Current Date: Fri, 13 Dec 2013 13:06:24 -0500
The Christian a cappella group Psalm 100 voted unanimously Sunday night to remove one of its members, senior Will Thomason, because of his views on homosexuality, members said.
Thomason, who is gay, said the group’s decision was based on a disagreement between him and members of the group about the organization’s constitution.
Psalm 100’s constitution mandates that members of the group act in accordance with ideology laid out in the Bible, said Blake Templeton, general director of the group.
Templeton stressed that Thomason was not removed because of his sexual orientation.
“It’s really easy in this situation for the focus to be on this one thing — the homosexuality,” he said. “It wasn’t about that.
“It was really about a disagreement with something that was clearly written in Scripture and in the Bible and we just have to base all of our decisions, constitutionally … on the Bible.”
Thomason said that although he is upset by his removal, he will still maintain a friendship with members of the group.
The decision, along with the group’s status as a student organization, highlights a gray area in the University’s non-discrimination policy. The policy gives student groups the right to limit membership to those who share a certain set of ideas, as long as no student is excluded on the basis of personal characteristics — including sexual orientation.
Between Feb. 17 and June 30, Psalm 100 received $152.20 in student fees.
Templeton said the issue surfaced after a member of the group became aware of Thomason’s view on homosexuality through a conversation with him.
“For Will, (his view) was not just a talking point for the group to discuss,” Templeton said. “It was a decision he had made.”
The group’s constitution empowers its members to vote to remove members behaving in a manner contrary to the teachings of the Bible, an option the group has utilized before, Templeton said. He added that Thomason still has the option to return to the group if his views become aligned with the group’s.
Thomason said his views became an issue for the group after he came to believe that homosexuality does not conflict with Christianity.
“Now, while realizing God can do anything, I also think God can use me, a non-heterosexual individual, to glorify His name.”
Two members of Psalm 100 left the group following the vote to remove Thomason, Templeton said, adding that members were very upset Sunday night.
Jared Simmons, chairman of the finance committee of Student Congress, said student organizations can lose funding if their University recognition is revoked, an action that could be exercised if they are found to have violated the anti-discrimination policy.
Simmons also said any uncertainty surrounding the group’s student organization status could give him authority to apply further scrutiny to their requests.
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Please note, Will Thomason and the writer of this piece, Andy Thomason, are of no relation.