College LGBT Ash Wednesday event claims Bible's condemnation of homosexuality is 'Christian fake news'

Campus pastor says he was 'unprepared' for backlash

Getty Images
Getty Images

Two Christian student organizations are facing backlash over their sponsorship of an LGBT Ash Wednesday event that claimed Christianity is “often a face of intolerance” and the Gospel endorses homosexuality.

The “Glitter + Ash” event, which was scheduled to be held on campus at Fort Hays State University (FHSU) in Kansas on Feb. 14, was sponsored by Us4U, a student-led interfaith group, and the United Methodist Campus Ministry (UMCM), according to university officials.

News of the event went viral after conservative influencer Libs of TikTok shared a screenshot of the event announcement that bore the official FHSU logo.

Get Our Latest News for FREE

Subscribe to get daily/weekly email with the top stories (plus special offers!) from The Christian Post. Be the first to know.

In response, an FHSU spokesperson released a statement defending the “inclusion of the university brand mark” on the announcement, adding it was “not intended to serve as an affirmed or implied endorsement of the beliefs and views held or expressed by any Student Organization.”

“In the interest of ensuring that the First Amendment right of every individual is respected, FHSU remains viewpoint-neutral on this and other Student Organization-led events,” the statement added. “The Kansas Board of Regents and Fort Hays State University are committed to the free expression of ideas and beliefs, and we are united in our commitment to full and open inquiry and discourse and the robust exchange of ideas and perspectives.”

A listing for the “Glitter Ash Wednesday” event says the purpose of the effort is to let “the world know that we are progressive, queer-positive Christians.”

After claiming the “public face of Christianity is often a face of intolerance — especially toward [LGBT-identified] people,” the listing disputes the notion that “the God of Christianity condemns” homosexuality and transgenderism.

“This is Christian ‘fake news,’ not the Good News of Jesus,” the listing adds.

Launched in 2017, more than 200 churches and “faith groups” took part in the initial Glitter Ash Wednesday, according to interfaith LGBT group Parity, known formerly as Presbyterian Welcome.

The Rev. Marian Edmonds-Allen, executive director of Parity, told The Christian Post in a 2017 interview that the purpose of Glitter Ash Wednesday is to serve as a witness to an "inclusive Christian message."

For up to $15 per bottle, the organization also sells “Glitter Blessings,” glass nail polish-style vials that Parity says contain “frankincense-scented holy oil from Jerusalem and biodegradable rainbow glitter, enough for 100 people to receive a blessing that celebrates [LGBT] people as beloved and created by a loving God.”

“[LGBT-identified] people are told the lie that God hates them and that they aren’t able to be [LGBT] AND a person of faith. We know better!” the website states. “Not only do we know fabulous [LGBT] people of faith (and are clergy and faithful ourselves) we also know that God loves everyone, including — maybe especially! — those Friends of Dorothy (code for, yes, you guessed it, fabulous [LGBT] people).”

The group also includes a Glitter Blessing for Transfiguration Sunday from the Rev. Danielle Wilson of the U.K.’s Inclusive Gathering Birmingham, which suggests that Jesus’ Transfiguration on the Mount was a demonstration of His “shining, glittering, other-worldly divinity.”

“Jesus has passed on the God-sparkle so that we, too, might be transformed into sources of glimmering, glittering light and gritty, scandalous hope — shining and sparkling like Jesus,” Wilson wrote. “Not everyone understands or accepts our kind of sparkle, but we sparkle nonetheless.”

CP reached out to both Us4U and the United Methodist Campus Ministry for comment on Friday. 

Troy Miller, a local pastor both at Hays FUMC and the UMCM at FHSU, clarified to CP that churches and campus ministries are “solely separate ministries,” adding that there weren’t any partnerships between the campus ministry and Hays FUMC or Us4U.

According to Miller, the campus ministry was “erroneously added” as a co-sponsor after Miller agreed to participate in the event.

“I cannot speak to the motivation of holding the event because I was not involved in its organization or promotion,” Miller told CP Friday. “My motivation to help was simply based on the opportunity to be part of an ecumenical effort by local pastors to impose ashes for those students and/or faculty that may not have time or ability to be part of a local church service but still desired to receive the ashes.”

Miller added that while his desire in ministry is to be “accepting of all students no matter what,” he was “unprepared” for the backlash over the Glitter event.

“I simply withdrew because I did not want myself or the UMCM to be caught in the middle of a situation I had no control over from the beginning,” he explained. 

“My withdrawal was not meant to be a commentary on any students, student organizations, local pastors, or local churches.”

Around the world, Ash Wednesday worship involves church services where ashes are placed in the shape of a cross on the foreheads of worshipers. Traditionally, worshipers choose to leave the ashes on their foreheads for the remainder of the day as an outward sign and symbol of grief, as well as purification and sorrow for sins.

While the Bible makes no specific mention of Ash Wednesday, the practice of repentance and mourning in sackcloth and ashes is found throughout the Old and New Testaments.

In the Old Testament, the prophet Daniel speaks of seeking the Lord for the release of His people from Babylonian exile with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes (Daniel 9:3).

After Jonah preached to the Ninevites, they responded by fasting and, upon hearing Jonah’s warning, the king of Nineveh “covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes” (Jonah 3:6).

Ian M. Giatti is a reporter for The Christian Post and the author of BACKWARDS DAD: a children's book for grownups. He can be reached at:

Was this article helpful?

Help keep The Christian Post free for everyone.

By making a recurring donation or a one-time donation of any amount, you're helping to keep CP's articles free and accessible for everyone.

We’re sorry to hear that.

Hope you’ll give us another try and check out some other articles. Return to homepage.

Most Popular

More Articles