By Victor Ochieng
Prospectors carrying rainbow color signs and flags came out in their numbers to protest against hip-hop artist and poet Jackie Hill-Perry who had been invited by Harvard College Faith and Action to deliver a speech at their weekly event called Doxa. The protests against her invitation to give a speech at Emerson Hall Friday were mainly because she’s been outspoken against homos*xuality.
Hill-Perry writes unapologetically on her website that Christ saved her from a lifestyle of homos*xual sin and the like.” She’s also seized every opportunity to speak publicly against homos*xuality and her s*xual preferences. She says God made her know that continuing in a life of homos*xuality would go against God’s teachings.
During the event and some time before then, some students spoke against the HCFA decision to invite Hill-Perry to the campus, terming her homophobic and that she’s a proponent of conversion therapy, a practice that seeks to change one’s s*xual identity or orientation.
HCFA had invited the artist to participate in the weekly meeting, in which group members come to worship, share their testimonies and hear a word from the week’s selected speaker.
HCFA co-presidents Scott C. Ely and Molly L. Richmond made it clear they chose to invite Hill-Perry because they believe she’s got a powerful testimony of redemption.
“It was not our intention to promote controversy at all,” Richmond said. “We intended this conversation to be primarily internal, and we were not intending it to reach that large of an audience.”
Nevertheless, the two made it clear they were okay with protesters attending the event to express their concerns.
“[We welcome] everyone that wants to attend and be a part of the event,” Ely said. “Doxa’s always been a space where we hope to commune, to challenge, to change; that’s our group’s mission for Doxa.”
Despite the protests, Hill-Perry attended the Friday event and delivered a speech in which she urged homos*xual Christians to get out of such relationships as a sense of duty to God. She spoke to a large audience that had gathered at the Emerson 105, a lecture hall that seats 300 people or thereabout.
“The model for how we are to deny ourselves, whether that applies to our greed, to our lust, self-denial is not optional for the Christian,” she said.
Hill-Perry said she believes those who pursue same-s*x relationships are “broken.”
“There is not such a thing as being born gay, but there is such a thing as being born broken, broken by sin,” said Hill-Perry.
There are some students and faculty members who had also gathered at the hall to silently protest the words of Hill-Perry. They lined up at the back of the hall with signs, some of which read, “One Queer Harvard” and “Gay-It’s in My DNA.”
Well, Hill-Perry has been widely criticized for talking about her faith and telling her personal story. But that’s expected as is the case with all those who come forward to speak against homos*xuality.