Christian colleges targeted for gender views

Transgenderism | Department of Education releases list of schools not bending to LGBT agenda
by Evan Wilt
Posted 4/29/16, 04:48 pm

WASHINGTON—Amid pressure from the nation’s largest LGBT advocacy group, the U.S. Department of Education publicly released a list today of Christian schools seeking Title IX exemptions over their views on transgenderism.

In December, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) issued a report calling for “greater transparency” for religious schools seeking exemptions “under the guise of religious liberty.”

Today, the Obama administration published the results of the request—placing the spotlight on each college and university seeking to hold true to a biblical worldview on gender and sexuality.

“Yes, we filed for the exemption and we are proud of it,” said Everett Piper, president of Oklahoma Wesleyan University, one of the schools on the list. “But nothing will change for us. We are compliant with a biblical worldview and to do anything else would be false advertising for our students.”

Title IX is the federal law enacted in 1972 to prevent discrimination on the basis of sex. For years, the law was used primarily to give women equal access to intercollegiate sports. But in 2014, without a single move from lawmakers in Congress, the Department of Education expanded the definition to include gender identity. Now, schools need to accommodate men who identify as women—granting them access to female housing or even permission to compete on female sports teams if they choose.

The broadened definition challenged many Christian institutions to either compromise their faith-based principles or file for an exemption from the new mandate to keep federal funding. And even with the exemption, the move opens the door to possible lawsuits from LGBT groups and public ridicule.

Eight Senate Democrats joined with HRC to pressure the Department of Education to compile and release the list.

But others in the Senate view this as just one more example of an overreaching agency in the Obama administration.

In March, Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., spoke out against the Department of Education, citing Title IX mandates as an example of abuse of power.

“The Department of Education positions itself to hold federal funding ransom if universities don’t comply with its policies even when those policies are unlawful abuses of regulatory power,” Lankford said. “Here the ends certainly do not justify the means. Schools and the very students we want to protect suffer as a result.”

The Department of Education’s list spotlighted 74 schools that have filed for exemptions since 2009. They range from Baptist institutions, such as Anderson University in South Carolina, to Quaker colleges, such as George Fox University in Oregon.

“(We want) to ensure that no student unknowingly enrolls in a school that intends to discriminate against them,” HRC president Chad Griffin said.

The Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU), which represents 152 North American institutions, said the list merely affirms which schools are taking advantage of provisions already laid out by lawmakers.

“The real story is why some are trying to penalize religious colleges for simply following the law,” the CCCU said in a statement.

Yet for Piper, the exemption is less about shielding his institution under the law but protecting his students from invasions of privacy. Being a male or being a female is an objective reality, and Piper said he wants to respect each student’s God-given biological sex.

“We believe that women should be given the dignity of having their own restrooms, showers, and dorms,” Piper said, reiterating statements he made in December. “I am pro-woman and proud of it.”

Christian law firm Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) echoed that sentiment.

“Activists have sought to publicly shame institutions that have exercised their rights, and they successfully recruited the Department [of Education] to join their efforts,” said Greg Baylor, senior counsel with ADF. “We are hopeful that most Americans will support schools that seek to respond to gender dysphoria with compassion and Christian love rather than follow the government’s one-size-fits-all mandates.”

Evan Wilt

Evan is a World Journalism Institute graduate and a former WORLD reporter.

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  • Bill L
    Posted: Tue, 05/10/2016 02:56 pm

    Kiwi, Check out Grove City College in Pannsylvania.  Probably not on the list because they take no Federal money and thus are exempt from Title IX anyway.  They wouldn't need an exemption because it doesn't apply to them.  They don't put up with this kind of nonsense, you will be very pleased with them.  Excellent education, they do teach engineering, and the price is more reasonable than most.  Also a frequent advertiser in World.

  •  Brendan Bossard's picture
    Brendan Bossard
    Posted: Tue, 05/10/2016 02:56 pm

    "'(We want) to ensure that no student unknowingly enrolls in a school
    that intends to discriminate against them,' HRC president Chad Griffin
    said."This statement is either complete bunk, or an expression of complete ignorance.  Anyone enrolling in a Christian college or university presumably has enough basic knowledge of the Bible to know whether he or she is being "discriminated" against.

  • Kiwi's picture
    Posted: Tue, 05/10/2016 02:56 pm

    If we can manage to afford it, my son will attend one of those universities this Fall, to study mechanical engineering. Price is a huge factor for us, as we live at the poverty line. My son is working hard to try to scrape together enough money to go, so he can use his skills as an engineer to help support missionaries who help people in remote regions. Yet, I know that as a targeted University, there is a risk that the hateful and powerful LGBT groups and the government may shut it down before my son is able to graduate in 4 years.  We are moving out in faith anyway...

  • JerryM
    Posted: Tue, 05/10/2016 02:56 pm

    Here also is a list of institutions to support and pray for.

  • Joe
    Posted: Tue, 05/10/2016 02:56 pm

    This is what happens when the government expands in unconstitutional ways, leading to all manner of unintended consequences. 

  •  West Coast Gramma's picture
    West Coast Gramma
    Posted: Tue, 05/10/2016 02:56 pm

    Excellent point tpen3219!

  •  Paul B. Taylor's picture
    Paul B. Taylor
    Posted: Tue, 05/10/2016 02:56 pm

    The Bible is clear about sexual identity.  So as Christians, we have to use scripture to defend our political views.  If we do so, many in the LGBT camp will have nothing to say.

  • tpen3219
    Posted: Tue, 05/10/2016 02:56 pm

    This is what happens when Christians take money from the government. The government then owns us. Stop taking money from the government!!!!!!!!!!