Christian Students at Duke University Refuse to Read LGBT Porn Novel

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A group of students in Duke University’s freshman class are speaking out publicly about their refusal to read a novel that was selected as the freshman summer reading book because the book’s pornographic content violates their Christian beliefs and moral principles.

In April, Duke University announced that the book, Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic, an autobiographical novel written by New York Times best-selling author Alison Bechdel about her relationship with her father, was the one book selected from a list of six titles to be the class of 2019’s “Common Experience” summer reading book.

Although Duke’s summer reading program is not required, the purpose behind the program is to give incoming students the opportunity to discuss the book in small groups during their orientation before school starts. A special printing of the book was mailed over the summer to all incoming freshman.

But as the autobiographical book was written by a lesbian and carries LGBT undertones, some Duke freshman were stunned to learn that they were being asked to read a book that included two graphic sex scenes between women, and graphic cartoons depicting women mastrabating as well as multiple women engaging in oral sex.

The freshmen took to the Duke University Class of 2019 Facebook page to voice their disapproval.

Brian Grasso, one of the students who posted to the Facebook page and wrote that reading the book would compromise his Christian beliefs, wrote an op-ed for The Washington Post this week explaining why he and his fellow classmates refused to read the book.

“As a Christian, I knew that my beliefs and identity would be challenged at a progressive university like Duke,” Grasso wrote. “After researching the book’s content and reading a portion of it, I chose to opt out of the assignment. My choice had nothing to do with the ideas presented. I’m not opposed to reading memoirs written by LGBTQ individuals or stories containing suicide. I’m not even opposed to reading Freud, Marx or Darwin. I know that I’ll have to grapple with ideas I don’t agree with, even ideas that I find immoral.”

“But in the Bible, Jesus forbids his followers from exposing themselves to anything pornographic,” Grasso continued.

Freshman Jeffrey Wubbenhorst told the Duke Chronicle that he also refrained from reading the book because of the novel’s graphic nature. He added that he might have read the book if it did not include pornographic cartoons, an argument Grasso also made in his op-ed.

“The nature of ‘Fun Home’ means that content that I might have consented to read in print now violates my conscience due to its pornographic nature,” Wubbenhurst wrote in an email.

Although Grasso maintains throughout his Washington Post op-ed that the book was assigned, Duke issued a statement clarifying that the book is purely optional for students to read. The statement added that the book was chosen because it is a “moving book that transcends genres and explores issues that students are likely to confront.”

“The summer reading is entirely voluntary — it is not a requirement, nor is there a grade or record of any student’s participation. With a class of 1,750 new students from around the world, it would be impossible to find a single book that that did not challenge someone’s way of thinking,” Duke’s Vice President for Public Affairs Michael Schoenfeld said in a statement earlier this week.

“We understand and respect that, but also hope that students will begin their time at Duke with open minds and a willingness to explore new ideas, whether they agree with them or not.”

The book’s inclusion in Duke’s summer reading program furthers the trend of pornographic material becoming more acceptable in today’s society.

“Duke did not seem to have people like me in mind,” Grasso told the Chronicle. “It was like Duke didn’t know we existed, which surprises me.”

A 2007 survey conducted at six U.S. schools found that 66.5 percent of young men and 48.7 percent of young women said that viewing pornographic material is an appropriate way to express their sexuality. That same study found that about 21 percent of young men view porn every day, while 31 percent of women admit to viewing pornographic material.

“I’m well aware that my ethics make me an anomaly on campus, in contemporary culture and even among many professing Christians,” Grasso wrote. “However, my principles come primarily from my understanding of the Bible, which I have read multiple times, studied weekly in community for the last seven years, and consider to be the Word of God.” Source Christian Post


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