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The Christian Unions’ troubles are of their own making

07 December 2006


From the Revd Geoffrey Thompson
Sir, — I see that some bishops have now got involved in the spat between some Christian Unions (CUs) and the student unions at their universities (News, 1 December).

It has all reminded me of my own brush with the CU both at school and at university in the late 1970s, and I have to confess that I am highly sympathetic to the student unions. In my experience, the CU at school and at university was an evangelistic disaster. The undigested fundamentalism and homophobia of the CU effectively stunted my Christian development for five years.

At school, the CU was a laughing stock. At university, it was allied closely to two conservative Evangelical churches in the city. Until I stumbled upon a more humane form of Christianity, I was stuck with the particular form of faith peddled by my CU contemporaries.

The bishops associated with the letter of protest have given the impression that the CU represents all Christian students. By this, they perpetuate the fiction that the CU is more than a minority pastime for students of faith.

The CU is quite fairly seen to be sectarian and homophobic, and we cannot expect the great majority of students to condone such attitudes any more than they would racist or sexist views in an organisation.
8 The Ridgeway

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