Denice Dee Denton, 46, an embattled University of California chancellor, who was criticized for helping her lesbian partner secure a top-paying job at the University of Santa Californai Santa Cruz died Saturday morning in San Francisco after apparently jumping from a downtown hotel. UC Santa Cruz Campus Provost David S. Kliger said in a statement released on Saturday: "We are deeply saddened by her death."

Denton had been criticzed by an employee union for the university’s creation of a $192,000-a-year job for Gretchen Kalonji, Denton’s longtime partner and a former professor of materials science at the University of Washington in Seattle.

When I read such news accounts I wonder how Christians should respond. I would guess some might say, “You really do reap what you sow. We ought to make this clear.” Still others might say we ought to appeal to “justice being served” since she appears to have shown a particular kind of favoritism that is reprehensible to most people. I bowed my head and prayed for Dr. Denton’s family and her many friends as they try desperately to make sense of this tragedy. I also prayed for Grethcen Kalonji, that this sad news might cause her to seek God for grace in Christ the Savior of all. In the end I realize that as much as I hate the sin of people like the late Dr. Denton I am also reminded: “There but by the grace of God go I.” I am the chief of sinners and a debtor to grace alone. This does not make me wink at Dr. Denton’s ungodly ways if I am concerned about culture and morality. But it does make we want to be more human, and thus humane in my dealings with gays and lesbians.

I really do think this is the attitude shown to us by the Apostle Paul in his several comments on such sinful deviancy and God’s grace (1 Corinthians 6:9-11). As he says, "Such were some of you." Can that be said of your local church community? Is there the real fruit of Christian love in your fellowship toward the homosexual community?

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Comments

  1. Ken June 25, 2006 at 6:06 am

    My favorite quotation by Francis Schaeffer concerns how impossible it is in the flesh to display both the holiness and love of God at the same time. Yet this is what we are required to do! To display both the holiness and love of God together requires the Holy Spirit.
    This seems to be the case here. Perhaps only a close and prayerful walk with God can enable us to respond in a way that does justice to God’s justice, yet displays his love and mercy as well.
    Also — as American Christians we tend to think we ought to make a public statement about such things. Maybe sometimes humbled silence before God is most appropriate…
    Ken

  2. aaronsc June 25, 2006 at 3:51 pm

    I am truly shocked and horrified at your response to Chancellor Denton’s death…a Christian response? Sounds more like condemnation to me. And, to suggest that her partner take her death as an opportunity to turn away from her sin. How lacking compassion and inhumane can you evangelicals be! This country allows you live as you wish; a truly christian response would be to compassionately mourn this woman’s death and celebrate, yes, celebrate her life. She was greatly accomplished and she did not take her life because she was a lesbian. Would you be attacking her in her views, her ability to negotiate a job package comparable to what any white straight male with her credentials would have. We must ask ourselves in looking at people’s reactions to her death: what went wrong in community that could isolate someone so bright and accomplished that she would choose such a dramatic option. Perhaps you ought to read Christ’s words and view his life again, contemplating how he would have responded to this. No doubt, he would be ministering with great compassion to her family and partner, not calling her partner to repentance and trying to convert her. Find some real compassion and humanity in your zealotry.

  3. joanna July 3, 2006 at 10:46 pm

    Shame on you for using God’s name to promote hatred and bigotry of any kind!

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