The Christian organization Young Life, which is geared towards middle, high school and college students, is in hot water for a leaked document that indicates they’re enforcing anti-LGBTQ policy on its employees. The organization is crying foul and insists they’re completely accepting of the LGBTQ community, although they do insist on adherence to a conduct code with staff members. Officials at Young Life are apparently implying gay and lesbian staffers are fine, as long as they remain celibate and adhere to strict Protestant guidelines regarding sexuality.
They released the following statement:
Young Life is for kids from all walks of life. Every kid is made in the image of God and deserves to be loved, respected and dignified. We are providing the leaders of our 8,500 local ministries with new resources and additional training to ensure they are equipped to create an environment in which every young person, regardless of sexual or gender identity, race, background or other factor, is welcomed with the love and understanding of faithful adults who personally demonstrate the compassion and truth of Jesus in both relationships and activities.
Second, like all religious organizations, Young Life expects those seeking leadership positions [to] support Young Life’s beliefs, tenets, and policies on a wide range of theological issues. One of those issues is human sexuality, and Young Life is confident — with continued study, prayer and reflection — that our theology is faithful to God’s vision for this important aspect of the human experience. We are working to ensure those who currently hold or may be interested in [holding] leadership positions in Young Life [to] understand our beliefs and expectations. To be clear, these are expectations of leaders, not for participants in Young Life programs…
The organization has five locations in or near Charlotte and over forty locations in North Carolina. Young Life is featured heavily in extracurriculars for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Public Schools and boasts spin-off programs such as Carmel Middle School’s “WyldLife” club.
“WyldLife” claims Christian teachings are a necessity for developing youth, and that programs such as Paint Wars and basketball games will somehow “help” kids who are searching for belonging.
While the leaked Young Life file claims young people of any sexual identity, gender identity and race are welcome to participate in community events, the document confirms the teaching must be done by those who adhere to specific guidelines — that cannot be done by any individuals who are LGBTQ-identified.
Because staff members are not allowed to reveal a sexual orientation other than hetero, the organization has created, in essence, a “don’t ask, don’t tell” atmosphere for youth and — in all likelihood — an overall environment that less than welcoming.
Join us: This story is made possible with the help of qnotes’ contributors. If you’d like to show your support so qnotes can provide more news, features and opinion pieces like this, give a regular or one-time donation today.