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.”