Op-Ed | Fund Tufts Christian Fellowship
Published: Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, November 28, 2012 08:11
This semester, the controversy surrounding Tufts Christian Fellowship (TCF) has received a lot of attention both on and off campus. The group recently lost its TCU funding and was derecognized because its constitution requires leaders in the group to “support and advocate” a set of principles known as the Basis of Faith. The group is in the process of appealing this decision, which is why I decided to give the Tufts community my two cents as well.
I am not a member of TCF, but if I were, I wouldn’t be able to hold a position of leadership because I do not subscribe to all of the doctrines laid forth in the Basis of Faith. As I have been informed over the course of the semester, this is discrimination and I should be outraged. Except I’m not, because that would be silly.
No, I can’t be a leader in TCF. So what? I wouldn’t want to be a leader in a group that I cannot fully endorse. But whether you believe in TCF’s evangelical mission or not, the group provides wonderful Christocentric dialogue, of which there is a paucity on this campus. In this respect, we are all equally entitled to the benefits the group offers us. While I am not a member of the group and do not attend their meetings frequently, I consider TCF to be a major asset to the Tufts community.
The notion that TCF is engaging in hate speech and using university funding to attack those of us who do not endorse the Basis of Faith is simply not true. I submit that those fearing that this is the case should attend more TCF programming. They will find that TCF is, in fact, an inclusive, welcoming organization.
Over the course of my time at Tufts, I have had the pleasure of attending several TCF meetings, most recently their annual Thanksgiving dinner — my limited meal plan renders me keenly interested in any event at which food will be served. At these events, I have been received cordially and have been uplifted by faith-based conversations that have affirmed for me many of the truths I value. Unless these evangelical Christians are pulling the wool over my eyes, they are not using their group to promote intolerance or hate speech.
TCF deserves the funding it received in the past. The group provides what I imagine to be a wonderful support system to many believers on campus.
As a Christian myself, I understand that here at Tufts it is sometimes difficult to live a life consistent with Christian values and feel included on campus. TCF gives evangelical Christian students an opportunity to interact positively with one another and it gives the rest of us an opportunity to engage in great interfaith dialogue. Diversity is good. As a university, we should pride ourselves on the array of groups on campus that welcome us and encourage intellectual growth.
Tufts is one community with many voices, as we are reminded year after year. Although I am ineligible for leadership within TCF, I think we ought to welcome and embrace this group as part of the wonderful “marketplace of ideas” we have on campus.
If TCF is funded, they will presumably continue to hold events to which we will all be invited. These events, in addition to providing a welcoming atmosphere and lots of new friends, have challenged me to reflect on my own beliefs. I have no plans to embrace every aspect of the Basis of Faith, but I do believe that TCF should have a place on our wonderful, diverse campus.