In my hometown paper’s weekly religion section last Saturday, an article profiling a Florida Campus Crusade leader noted the leader’s initiative to start an HIV/AIDS outreach group with a campus LGBT student organization:
Josh Spavin knows the stereotypes about evangelical Christians — judgmental, sanctimonious, narrow-minded. He may not buy into the image, but he knows how real — and damaging — it can be.
So that’s why Spavin, a recent graduate of the University of Central Florida and an intern with the university’s chapter of Campus Crusade for Christ International, wants to start an HIV/AIDS outreach with a campus gay-lesbian group.
“Because of the way they perceive us,” Spavin, 25 said. “What we wanted to do is find common ground where we can serve along side with them…. We don’t necessarily agree with their choices, because that’s not part of our faith, but we still love them.”
Spavin will be walking a thin line — one that separates Christian charity and anti-gay proselytizing. The article doesn’t interview anyone with a campus LGBT group, but I hope they are wise enough to put into place restrictions on how Campus Crusade can approach those LGBT people with HIV/AIDS. It’d be an awful sight to see the Crusaders take this opportunity to show gay and lesbian people “the evil of their ways.” The campus gay group certainly wouldn’t want to be known as the group that enabled it.
Despite my skepticism, I wish Spavin the best of luck. Maybe he will change something. Maybe he’ll learn real life lessons he’s never had the chance to know before.