the right to love – and to marry freely, no matter what our sexual orientation. Everyone was respectful and kind, and it is my hope that they’ll continue to demand a change to the Community Covenant,” wrote Ritter.

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LGBTQ Nation first reported on Messiah’s “Community Covenant” in 2011, when an openly gay student left the school after complaining that he had been harassed by fellow students because of his sexual orientation, and that one professor call him “an abomination” in class.

Ritter said he would be donating the entire fee he received from Messiah College to The Trevor Project, the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ youth.

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