A Christian university in Southern California says the reason it's allowing "gay" and lesbian relationships on campus is because they have non-Christian students and the school is committed to treating them equally.
OneNewsNow reported earlier this week that Azusa Pacific University will allow same-sex romances on campus, but forbid intimate sexual activity – the same policy it has for straight students. Executive vice president Dr. David Bixby insists APU is committed to a biblical sexual ethic, but at the same time says the school is an "open enrollment" campus.
"I would call APU a campus that really focuses on evangelism," he tells OneNewsNow. "It's different than some other faith-based institutions."
The policy to treat LGBT students the same as normal students will likely face its biggest challenge when a "married" gay couple shows up, according to the school spokesman.
"If a gay couple were to get married, that's really not part of the policy that we embrace at APU," Bixby explains. "That would be conversations we'd have to have with that couple."
It's the same solution Bixby says would be applied to romantic, but not intimate gay relationships on campus. "If there were handholding on campus, we would have a gentle conversation with those students," he states.
Asked if the couple persisted would APU consider expelling the students, Bixby responded: "No. We would not move towards expulsion."
Southern Evangelical Seminary president Dr. Richard Land says the compromise at APU is a slippery slope – and the California-based school, he says, has taken the first step.
"The question of homosexual or lesbian relationships is a truth serum for evangelicals," says Land. "If you believe the Bible, then you cannot condone same-sex relationships; and if you do condone same-sex relationships, then you have put yourself in judgment of scripture."
In December, two trustees of APU resigned their positions when the university loosened its "standard of conduct" to allow openly same-sex couples on campus – a policy that was temporarily rescinded. The two trustees said at the time they could no longer support the school's liberal "drift."