I cannot overstate how much I appreciate and love Rosaria Butterfield’s book The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert. It’s the story of her conversion from lesbian feminist scholar to Christianity. It’s easily the best book I’ve read all year. Since her book came out, she has been asked to speak in a number of different venues. As you can imagine, her message is hated in certain contexts, not least of which is the average university campus.
Recently, she spoke on the campus of the University of South Florida, and her reception was less than warm. Before she even spoke, one student editorialized in the campus newspaper what seems to be an all-too-common point of view among the emerging generation:
It is hard to believe that a university with as much diversity as USF would allow such a backward speaker to engage students with a message that could have real harm on students’ well-being… If the university would not allow a racist preacher on stage and say black students are sinful, then it should not allow someone who will preach homosexuality is sinful.
The editorial is radical but unfortunately is becoming increasingly common. This student is calling for Christians to be banned from the exchange of ideas that is supposed to be a part of a university education. I wonder if he realizes that he has just ruled Christianity outside the bounds of rational discourse.
With this kind of PR before the event, you can only imagine how the actual presentation went. The protesters came to the event and made their presence known. The campus newspaper reports:
As Rosaria Butterfield began her lecture about her journey and “train wreck conversion” from a lesbian professor to a Christian, a pastor’s wife and mother of four, nine students in the front row of the audience stood up silently, took off their jackets, turned their backs to Butterfield and linked arms in front of a packed Oval Theater guarded by two University Police officers and two security officers.
Their white T-shirts revealed hand-written messages:
“Rosario Butterfield does not speak for us.”
“USF is 4 hate speech.”
The nine remained standing silently throughout the two-hour lecture, in which Butterfield shared her story and love for the Bible.
Butterfield appears to be very busy these days. Her website says that she is booked-up for speaking into 2015. She is uniquely suited to bring the message that she brings. It also makes her a target. The activists view her story as a threat–as the above report makes clear. Pray for this dear sister. She’s fighting the good fight.
(HT: Carl Trueman)