Spiritual leader at Point Loma Nazarene University comes out

By Jessica Cohea

Since Point Loma Nazarene University senior Todd Clayton revealed that he is gay about four months ago, the debate about homosexuality is heating up on the California campus.

Clayton is the Director of Spiritual Life on PLNU’s Associated Student Body, which is equivalent to Olivet’s ASC. Clayton was not removed from his position on ASB, but was asked to “refrain from pursuing a romantic same-sex relationship and to acknowledge that the chapel venue would not be the place for personal processing of this journey,” the student newspaper The Point Weekly reported on March 21.

At the time, Clayton agreed. As the semester progressed, however, his views changed.

“He says that there is a need for a safe space and dialogue for those on campus to safely name and discuss their sexuality without fear of repercussion or scorn,” the newspaper read.

Since coming out, Clayton has been a voice at PLNU for homosexuality. He is working on a charter for a gay-straight alliance at PLNU, The Point Weekly said.

Last week, Clayton spoke to a group of about 200 people about his sexual orientation. However, following the discussion the group, known as All God’s Children, was asked not to assemble at their regular meeting place, San Diego First Church of the Nazarene, anymore. All God’s Children is working on a backup plan.

PLNU’s Chaplain Mark Carter and Vice President of Spiritual Development Mary Paul organized an open forum concerning the Student Development department’s “vision and decision-making process with Clayton as a student leader,” according to The Point Weekly. About 500 students, faculty and staff members attended the hour-long forum.

Clayton said it was a good start, and PLNU senior Troy McKinney agreed.

Faculty members in PLNU’s Student Development “personally care and respect Todd and want the best for his well-being.
As well, they respect the student body, and they show that by creating space for dialogue,” McKinney told The Point Weekly.
In the mean time, the debate is also continuing on Olivet’s campus following a GlimmerGlass article on March 18.

▪ See The Point Weekly’s full coverage and stay up-to-date with this issue at PLNU at http://blogs.pointloma.edu/thepointweekly/.


  1. Todd Clayton is a brave young man of God. I’m proud to know him.

  2. As a lifelong Nazarene I am deeply concerned by this. Homosexuality is biblically wrong and against Nazarene doctrine. I have nothing against Todd or anyone else who is gay, but I believe it is wrong (and I am entitled to my opinion) and I believe it has no place in any Nazarene church, period.

  3. The Nazarene Church seems to have tried (inconsistently and very late in the game) to emphasize that, although it stands firmly against homosexual “acts”, it does not wish to ostracize or ignore homosexuals in its midst. Most of those Nazarenes posting on this site seem not to have received that “love the sinner” part of the memo, judging by the blanket “homosexuality is an abomination….” comments posted above. Whatever position the church may profess on welcoming homosexuals to follow Christ, the membership seems to have received a totally opposite message. Most of the above commenters seem to hate the sinner as much or more than they condemn the sin. Many Nazarenes seem much more willing to sweep sins that are more familiar to them and their family members under the rug (gluttony, divorce, inhospitality, greed, their own and their family member’s infidelity in heterosexual relationships) than the so-called sins committed by people the church has preconditioned them to consider as “other.”

    So many of Nazarenes seem not to be in touch with their own Church’s doctrine. This seems to be the case with the commenter above who opined that “homosexuality is biblically wrong….” Instead of loving and welcoming their homosexual neighbor into a journey to God’s truth, as official Nazarene pastoral guidelines suggest, these Nazarenes find it much simpler and ego-gratifying to invoke blanket condemnations, not of any act, but of an entire class of people. This tells me that, however sincere the Nazarene Church may be in promoting its Christian doctrine of love, the Church’s members are still mostly stuck in misconceptions about homosexuality, confusion over the fact that a being a homosexual is not a “sin”, no matter what one’s views about the sinfulness of homosexual (or any other non-married sexual) acts may be. So many are so quick to jump to the ego-gratifiying, condescending holier-than-thou judgments and condemnations of others whose sins are no more or less than the sins of those condemning them.

  4. Informative article, totally what I was looking for.

  5. Informative article, exactly what I wanted to find.

  6. I grew up partly in a Nazarene church and when I went to my minister as a young man, he told me to pray about it. Nonsense. These people will think differently when one of their own children comes out to them. I am sick and tired of the United Methodist official baloney on ‘homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching.” Who cares what a church says. They misinterpret scripture out of context, they say it is ok to be gay, just don’t act on it. How insulting. Medical knowledge will tell you it is a God given sexual orientation.

    Enough said. Todd Clayton needs the get out of such a church as this. You cannot win for losing.

    1. Did you know the term “homosexual” did not appear in the Bible until about 50 years ago? It didn’t exist in the Greek and Hebrew languages of the original scripture.

      Did you know Jesus didn’t utter a single word about homosexuality? He never mentions it.

      Todd’s is a wonderful and encouraging story for everyone, especially gay Nazarenes, about honesty, self-acceptance, and freedom. Good for him for fleeing a self-destructive, fearful, dishonest life and seeking freedom!
      We are at a turning point at which Christians should be encouraging each other to become informed on this issue. How many of our church leaders have dissected the original texts of the verses so often used to condemn homosexuality? (not that they have to. The scholarly work has all been done. Look it up!) And how many are up-to-date on scientific findings about genetic predispositions and such?
      Here are two articles that might be helpful for Christians to read before they form an opinion.

      I encourage any gay Christian or any Christian who KNOWS and loves someone gay: see the documentary For The Bible Tells Me So. Netflix instant watch. OR buy the DVD and pass it around. Fish Out of Water is another excellent doc that can also give peace and comfort to those struggling with how homosexuality lines up with the Bible.

      Sadly, there are many Christian churches out there outdoing the Naz when it comes to acceptance and love of LGBTQ people. I have hope that Nazarenes will catch up someday, but until then there are places to worship and serve God without judgement and guilt…and that’s probably where they will all go.
      In 20 years, I believe this will be a non-issue in our country and in many Christiian churches. Press on toward the hope. Do good. Don’t judge, that’s God’s job. Peace and love to you all.

  7. 1 Corinthians 6:9 NET
    “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived! The sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, passive homosexual partners, practicing homosexuals,”

    First, from Strong’s concordance –  ‘arsenokoites’: a male engaging in same-gender sexual activity
    Definition: a male engaging in same-gender sexual activity; a sodomite, pederast.
    From Strong’s exhaustive concordance, ‘homosexual’- From arrhen and koite; a sodomite — abuser of (that defile) self with mankind. 

    We move on to Thayer’s Greek lexicon for ‘arsenokoites’ -STRONGS NT 733: ἀρσενοκοίτης ἀρσενοκοίτης, ἀρσενοκοιτου, ὁ (ἄρσην a male; κοίτη a bed), one who lies with a male as with a female, a sodomite: 1 Corinthians 6:9; 1 Timothy 1:10. (Anthol. 9, 686, 5; ecclesiastical writings.)
    Thayer’s Greek definitions defines ‘arsenokoites’ as ‘one who lies with a male as with a female, sodomite, homosexual’. Even if you drop the ‘modern’ terminology – homosexual – you still get the same meaning. 

    There has been a recent (August 2011) push from those in the American Psychiatric Association to equate pedophiles to homosexuals with the B4U-ACT. Claiming pedophiles can not help their sexual preference just like their homosexual counterparts, therefore they should not be demonized.  They are also making the case for children being born sexual beings, and therefore should have the right to sexual experimentation as well.

    We have allowed “evolution” to usurp God’s Word, and are becoming more accepting of the things God already declared to be an “abomination.” We have therefore reduced ourselves down to mere animals, and have allowed demonic thinking and behavior to become the new norm.  I am just curious to see what the next 20-30 years hold for the church, and if the same supposed Christians championing the cause of the homosexual, will in turn be championing the cause of the “Minor Attracted Person (a.k.a pedophile)?” 

    They say history repeats itself, if so we are quickly returning to the Roman Empire. 

    2 Timothy 2:25, 26 
    ” Perhaps God will grant them repentance and then knowledge of the truth and they will come to their senses and escape the devil’s trap where they are held captive to do his will.”

    Ephesians 6:11, 12 
    “Clothe yourselves with the full armor of God so that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is NOT against flesh and blood, BUT AGAINST the rulers, against the powers, against the world rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens.”

    Isaiah 5:20 “How horrible it will be for those who call evil good and good evil, who turn darkness into light and light into darkness, who turn what is bitter into something sweet and what is sweet into something bitter.”

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