Todd Clayton was at the center of a heated controversy at Point Loma Nazarene University (PLNU) in March, 2011, when he declared publicly that he was gay. This sparked outrage through much of the Church of the Nazarene (CotN), mainly because Todd was serving his second year as the university’s student-elected Student Chaplain. Across America Nazarenes were exclaiming, “Point Loma Nazarene’s student chaplain is gay!”
Todd made the announcement in the chapel of San Diego First Church of the Nazarene, at a special meeting of All God’s Children, a group formed several years before by Prof. Phil Bowles and his wife Sharon. Prior to this well-attended meeting (400+), All God’s Children was already prohibited from meeting on the PLNU campus mainly because the Nazarene school already has the dangerous reputation in the CotN of being the denomination’s most liberal campus. And after Todd’s controversial meeting, All God’s Children was also “disinvited” from meeting at the church at the “request” of the District Superintendent. The group now meets at a Presbyterian church a few blocks from the PLNU campus.
Todd Clayton’s New Blog
In November, 2011, Todd Clayton began blogging at “Todd Clayton: Because some words are too thick for air.” His blog has virtually exploded in its brief 2-1/2 month existence, getting over 3,000 reads yesterday alone. I enthusiastically recommend that you check out Todd Clayton’s blog, and sign up as a subscriber.
I suggest starting with this list of posts:
- “Breakfast” is the powerful story of Todd’s coming out to his father, a Nazarene pastor.
- “Marble Eyes — Pt. 1” focuses on Todd’s mother.
- In “Presidents” Todd comes out to a van-load of Student Body presidents from Nazarene schools around the country.
- “I Didn’t Call Her a Bitch” recounts a chance encounter with a conservative Nazarene customer who recognized Todd from last year’s controversy.
- In “Scalded Fingers.” Todd’s mother asks him, “So, how long have you known?”
- “Buttermilk Pancakes” is the first of two posts which briefly shares a relationship with us, and is typical of Todd’s high degree of self-disclosure.
- “Holy Shit” — I’ll leave it to you to figure that one out.
There was considerable internet coverage of the gay student chaplain and the situation at PLNU. The following links lead to articles in the PLNU campus paper, LGBT news outlets, general news outlets, commentaries from conservative sites, and from yours truly.
- Spiritual Leader at Point Loma Nazarene University Comes Out
- Called to Speak: Student Leader Thrusts Campus into Dialogue on Sexuality, Administrators Respond
- ASB Director of Spiritual Life Steps Down
- Student Chaplain Steps Down After Coming Out of the Closet
- PLNU Student Chaplain Steps Down after Acknowledging he is Gay
- All God’s Children Disinvited from San Diego First Church
- All God’s Children Seeks New Location
- Homosexuality at Point Loma Nazarene University
- Christian Universities Face Mounting Concerns over Homosexuality
- Point Loma Nazarene University vs Prof. Phil Bowles
- Homosexuality: A Civil Rights Frontier
Unofficial Gay Straight Alliance at PLNU
In the aftermath of the spring turmoil events were scheduled to bring the campus discussion front and center, and a number of students have banded together to have an unofficial Gay Straight Alliance (GSA), including Cory Saul and Eduardo Alvarez (see Administration to Continue Conversation on Homosexuality).
LGBT Problems at Olivet Nazarene University
Last spring saw unwanted publicity for administrators at Olivet Nazarene University as well. The ONU student paper, GlimmerGlass told the unhappy stories of three students, Brett Carmouché, Aubrey Sama, and Dominic “Niko” Clark. Carmouché, in particular, having been threatened with excommunication from the Mormon Church, had transferred to ONU from Brigham Young University hoping to find a more accepting environment. (see Gay: What Would Jesus Do?) The second half of the article is devoted to loyal Nazarene standard-bearers urging Christians to walk the journey with struggling Christians.
All God’s Children
This month (January 2012) Todd Clayton will be updating his story at a meeting of All God’s Children. His story has been a catalyst for discussion on LGBT issues and faith not only at Point Loma Nazarene University but on Nazarene campuses across the country.
- Date: Sunday, January 22, 2012
- Time: 2:30-4:30
- Location: Westminster Presbyterian Church (USA), 3598 Talbot St. (at the corner of Canon and Talbot), in Point Loma–a San Diego neighborhood.
According to All God’s Children program announcements, “Sessions are dedicated to an open discussion of LGBT issues and faith. Participants are asked to respectfully listen to and engage in a variety of contributions to discussion in a spirit of honest inquiry. Moderators ask participants to honor the announced program topic and to be courteous to speakers.”
I can quote Leviticus all day long and Romans In fact I can quote the the whole Bible all day long but that is not the point the point is you have a choice but you also have a confession to make too. Do you understand?
Benjy, all of us have sinned. I avoid casting stones as much as possible.
Picking out a green shirt instead of a blue shirt is a “choice.” Preferring bacon and eggs over pancakes for breakfast is a “choice.” I can assure you that being “gay” is NOT a “choice” in the normal definition of the word.
Indeed, if choosing my sexuality WAS a choice, WHY would I choose to be marginalized, ridiculed, and condemned? Grow up to hate myself? Led to believe (by well-intentioned “saints”) that not only did God NOT love me, but that God COULDN’T love me?
I regret that I didn’t find somebody like Todd when I was a student at Pasadena College. Things might have turned out much, much differently.
I can only guess at the damage done to you by the church’s “discipline,” motivated by a mistaken understanding of holiness and obedience. There is always the question, though: where do I go from here? What’s next?
I graduated from SNU back when it was BNC. So many of my friends came out of the closet by dying from AIDS. Shame on intolerant religious people!
I have created a group on Face Book for LGBT persons who have attended Nazarene higher education. If any of y’all are interested, please find me on f.b. and I will send you an invitation to the group.
There are 4 of us, MVNC (now MVNU) grads who have found each other. We are wanting to connect with other LGBT Naz/ ex-Naz people.
The link for Todd’s blog is outdated. Is there a current blog address for him?
Not that I know of.
Google this morning shows http://thoughtcatalog.com/tclayton001/
Todd wrote his most recent post about the shooting in Charleston, so it’s apparently current. Good luck!