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Gay on God's CampusMobilizing for LGBT Equality at Christian Colleges and Universities$
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Jonathan S. Coley

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781469636221

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469636221.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
Gay on God's Campus

Jonathan S. Coley

University of North Carolina Press

This introductory chapter reviews the central problem facing past theories of activist group participation: the assumption that all activists share the same motivations for joining and committing to activist groups and that all activists follow the same biographical pathways after participating in activist groups. The chapter illustrates this problem through a vignette of three activists mobilizing for LGBT equality at their Christian colleges and universities, one who fits the traditional portrait of a highly politicized activist, but two others who come from relatively conservative or apolitical backgrounds and contradict most assumptions about activists. After outlining the book’s intervention into the literature on activist group participation, the chapter then addresses the question of why readers should care about issues facing LGBT students at Christian colleges and universities, even though the federal government currently allows Christian colleges and universities to discriminate against LGBT people and even though LGBT people could theoretically choose to attend other schools. The chapter concludes with a brief discussion of the qualitative, in-depth interview data on 65 students at the book’s four primary sites, specifically, Belmont University, the Catholic University of America, Goshen College, and Loyola University Chicago.

Keywords:   LGBT, Activists, Participation, Christian, Colleges, Universities, Qualitative

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