Six Christian universities, two of which are in California, have been accused of violating LGBTQ students’ “rights” by upholding Christian teachings on marriage and sexuality. Now, the schools are under investigation by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights.
La Sierra University and Azusa Pacific University are the two California schools under investigation.
The accusation began when the Religious Exemption Accountability Project (REAP), an anti-religious freedom group, filed a lawsuit against the Department of Education on behalf of 33 students who identify as LGBTQ. Elizabeth Hunter et al. vs. U.S. Department of Education claims that schools that profess beliefs in God’s design for relationships, marriage, and sexuality are discriminating against LGBTQ students.
It seeks “to put an end to the U.S. Department of Education’s complicity in the abuses and unsafe conditions thousands of LGBTQ+ students endure at hundreds of taxpayer-funded, religious colleges and universities.” Cameron Martinez, a “queer, non-binary person” at La Sierra University complained that the school’s practices “endorse the Seventh-day Adventist doctrine on homosexuality, stating that sexual intimacy belongs only within the marital relationship of a man and a woman.”
In other words, Martinez is upset that this Christian university is adhering to the teachings of the Bible. Jonathan Jones, a “gender-fluid” student at Asuza Pacific University, argued that the school discriminates against LGBTQ students “because its policies and practices, including in its current student handbook, prohibit sexual intimacy outside of marriage and endorse the doctrine that marriage is between a man and a woman.” He also complained that the school does not officially recognize an LGBT group on campus. Again, the student is complaining that a Christian University is upholding 2000-year-old Christian teachings on sexuality and gender.
These cases have nothing to do with discrimination against LGBTQ individuals and everything to do with religious freedom. The students who filed these complaints are being treated the same as every other student and they are not burdened by any additional restrictions. The only difference between them and the rest of their peers is that they disagree with the school’s worldview and take issue with the fact that a Christian institution might actually profess and require adherence to Christian beliefs and practices.
The left claims to champion diversity, but tries to silence anyone who professes a faith other than progressivism.
The Council of Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU) intervened in the case and emphasized the importance of Christian education: “Faith-based higher education has always been an essential element of the diversity of higher education in the United States – many of the first colleges and universities in the country were religious – and it is crucial that students continue to be given the opportunity to choose and access the college of their choice in a diverse educational landscape.”
CCCU is right. Especially in a time when the left has taken over nearly every university, authentically Christian schools need to be preserved for the sake of students seeking a Christian education. The right to religious freedom has no contingencies, and it certainly cannot be compromised simply because some may find one’s beliefs offensive.