January 25, 2022
One of the delights of teaching at a world-class large university like Purdue is the diversity of backgrounds and views you encounter upon arrival. Students from all over the world come to West Lafayette and bring with them their cultures, their beliefs, their traditions, and their values. This makes Purdue one of the great institutions of the State of Indiana, and we are better as a community because of our broad diversity.
Purdue has worked hard to ensure that all faculty, staff, and students celebrate diversity through a variety of policies, initiatives and steps to protect minority views among its large population. The university even has an entire office that is dedicated to helping educate and promote diversity on campus. On one page that Purdue manages, they explain why this is such an important value:
Cultural diversity helps us recognize and respect “ways of being” that are not necessarily our own, so that as we interact with others we can build bridges to trust, respect, and understanding across cultures. Furthermore, this diversity makes our country a more interesting place to live, as people from diverse cultures contribute language skills, new ways of thinking, new knowledge, and different experiences…
Cultural diversity supports the idea that every person can make a unique and positive contribution to the larger society because of, rather than in spite of, their differences. Imagine a place where diversity is recognized and respected; various cultural ideas are acknowledged and valued; contributions from all groups are encouraged; people are empowered to achieve their full potential; and differences are celebrated.
I especially appreciate this emphasis because, in addition to and apart from my work for the university, I also serve as a volunteer faith-based counselor in our community. While I understand that not everyone will agree with my interpretation of the Bible, I am glad that I have the freedom to clearly communicate my beliefs to any person of any age who voluntarily seeks my guidance.
This is why I am firmly opposed to the West Lafayette City Council’s proposed ordinance 31-21. The city council should never seek to suppress voices in the realm of counseling with which they may disagree. While I have never advocated, recommended, or practiced conversion therapy or know of any other faith-based counselor who has, the city council has labeled this practice in such a broad fashion that it could easily encompass the counsel I or others give to individuals about human sexuality from the Word of God.
Why is the city council seeking to suppress or control the opinions of others at the same time Purdue University wishes to celebrate them? Perhaps each city council member should receive diversity training, especially when it comes to the way they relate to women and men of conservative religious thought.
West Lafayette should be a town that models diversity of thought, opinion, values, and actions. It should not be seeking to force particular views and prohibit others that are held by large segments of its own community, let alone those who might call Purdue its home.
It is time to communicate to the Council that this sort of punishment for diverse thought is wrong and should immediately cease.
I would encourage you to go to www.freedomlafayette.org and take the following steps:
1. Sign the on-line petition.
2. Share the videos, blogs and social media images on your social media platforms and encourage your friends to do the same so that the community is aware of what is occurring.
3. Sign up to receive legislative updates.
4. Write to the city council members and encourage them to vote “no” on this ordinance.
5. Plan to attend the next public hearing on February 7
Professor in the Purdue University College of Veterinary Medicine