A Minnesota christian college has found itself in the middle of the same sex marriage debate thanks to a North Dakotan.
Every October at Concordia College, students in the Straight and Gay Alliance sell T-shirts that say “love is love” to celebrate National Coming Out Week.
But this year, as Minnesota voters prepare to decide whether to amend the state constitution to define marriage as only between a man and a woman, the group received an unexpected response from a fellow student, senior Rebecca Julius.
Julius, a devout Wisconsin Synod Lutheran, designed black T-shirts that say “sin is sin” across the front and list three Bible passages about truth and evil on the back.
She’s also sold few of these shirts to like-minded students. Needless to say, this has caused a bit of campus brouhaha.
“At first I was even a little hurt just because I’ve been through my own struggle with religion and sexuality,” said Geneva Nemzek, co-president of the Straight and Gay Alliance. Nemzek, who grew up in Moorhead, came out last year. “I think it’s a really tough topic,” she said of Julius’ message. “But after that like initial sort of bad feeling, I just sort of felt that like we need to push forward and do what we do best as a group, which is to show love.”
While the shirts appear to have “opened a dialogue,” it’s also caused a rift within the student body of this small college.
But even if her T-shirts served to fire up opponents, Rebecca Julius has no regrets. “I’ve definitely felt alone at more than one point on campus and I feel like I don’t necessarily fit the ‘Cobber mode’ but that’s OK with me because I know where I stand with my faith. And I know I have so many people behind me and supporting me and I also know that God is proud of what I’m trying to do for him.”
Although Julius has made her views known, when it comes to the marriage amendment, the slogan on her T-shirt will have to do. Most of her fellow students have something Julius doesn’t — a Minnesota address.
Because Julius lives in Fargo, N.D., she won’t be able to vote on it.