November 13, 2018
Standing up for Christian values is tough at any college, but on one of the most radically liberal campuses on the planet? That takes nerve.
The University of California at Berkeley isn't exactly a destination for students who care about the free exchange of ideas. That's what makes the story of Isabella Chow even more astounding. After a clash in the student senate over gender policy, the student senator is a profile of true courage at a school that could use more of it.
When Chow won her seat in leadership, she was very clear that she would "represent the Christian community." But now that she's actually tried, the campus is demanding her resignation. The flare-up started on Halloween, when the student government met to consider a resolution condemning the Trump administration for its mainstream (and biologically-based!) views on gender. Chow, who was elected as part of the U.C. party of Student Action, abstained from the vote. And for it, she could lose her seat.
"I didn't expect the backlash and misunderstanding to be so swift," Chow told Campus Reform. "At the end of the day, it's a belief in objective truth." In the month since the vote, liberal students have protested across campus, posting hand-painted signs across the buildings that say, "Senator Chow Resign Now!" It's been a difficult few weeks, to be sure, but Chow hasn't wavered. "There's a Christian community on campus that has been praying for me and encouraging me throughout all of this. And if I don't represent their views, who else will?"
Before the vote, Isabella took a few minutes to explain her position. It was a powerful defense of faith, truth, and the free speech. "My God is one who assigns an immeasurable value to and desires to love each and every human being," she started. "In God's eyes and therefore my own, every one of you here today -- and in the LGBTQ+ community as a whole -- is significant, valid, wanted, and loved, even if and when our views differ."
"I cannot," she went on, "vote for this bill without compromising my values and my responsibility to the community that elected me to represent them. As a Christian, I personally do believe that certain acts and lifestyles conflict with what is good, right and true. I believe that God created male and female at the beginning of time, and designed sex for marriage between one man and one woman. For me, to love another person does not mean that I silently concur when, at the bottom of my heart, I do not believe that your choices are right or the best for you as an individual."
After the vote, her party ousted her. The student author of the resolution openly attacked her, calling Chow's stand "a harrowing reminder of the bigotry that persists in contemporary society." And then, as if that weren't enough, the student newspaper refused to print the op-ed she wrote in defense of her position, arguing that it didn't "meet the newspaper's editorial standards."
Through it all, Chow hopes her stand will encourage others to stand up for truth. "As tumultuous as the past couple weeks have been for me, my deepest prayer is that the church in Berkeley and beyond would increase dialogue regarding the intersection of faith and the LGBTQ+ community," she told the Daily Wire. A little backbone goes a long way! If more adults showed the kind of courage Isabella has, maybe we wouldn't be having this ridiculous debate over gender in the first place.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.