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My Letter to Oklahoma University President David Boren and to the OU Board of Regents


[Most of you know by now that Kirk Humphreys, evangelical Christian and former Mayor of Oklahoma City, “resigned” from the Board of Regents at the University of Oklahoma. The issue that led to this unfortunate turn of events was Humphreys’ biblical stance on the issue of homosexuality. The letter below was sent to President Boren and the University’s Board of Regents both by email and regular post. Mr. Humphreys also was sent a copy of the letter.]

Dear President Boren and the Board of Regents:

My name is Sam Storms and I serve as Senior Pastor of Bridgeway Church in Oklahoma City. I am a 1973 graduate of the University of Oklahoma, as is my wife. My sister and her husband are OU grads, and so too were both my mother and father. Needless to say, we are all “Sooner born and Sooner bred and when we die we’ll be Sooner dead.”

Let me begin by congratulating you on your tremendous success in elevating the academic excellence of the University of Oklahoma to a level heretofore unattained. You have every right to be proud of this accomplishment and I applaud your continuing efforts in this regard.

However, I write this letter deeply grieved by recent actions taken by the Board of Regents regarding Kirk Humphreys. Instead of defending his freedom to articulate his beliefs on a matter of great moral significance in our society, he was vilified, abandoned, and exposed to public ridicule without so much as a word being spoken in his defense. I’m not asking that you agree with his moral convictions concerning homosexual practice but only that you extend to him the same respect and intellectual freedom that you so tenaciously protect on behalf of all others.

Mr. Humphreys is an evangelical Christian who simply articulated the view that has been traditionally embraced for 2,000 years by Christians of virtually all branches. If you have any doubts in this regard, I commend to you the book by S. Donald Fortson III and Rollin G. Grams, Unchanging Witness: The Consistent Christian Teaching on Homosexuality in Scripture and Tradition (B & H Academic, 2016; 402 pages). They provide extensive and irrefutable documentation that the view articulated by Kirk Humphreys is and has been the dominant opinion of Christians throughout our history.

Let me be clear that neither Mr. Humphreys nor I am even remotely suggesting that homosexuality is comparable to pedophilia. His public apology for not speaking with greater clarity on that point must be noted and is to be commended.

I am aware that Mr. Humphreys voluntarily resigned from the Board of Regents, but he would not have done so had this not been the request of you and the other Board members. What this tells me and others is that anyone can serve on the Board and at the University except evangelical Christians. It tells me that every view is permissible and should be granted freedom of expression and protection from discrimination except the view embraced by orthodox, Bible-believing Christians.

You speak much of “inclusion” and showing respect for all views. But apparently this only applies to those who affirm homosexual behavior as morally permissible. Your discriminatory action toward Mr. Humphreys is contrary to everything you have said and done in the past to promote academic freedom at the University. I can’t imagine what other employees of OU and especially faculty members must be thinking. I’m quite certain that they will feel the pressure to conform and will realize that any notion of academic freedom to research and give expression to what they believe is true is a myth.

And what will become of the numerous students at OU who likewise share Mr. Humphreys’ perspective? I suspect that most of them will be intimidated into silence, fearful that any expression of evangelical Christian convictions will result in their being penalized both personally and academically.

Why is Mr. Humphreys not shown the same respect that is shown to the LGBTQ community at OU? Yes, members of that community are deserving of respect, dignity, and must be given equal access to the wonderful educational resources and opportunities that OU exists to provide. Mr. Humphreys himself has voiced whole-hearted agreement with that principle. So why is he the object of exclusion and discrimination when he articulates his personal perspective? Are all evangelical Christians now to believe that their historic, long-standing, biblical convictions are no longer welcome at OU? Why is Mr. Humphreys the target of such remarkable intolerance at a University that purportedly promotes tolerance?

Your actions with regard to Mr. Humphreys indicate to me and countless others that you have capitulated to the pressure of special interest groups in our society. I had hoped that the President (and Board of Regents) of the University I have so dearly loved and supported would have more courage to defend the free speech rights of one of its Regents. By all means, say that you disagree with Mr. Humphreys. If the other Regents concur, then by all means give expression to your opinions. But please extend to him the same rights and freedom you claim for yourself.

My family has held season tickets for OU football since 1947. I, too, am a season-ticket holder. But in view of this deplorable treatment of Mr. Humphreys and suppression of the historic Christian view on human sexuality, I am compelled to cancel my participation. And I will urge others to do likewise.

I suspect that this will have little impact on your decision to grant Mr. Humphreys the same respect and honor that you so vigorously extend to those in the LGBTQ community, but my conscience will not allow me to support in any way a university that practices such inexcusable discrimination and exclusionary behavior toward evangelical Christians. Should the day come when you publicly affirm that evangelical Christians have the same rights and freedom of expression that is extended to people in the LGBTQ community, I will reconsider my actions. But until then I must remain firm in my commitment.

Cordially yours,

Sam Storms, B.A., Th.M., Ph.D.
Senior Pastor
Bridgeway Church
Oklahoma City, OK


Dr. Storms,

As a Christian professor in a state-supported institution I thank you for this letter. It seems every unpopular view is permitted in the academy, but a hint of a personal disagreement on the issue of homosexuality because of biblical beliefs and religious freedom, draws ire and discrimination. My LGBTQ students will tell you they are treated NO differently than those who either are not LGBTQ or who do not state their sexuality preference/identity. Their views, all of their views, are allowed in my classrooms, as appropriate to the content--and sometimes it is in my field. That is what should matter. I don't discriminate and never would, for, as you stated, all people LGBTQ deserve to be treated with respect as people, with the same quality education. And all people who are not in that category should be allowed to hold whatever personal convictions they have, without fear of backlash. Academia is about freedom of speech and ideas more than anyplace in this nation, and it's time we return to that and understand disagreement does not equate to discrimination, hate, or any other negative action toward a human being worthy of love, honor, and respect, regardless of identity or sexuality.

I completely agree with you Sam, you have expressed your concern for these events so eloquently. When this situation came up with Kirk Humphrey saying what he did, and the subsequent reaction on the OU campus, I was so bothered by this. I do not judge or condemn LGBTQ people, but yet I do disagree with the lifestyle as I do with anything else the word of God talks against. But despite what I or anyone else believes, the LGBTQ community is experiencing their freedom and acceptance more than ever before. But i don't think they should be able to treat those that don't agree with the lifestyle as though that is wrong and that you should not be allowed to be on the Board of Regents, for instance. Now they are becoming the ones that are prejudice, as they have said they have been treated before. Kirk Humphrey should have had the freedom to express his beliefs without this happening to him. ... But this is what the world is turning into now, these groups are running with their new found acceptance, now matter who they run over, just as long as their lifestyle is accepted.

Thank you Dr. Storms. Sadly, today it takes courage to speak in conviction of Christian beliefs, as these are so righteously declared intolerant by self-declared tolerants everywhere. Even in the comments section of your wonderfully stated post, this situation is evident. When the phrase "agree to disagree" became lost to verbal terrorism and virtual stoning, I do not know, but it has and I fear it gone forever. Those who preach tolerance today really mean - as you so eloquently penned - "I'll tolerate your opinion as long as it's in agreement with mine", or "...as long as you don't say something that offends my sensibilities". I congratulate you for your fortitude - I can only pray more Christians will as lovingly, kindly stand their ground.

Sam, you so beautifully addressed the same prejudice in academia that so many are perceiving in widespread cultural areas. Tolerance appears to be a one way street most often in this climate of ‘freedom’. I have a very hard time understanding why refusing Christian opinion is not viewed in the same negative manner as disallowing gay expression. Either all are afforded their unique opinion or no one is....and we certainly don’t want that. The bully on the block is leading this parade far and wide.
It appears our history is being rewritten by those with a forceful agenda that negates the Judeo- Christian ethic.
Thank you for speaking out.

Vicki derringer, if you'll read your scripture you'll find out that God doesn't make mistakes. He does love all people, but when He made mankind He made both male and female. Even in the bible acts of homosexuality were punished, do you remember sodom and gamora? He wants us to love the sinner but hate the sin, and when Mr. Humphrey spoke he was merely voicing what the word of God says. It is wrong and it will always be wrong. God didn't make man a woman or woman a man. We DO NOT have to accept their lifestyle and shouldn't, but lead them to Christ the author and finisher of our faith.

So you are upset that your intolerance isn't being tolerated? Too bad.

The founder of Christianity had some pretty specific things to say about who gets to judge sinners. and it wasn't you, me, or Mr. Humphreys. When he presumed to judge students based on something that was none of his business and had nothing to do with their abilities as students, Mr. Humphreys showed that he was not fit to be a regent.

Thank you, Pastor Storms, for so eloquently stating your position on this issue. My wife Carolyn and I stand in agreement with you and Mr. Humphreys. The University of Oklahoma is poorer by a large measure as a result of the Board's failure to stand for liberty and justice for all. We will not be attending, watching, or supporting the activities of O.U. in any way until this error is corrected and the appropriate amends are made to Mr. Humphreys.

Needed to be said; said well. Thanks Dr. Storms

From one Sooner fan to another - Well stated! Thank you Dr. Storms for having the courage to speak the truth in love.
To Christ Jesus be the glory!
Mendy Clark

As a Christian, I am grateful that Kirk Humphreys is no longer on the board of regents at OU. My faith teaches that LGBTQ people are beloved children of God, accepted and loved just as yhey are. OU has been intentional about welcoming ALL students. Based on his comments, I can’t imagine that Mr. Humphries would be able to endorse policies that would include acceptance of LGBTQ students.

Thanks so much, Sam, for a job well done. In your wonderfully articulate way you have a put yourself out there to address this issue. It echoes my thoughts and frustrations every time I hear of something like this and don't quite know what to do with it?? Thanks for being brave!

Wonderfully stated, Sam. May the Lord bless you. And may he convict the leaders of OU of their hypocrisy and contempt to what must be a large portion of their community.

Dr. Storms,

Thanks. You spoke the sentiments of multiple thousands, even millions in your letter. This issue is emerging to become as divisive in America as the issues that led to The Civil War. America is polarized around this issue. Traditionalism & Evangelicalism is losing this culture war. Either we have to quietly accept the new reality, or respectfully and intelligently fight back or resist, this change in the culture. Thanks for the courage, character, competence, compassion and commitment to articulate the truth in love that represents a great cloud of witnesses.

Respectfully, assertively, professionally stated, Pastor Storms! I, unashamedly stand in support of you and Mr. Humphreys. You both are courage men who have spoken the truth in love.

Thank you so much Pastor Storms for standing up for Kirk Humphreys. I think it is truly a disgrace what president Boren and the board of regents did to Mr. Humphreys. Gives me a truly different outlook on the University of Oklahoma, to think that Kirk was treated so unfairly. How can attend church on Sunday morning Mr. Boren and call yourself a Christian?

Sam masterfully, and respectfully points out the irony of claiming to value tolerance while acting in complete opposition to the claim. Thank you for speaking up in a way that preserves everyone’s dignity. You demonstrate what it means to be truly tolerant without becoming a lemming that jumps off the cliff with most of academia.

I agree Sam. The University is capitulating on a basic issue and is advancing the view that only those views that are politically correct are allowed. The moral relativism of our age is a fraud.
It does not allow all views, but enforces its own absolutes. Political correctness has become the arbitrary absolute of academia, and it has been forcing those absolutes on students for years, and is now imposing them on the Board of Regents. It is the opposite of academic freedom and compels us to withhold our support and our children.

Discrimination in any form is wrong and should not be tolerated.. OU has taken the opposite action!

Sam, thank you for the letter that you shared with President Boren and the University of Oklahoma Regents. I believe your letter expressed the deep concerns that not only Evangelical Christians have but citizens from all backgrounds. The lack of respect for Kirk Humphrey highlights this "conditional" freedom of speech. Again, thank you for letter. May God use you in a manner that will have "Wilberforce Impact" on our state and culture.

Well, Bye. I’d like their OU season tickets, please.

totally agree... thanks for writing this...

Thanks Sam. Much needed leadership. I'd say you went easy on them. You could have reminded them of their upcoming appointment in their Maker's office, when they won't be worrying about what man can do to their careers.

And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. Eph 5.

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