Claire Murashima
Claire Murashima (right) is the first openly gay person to serve as president of Calvin University Student Body.

Student Body President at Calvin University Comes Out as Gay

By Julie Roys

The student body president at Calvin University, a private Christian school affiliated with the Christian Reformed Church (CRC), has come out as gay.

Writing in The Chimes, Calvin’s student newspaper, Student Body President Claire Murashima wrote, “In the 102 years that Student Senate has existed, we’ve never had an openly gay student body president. It’s beyond time that the LGBTQ community is represented in the highest student leadership position at Calvin. I’m proud to be the first.”

Murashima also advocated for more LGBTQ representation at the school in Grand Rapids, Michigan, arguing that “Calvin’s heteronormative and relationship-focused culture” makes LGBTQ persons feel excluded. “Not seeing anyone who loves like us makes us feel like we don’t fully belong at Calvin,” Murashima wrote.

Officially, Calvin University and its denomination, the CRC, do not affirm LGBTQ relationships.

Calvin’s Student Code of Conduct prohibits sex outside of marriage. And according to Calvin Assistant Director of Media Relations Matt Kucinski, “The (CRC) and the university hold that human sexuality is a gift from God reserved for expression in the context of marriage between a man and a woman.”

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Calvin also is a member of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities, which affirms the historic Christian view of marriage in its employment policies and student academic program conduct codes.

Yet, Kucinski added that the CRC teaches that “orientation is not a sin” and that LGBT people “are created in God’s image and . . . should be treated with respect, grace, understanding and love.”

Claire Murashima Calvin University
Calvin University Student Senate. Student Body President Claire Murashima is in the center.

When asked about Murashima’s pro-LGBTQ message in a Calvin publication, Kucinkski responded: “The Chimes is a student publication which allows for the free expression of ideas, including ideas that may challenge the positions of the university. Because of our Christian faith, we do not fear ideas that may challenge biblical norms and Christian understanding.”

Murashima noted in her Chimes article that a survey conducted this fall by Calvin’s Student Senate, found that LGBTQ students comprise 7% of Calvin’s student body. There also is an LGBTQ student group at Calvin called SAGA (Sexuality And Gender Awareness).

Over the years, Calvin also has hosted groups on campus that advocate for LGBTQ rights.

For example, in 2012, Calvin sponsored a sold-out concert in its 5,000-seat Van Noord Arena featuring the group Fun.—an outspoken pro-LGBT band.

According to a Chimes article at the time, Fun. wanted to bring “marriage equality advocacy booths” to the concert, but Calvin opposed them. So instead, the band said they would donate a dollar for every ticket sold to the “futherment of gay rights in America.”

In 2015, Calvin welcomed Fun. frontman, Nate Ruess, back to campus for a solo performance.

A CRC church located just four miles from campus is also pushing the envelope when it comes to LGBTQ rights, as was noted in another recent article in The Chimes. Over the summer, Neland Avenue Christian Reformed Church, appointed a woman who’s in a same-sex marriage to serve as a deacon.

In a letter to congregants, the Neland Avenue CRC council denied that the appointment meant that the church officially affirms same-sex marriage. Instead, the council said the congregation is split on the issue and expressed hope that the church and its denomination could manage their differences.

Most of the comments posted to Murashima’s article expressed support for her decision to openly identify as gay.

“Thank you Claire for your courage and leadership! It gives me hope that your example will help change the CRC official position on homosexuality,” wrote someone named Jane Vander Meer.

Natasha Rulason wrote, “Thank you for your voice; it is so valid and so needed.” And Linda Naranjo-Huebl wrote, “What gracious courage, Claire! . . . May your truth go forth into the world and bear good fruit, bringing the light and love of God to dark places.”

However, a minority of others lamented that Christians were supporting something the Bible calls sin.

“So are none of the commenters grieved that a Christian university is now OK with people publicly identifying themselves by their sins, or are those comments just not being posted?” wrote Cheryl M. “This is a very sad look at where Calvin is today.”

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35 thoughts on “Student Body President at Calvin University Comes Out as Gay”

  1. “In the 102 years that Student Senate has existed, we’ve never had an openly gay student body president. It’s beyond time that the LGBTQ community is represented in the highest student leadership position at Calvin.”

    No, it’s never time for a Christian university to celebrate God-mocking non-Christians.

    “Calvin’s heteronormative and relationship-focused culture” makes LGBTQ persons feel excluded. “Not seeing anyone who loves like us makes us feel like we don’t fully belong at Calvin,”

    Because non-Christians don’t belong there.

    1. The fearful, critical comments that are already popping up in this comment section are so upsetting. When queer young Christians who finally muster up the courage to come out are met with accusations of being “God-mocking non-Christians,” it’s really no surprise that so many people are now leaving the church.

      1. Christine Schmidt

        Because they think they are more caring, loving, inclusive, smarter than God. If you’re truly a Christian you love and obey Him and His word. You are free to reject Him of course, and suffer the consequences. It’s never too late to repent and make Him Lord .

        1. I’m not going to argue about the morality of being queer. I am no longer a Christian, so my opinion may not matter much to you anyway. But even if you do think being gay is sinful, the immediate jump to “you’re not a Christian” when someone comes out seems odd to me. Christians seem to accept that people can be sinful in a myriad of other ways yet still be Christians. But for some reason, being queer is the ultimate sin and no one could possibly be both gay and saved. The orientation a person does not chose is seen as an act of rebellion, and someone who admits their true feelings is condemned. It takes a huge amount of courage for someone to come out in a non-affirming Christian community. Accusing them of some kind of malice sounds like a surefire way to make sure they leave the church. Wouldn’t it be much better to let someone who has come out know that you love and value them, regardless of their “sin”? When a centurion approached Jesus to ask him to heal someone who was likely his gay lover (Matthew 8:5–13; Luke 7:1–10), Jesus didn’t feel a need to condemn him right off the bat.

          1. It is the unrepentance of any sin that is indicative of a heart that is not right with God. All people are sinners and all people continually sin, but if one has not repented of their sins and continues to unashamedly sin, that is evidence that true salvation has not taken place.

            Orientation, in a sense, does not exist. All humans are born sinful and have temptations and tendencies towards particular sins. Some towards anger, some towards pride, some towards homosexuality, some towards heterosexual acts outside of marriage. So in that sense, it is “natural” for someone to be drawn to a particular sin. But that does not mean that we accept that sin and claim that holiness in that area is impossible. It is possible that someone can repent of those sins and grow in holiness and away from that sin. Scripture states this (1 Corinthians 6) and there are many real life examples of this as well (Rosaria Butterfield and the pulse nightclub survivors, just to name a few).

            Lastly, the word “love” really means “tolerance” in our culture today. Of course, if a person who identifies as gay “comes out” they should be loved and values. All humans are made in God’s image and should be respected and shown compassion. But “loved” does not mean “tolerate your sin and pretend it isn’t a sin”. It means come alongside that person as a friend, lead them to the Truth of the Scriptures, and walk with them towards a relationship with Christ. True love involved warning people of a danger in the future (Hell) and helping them avoid it. False love (tolerance) tells them they are not in danger, which is contrary to the teachings of Scripture.

          2. @Nathan we do need to love and value all individuals because we all bear the image of God (Gen 1). We all need to acknowledge our sin, regardless of what it is and repent of that and seek God’s redemptive work in our lives. Jesus did protect the woman caught in adultery, and then instructed her to “go and sin no more.” So followers of Jesus do need to acknowledge we are all sinners in need of the Savior. In 1 Corinthians 6 Paul writes of all kinds of sin of our past lives that have been dealt with — “but you’ve been washed, but you’ve been cleansed….” So I’m reflecting on what you have written. Just a side note: I think the jump to centurion’s gay lover is too big a jump to make from the text. Again, Jesus did deal with those who were caught in sexual sin as the woman caught in adultery, and he certainly might have brought healing to someone who was gay and then sought to point them to a lifestyle for flourishing through repentance, but the Matthew & Luke passages cited aren’t indicative of that. Good call for compassion in Jesus’ name so that we might help a person become obedient to Christ and walk in His way – which will take time and true Christian love.

          3. Nathan,
            Do not add something that is not in Scripture. There is no hint that the centurion’s servant was his “gay lover.” I am not bothered by your opinion and no longer being a Christian. But, please do not twist Scripture.

          4. Nathan, I am curious to know why you decided you are “no longer Christian,”?

            Not seeing how “gay lover” can be read into the valued servant of the Centurion. Maybe he’s just that, a valued servant who’s like a friend to the centurion. What is most obvious is the remarkable faith of the Centurion which Jesus commends.

            I pray you have an encounter with the true loving Abba Father who sees you and loves you, and that you know the joy of having an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord.

      2. The Church is open to all repentant sinners. The Church is not open to non-repentant sinners. You become a Christian by the Blood of Christ, and a repentant heart. Homosexuality is about as deep as you can go in rebellion to God. Not only are you violating His will, which is marriage between a man and a woman, but you’re violating His Grand Design too. He made them male and female. Males and females belong together in His design. His design was not for female + female, or male + male.

        1. It depends on the sin you’re non-repentant about. How many remarried divorcees sit in the pews next to you, many of whom are married to the person they had the affair with that broke up their first marriage?

          No doubt some regret how it happened, but repentant? Not repentant enough to end that second unbiblical marriage…

          A sin is a sin, and it’s trivially easy to find examples of non-repentant sinners in any Christian community, conservative included, yet they are still welcome with open arms.

      3. They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us. 1 John 2:19

    2. I beg to differ on non Christians not belonging there or at any other Christian school. And if you think everyone at Christian schools you are sadly mistaken. You sound like a true Calvinist.
      What I don’t understand are students who choose to go to Christian schools knowing their standards and then rebel against them or try to make a point like this girl is doing.

      1. I cannot pretend to know her motives, but I know that there are those in the LBGT community who are activist in their approach to Christianity as they are in politics.

      2. Well, first of all, she’s a Christian. Other than that, she would have been all of 17 when she applied to that college, and many kids that age still have a lot of self-exploration and growing up to do, and there’s often pressure from the parents (emotionally, spiritually, and/or financially) to choose a college they like.

        Also, you don’t get to be student president without feeling you belong or without being made to feel you belong, so aside from her coming out as gay, it seems like she and her college have been a good fit.

    3. It’s not so much that non-Christians don’t belong there as it is that students who KNOW ahead of time what the University upholds as truth should not be surprised or feel “like they don’t belong” when their behavior is regarded as sin. The not belonging element is really their own doing for the most part. While gay students should never be bullied or treated disrespectfully as people, questioning their behavior in the light of scripture should be expected.

  2. Second Timothy, chapter 4, verses three and four; the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine. Paul really nailed that one down. I hope I’m wrong, I really do, but has a church falling asleep on this issue? I saw a snapshot of a little girl handing a flower to a group of transgender, and transvestite men at a gay pride parade. And there was a caption beneath the picture, that said, no one is ever going to convince me that this is normal, because it isn’t.

  3. Christine Schmidt

    Another ‘ Christian’ institution choose friendship with the World over fellowship with a Holy God. Very sad.

  4. One of the trademarks of “progressive” theology is a lack of emphasis on the holiness of God. Holiness is central to God’s character. Scripture says that God is love, but that he is Holy, Holy, Holy (repeated in the Scriptures for emphasis).

    It is shameful that Calvin and any other “Christian” college would tolerate this public rejection of the truth of God’s Word. Take a stand for the Word of God.

    “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the Word of our God stands forever.” – Isaiah 40:8

    1. Nick,

      Your posts are spot on. The Church needs to hear more of this. All of us fall short of the Glory of God, but when we repent from our sins God saves us. Two things lacking today in the Church is Church discipline, and revering God and His holiness.

  5. This situation has a few issues in tension, for which the overarching evaluation criteria must always be scripture. Questions like: what constitutes appropriate Christian love for the LGBTQ community, should LGBTQs be allowed to attend a Bible-believing institution of higher learning, what responsibility does that institution have in regard to students who “come out” while they are attending? Of course the foundational question will always be “are intimate same-gender sexual relationships sin?”. Calvin has already affirmed the Biblical view of sex and marriage, so they are resting on firm ground there. I think that Calvin, along with most Christ-followers agree that we are to love and grieve for those who experience same-sex attraction and treat them with the same dignity, respect and Christian love as we would any sinner…saved or unsaved. Where things get sticky is when we start compromising on what that dignity, respect and love look like. It does not mean that we affirm/embrace/celebrate their sinful behavior. It does mean that we make no bones about the sin while communicating that it’s not about historical views or personal opinion; it’s a God thing. It also means coming alongside those who have these issues and help them deal with them in a Biblical way; it’s no easy task for sure, but a university should have the counseling resources to do that. What concerns me most about this story is the fact that this girl is not only coming out, she is flaunting and celebrating it as a victory for the LGBTQ community. If the university sits idly by, they are doing nothing less than celebrating right along with her and her allies. Is Calvin truly evincing Biblical standards in it’s campus life? We shall see.

  6. I have a gay nephew. I invited him to Church. He had strayed from the Lord when he became involved with another man.
    He left upset because he was told by a member that “he didn’t belong.” I prayed and asked God how I may talk with him. God gave me the
    TIME
    PLACE
    SCRIPTURES
    He came by my home. I apologized to him on behalf of the person who he was hurt by.
    I did not “affirm” his homosexuality. I did not condemn him. We sat down together, prayed, and we opened up the Word of God. I let him see and read for himself what the Word of God says about sexual sin …homosexuality included.
    His response. “I know God is not pleased with my relationship. I want to get this right.”
    God HATES sin so much, He sent a Savior…Who took the sins of the WHOLE WORLD upon His shoulders. Sexual sin is so great because we sin against our bodies…our bodies are not our own.
    Homosexuality, adultery, etc. is unacceptable…the laundry list is in His Word.
    The Word of God is clear and not debatable. I love my nephew. But to ignore his homosexuality and
    not confront him in both TRUTH and LOVE…I did what the Spirit of God lead me to do…in His Timing.
    He received what I said. I give Glory to God.
    There will always be consequences when we stand on the truth of God’s Word. But HOW we do it is key.
    Bold and courageously…and NEVER FOOLISHLY.

  7. A lot of good wisdom, can a gay person be at a Christian college? Absolutely if they are abstinent in a relationship in my opinion, it is an opportunity to show love to someone. What would concern me is if her goal is to change the campus biblical view held by the church for over 2 thousand years to a gay affirming role. That of course is unacceptable, no company or college can prosper if it’s member work against it’s goals or product. It would be like me , a prolife nurse getting a job at an abortion clinic.
    Hopefully cool heads will prevail and no rush to judgments made.

  8. Mr. Kucinski says that the CRC teaches that “orientation is not a sin” God says otherwise as desires that are not in keeping with God’s commandments are adultery of the heart ( Matt.5:27,28)
    To also act upon it and brag about it is also sin. Clearly the CRC and the College do not have scripture as their moral authority. Just read James 1 and Romans 1 to see what God says about these types of sins.

  9. A few thoughts…an LGBTQ+ can be a be a believer, the question is what do they do with those same-sex or other sexual desires not in line with God’s plan for sex: it is for a man and woman united in marriage, anything outside that is sin. Human sexuality is a gift and God is Good enough to tell us His best plan for it in the Bible,

    He made us in the image of God, male and female, “ish” and “ish’a” which means man and woman in Hebrew, or, “piercer” and “pierced” one (I heard) as well.

    ““Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.”
    ‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭5:31-32‬ ‭ESV‬‬

    There’s something at heart of the LGBTQ+ movement that says, “I will choose,” Your way isn’t good enough God, let me make myself in my own image,” which is the sin of pride. We have the audacity to say what the Creator created wasn’t “good enough”.

    The Church has fallen short in facing those with these issues. Not to ignore the broken sexuality but speak with Truth, Love, compassion…often mixed with this broken sexuality is wounds, rejection, shame, rejection, abuse, etc…and Christ needs to be brought into those wounds which takes humility and wisdom.

    Juli Slattery and Preston Sprinkle (Theology in the Raw podcast) take deep dives into the areas of human sexuality while staying True to the Word.

    https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/transgender-and-the-gospel-heather-skriba/id1018952191?i=1000488029981

    Anybody can jump a cultural bandwagon, it takes courage to walk the Narrow Way with God as be as the 5 wise Virgins ready to meet the bridal party. (Matt 25)

    1. Why is this different from a married Christian deciding they’d rather be with someone else and getting divorced so they can marry that person?

      While the church may attempt to dissuade people from taking that path, once that path is taken, does the church continue to “speak with Truth, Love, compassion” to these people until they repent of their ways, or do they sweep it all under the bridge and welcome the new happy couple into the fold? (Hint: it’s the latter, every time.)

      If you’re thinking, well, you can’t expect them to end their unbiblical marriage and go back to their first spouse, who might not want them anyway, well, there’s always lifelong celibacy, which is precisely what is expected of gay people before they can be accepted back into the fold — lifelong celibacy.

  10. So grieved to see that Calvin College has moved away from a biblical understanding of sexuality. The moral confusion that Calvin has dumped upon its students is disturbing with the affirmation of a gay student body president.

  11. Hey, y’all know that the Homosexual movement has a clearly set agenda right? What this young student body President did was not an accident, it was purposeful and intentional. But I must constantly remind myself that the enemy is NOT this young lady (i.e. flesh and blood) but Satan and his Hellish crew( Eph 6:12).

    As followers of Christ let us not get distracted nor lose heart. Jesus has clearly marked out our course of action (cf Matt 28:16-20).

    Let’s pray like we’ve never prayed and preach like we’ve never preached until He comes.

  12. Right is Right! God’s Word will not return unto Him void, it shall accomplish that in the thing where He sent it and shall prosper as He please! Jesus is the way, the truth and the Life, no man cometh to the father except through Jesus! I John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness! A Gay life style is an abomination to the Lord. It will never become righteous in the sight of the Lord. If you desire, the Lord can deliver you right now! Read Psalm 51 and apply it to your life! May the Grace and Mercy of God be with you!

  13. It is not human beings that we fight against but principalities and powers that we cannot see. (Eph. 6:12) I start with this because a deep thought once occurred to me. It is obvious for any Christian who knows the Word of God that Satan has sunk everything he has into a battle that has zealous people waging a loud and noisy battle to badger everyone into accepting the gay rights movement as something good and right. The primary weapon has been shame, “How can you hate us so much by denying our rights!?” Social media is badgering people over the head with a false sense of shame for something that God clearly despises. I have watched many a person I once respected cave in because they feared what men think and say more than what God thinks and says.

    Yet, why is this so important to Satan at this time to sink all of his resources into this particular lie? We are told that he is a thief and a murderer as well. (John 8:44) He has also seen many changes in cultures from criminalizing LGBTQ activities to promoting them as better than relations between the opposite sexes over the millennia. The last shift was probably the fastest change in history as things are moving so fast and it reach was broader than ever before, but Satan also knows that the winds will shift again and those who are blatantly now out of the closest will not be safe when the next major change takes place. Changes that quick tend to be the least permanent changes in society. What quickly goes up can quickly drop without much warning. I think God has shown me that a time is coming much sooner than any of would think when Satan will quickly change his tactics. He will suddenly throw all of his forces into a reaction against the bullies who are shoving these rights right down our throat. Satan will find violent people who are throwing up all of this right back at the people who are still badgering society so severely. There is a rapid change back that will go farther than how things were before. God will not encourage His people to participate in this violence but it will come because it already has many times before throughout history.

    Just look at history and see how some new king comes to power and suddenly everyone out of the closest is thrown into prison. Or the times when a kingdom was conquered by one that had zero tolerance for open gay rights. History just keeps repeating itself. Our culture has gone so far to the left that it is poised to go bankrupt quite literally. The Word says that we all will reap what was sown so those trying so hard to shove this down others throat will eventually have things shoved back down theirs that they do not like.

    Right now there is a great deal of pressure to suppress the whole truth about the gay community. However you can find evidence pointing towards all kinds of bad fruit that is now being produced by them. From suicide rates far higher to rates of incarceration and felony convictions that are higher than with heterosexuals. And the most likely victims end up being other members of the same community. Did you know that the rates of child molestation are 20 – 50 times higher in their community? Rates of a number of particular diseases are far higher too and expected life span is substantially shorter. And there are a number of very violent gays and bisexuals you can find in history, from Hitler’s Earnst Rom who headed his Brownshirts but was killed for his extreme views shortly after Hitler seized power, to Alexander the Great whom many consider to be the greatest violent conqueror of all times to Jim Jones of Jonestown who started as a Christian pastor but became the most infamous and lethal cult leader of recent times.

  14. Any “Christian” parent that pays to send their child to Calvin for a Christian education, has not done their homework. Calvin has walked away from Biblical truth, oh beginning about 20 years ago. At first it was a slow move and then – WHAM. Now, let’s just refer to Calvin as an expensive liberal arts private college. That just about sums it up.

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