A pair of sorority sisters, after much time spent in close company, realized their feelings were more romantic than friendly. It sounds like the premise for a cute indie comedy. But as it played out within the Berkeley chapter of Christian Alpha Delta Chi, it morphed into a draining emotional trial.
The Daily Californian has the whole sad story. Kylie Foo and Sophia Chaparro became a couple in 2012, but worried that there might a conflict of interest in both holding chapter leadership positions while in a relationship. So they reached out to the national organization. The response was harsh: ADX's president Casey Chan reportedly ruled that if they stayed together, they'd be "delinquent" and couldn't remain members at all:
Apparently, they were in violation of an ADX membership requirement stating that all sisters must embody a "willingness to avoid situations which would cause one's brother or sister to stumble."
Never mind that we're talking about a same-sex relationship, not handing someone a sack of cocaine and an unregistered Glock.
But their campus chapter didn't play along. The national org's heavy-handed reaction angered a number of local sisters and alums, who pushed back. Turns out, the national board wasn't supposed to rule anybody "delinquent" (what a term!) without a vote by the member's chapter. That didn't go over well:
Multiple sources present at the time of the call say Chan told the chapter she recognized that Beta had a right to vote on whether to allow Foo and Chaparro to remain in ADX. She warned, however, that if the house voted to allow them to stay, the entire chapter could lose its charter completely — a devastating threat to a group of women whose entire community was centered on ADX.
"Homosexuality is not of God," Chan told the girls in the chapter.
The chapter voted to keep Foo and Chaparro stay, but it didn't get any easier from there. The national leadership brought the hammer down, rendering the group "inactive." No recruits for a semester, no funding for social events—just an assignment to do Bible study. (Zzzzz...) Sources told the Daily Californian that no one liked the way the national organization handled the issue, but according to Foo, "her sorority sisters' focus soon shifted to the nature of her relationship with Chaparro and determining whether it was biblically acceptable."
Which wouldn't tend to make the sorority house feel very welcome, one assumes.
Eventually, Foo and Chaparro left the group, only to return in the fall rush of 2013—as protestors. That didn't go over well with their former sisters. Said one who'd supported the pair: "We did risk our charter to stand by these girls.... Whatever the (national) sorority did is also being taken out on the girls in the chapter." (ADX has since ended its formal affiliation with UC Berkeley, after being warned they weren't technically allowed to admit only Christians.)
"It makes me really sad when people think of Christianity as a hateful and discriminatory religion, and organizations like ADX do nothing to help that," Foo told the Californian.
It's a sad story, made especially sad by the fact it's the national organization's bullshit that ignited the conflict in the first place. You know—the adults who are supposedly there to guide the kids? The national president has since sent the couple a mealy-mouthed letter of apology, apologizing for "any hurt" and adding, '"I am praying for you both." (A phrase that, in these sorts of circumstances, generally tends to enrage rather than soothe.) ADX's statement to the Daily Californian doesn't really do much to smooth things over, either:
"From UC Berkeley to Azusa Pacific to Illinois State to Georgia Tech to Seton Hall, ADX chapters reflect a diversity of persons, practices, and policies, but are united by the universal Christian vocation 'to be conformed to the image of His Son.' Romans 8:29."
Who knows what would've happened if Chan and the rest of the national leadership hadn't laid down their original ultimatums? Maybe the Berkeley chapter could've worked it out. Maybe it could've been a teachable moment, or brought everyone involved closer together. Guess we'll never know.
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