Campus organizations host religious-based bigotry webinar

Meghann Anderson
Staff writer

Warren Blumenfeld, associate professor at Iowa State University encouraged students to “name it, claim it and stop it” during his webinar on religious-based bigotry on college campuses.

The webinar was held from 2 to 4 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 6 in the Curris Center Stables.

Students and faculty sat around tables facing a large projection screen as Blumenfeld gave live-streamed audio presentation and participants viewed a PowerPoint.

Participants were allowed to type questions in a chat room that Blumenfeld would answer.

Blumenfeld talked on the investigation of religious denominations’ statements and policies related to the lgbt community. Blumenfeld addressed possible strategies from within and outside these of institutions to promote a change.

“The title was confrontational,” David Montgomery, campus minister for ministry open to all, said. “I know the title scared off some people from attending.”

Blumenfeld said a number of religious denominations have and are currently defending the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. Many are openly welcoming them into their congregations, a number of the more conservative denominations have released official statements and policies in opposition.

“I don’t practice homosexuality,” Blumenfeld said, who is openly gay. “I think I am pretty good at it by now.”

“I liked how he talked about the positive and negative religions in relation to the lgbt community,” said Matthew Bradley, campus minister. “It did a great job referencing biblical text to LGBT organizations.”

Bradley said it was a well-balanced presentation.

“Any opportunity for the LGBT community to be topic of conversation is opportunity for growth.”

Brian Kinnamen, senior from Hazelwood, Mo., and vice president of Alliance, said there are people on campus that extremely active in both the lgbt and religious world.

“The webinar delivered a message that read to be accepted,” he said.

A second webinar was held Oct. 12 and was titled Coming Out as an Ally: From Bystanders to Upstanders. This webinar identified bystander behavior, obstacles to intervention and the skills and resources to encourage individuals to be upstanders.

Jody Cofer said that he received more responses from people who were surprised that the religious and gay groups were sponsoring something together.

The webinar was sponsored by Ministry Open to All, the Murray State Canterbury club and the Murray State Alliance.

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