David Leon, Guest Writer

Over the years I have struggled with what it means to be a “Lute.” I came to Pacific Lutheran University in the fall of 2010 with an open mind and heart, ready to take on this institution. But over the course of my last five years at PLU the same question continues to bother me.

When I was 5 or 6 years old, I suffered a stroke and was pronounced dead for about 2-3 minutes. I am not religious and I’m barely spiritual. This is what happens when you’ve died once.

People automatically formed ideas of who I am and why I am here simply because I am attending a college like Pacific Lutheran University.

Just a week ago, a young woman on the confessions page commented on a post about how I, as a student here at this grand institution, should be representing the community and myself because I work as a Diversity Advocate on campus. She meant religious representation. I deleted and blocked her from the page.

This young woman does not know my story, nor does she care to, all she appears to care about is the religious and spiritual beliefs which are so heavily tied into the “Lutheran” part of PLU. This person tried to define who I am for me. I am paying to go to this school, I am not paying to participate in any religious or faith based club, activity, social group, etc.

Pacific Lutheran University prides itself as a campus community that is inclusive of all gender identities, sexual identities, religious/faith affiliations and ethnic groups. That’s fine and dandy, but the fact of the matter is that a significant population of the students are white, privileged, religious and, at times, clueless and unwilling to educate themselves on the histories and stories of other students who don’t look, talk or act the way they do.

There are no courses on atheism, agnosticism and the like for students of non-faith. If you are going to preach about being inclusive, then show it. Accommodate students who struggle tremendously with faith and religion and don’t want to take many of the Christian based religion courses offered.

Perhaps creating an alternative to taking a religion course for non-faith students is a step towards an even more inclusive community. Students could, for example, take two alternative perspectives courses rather than the said religion course.The “L” in PLU does not define nor does it encompass the entire campus population and our views or beliefs. ◼︎

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