Campus Reform | LGBT advocates want potential Biden admin to threaten Christian college accreditation

LGBT advocates want potential Biden admin to threaten Christian college accreditation

An LGBTQ rights organization released a set of policy proposals that encourage the Department of Education to deny accreditation to religious schools based on “nondiscrimination policies and science based curricula.”

Christian educators see the policies as a threat to their convictions.

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The Human Rights Campaign released policy proposals that included denying accreditation to religious colleges that do not have “nondiscrimination policies and science-based curricula.”

The Human Rights Campaign’s 2020 Blueprint for Positive Change 2020 and the Blueprint for LGBTQ Equality Under Biden recommends federal policies that, according to the organization, are “aimed at bettering the daily lives of LGBTQ people at home and abroad.”

“The momentous election of pro-equality champions Joe Biden and Kamala Harris puts us on a path to move equality forward by advancing policies to improve the lives of millions of LGBTQ people,“ remarked HRC President Alphonso David. “Over the last four years, the Trump-Pence administration has systemically attacked LGBTQ people and our nation’s most sacred institutions — our courts, our Constitution, and our fundamental civil rights.”

“The Biden-Harris administration has the opportunity to not only put our democracy back on track but deliver real positive change for LGBTQ people’s daily lives,” David added. “The Blueprint for Positive Change 2020 charts the next administration’s path forward to improve the lives of LGBTQ people and move the needle closer toward full equality.”

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With respect to religious institutions of higher education, the group recommends that the federal Department of Education “ensure nondiscrimination policies and science based curricula are not undermined by religious exemptions to accreditation standards.”

The blueprint states that the Department of Education could interpret “language regarding accreditation of religious institutions of higher education in the Higher Education Opportunity Act” to “require accrediting bodies to accredit religious institutions that discriminate or that do not meet science-based curricula standards.”

According to the document, the Department of Education “should issue a regulation clarifying that this provision, which requires accreditation agencies to ‘respect the stated mission’ of religious institutions, does not require the accreditation of religious institutions that do not meet neutral accreditation standards including nondiscrimination policies and scientific curriculum requirements.”

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Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President Albert Mohler called the policies “sinister” on his personal blog, saying they would force Christian colleges and universities to contradict their consciences of matters of sexual ethics at the threat of losing accreditation.

“I’ve not seen any document like this before—the Human Rights Campaign is effectively calling for religious colleges and schools to be coerced into the sexual revolution or stripped of accreditation,” he remarked. “In terms of accreditation, that is an atomic bomb.”

Dr. Owen Strachan, director of the Center of Public Theology at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, told Campus Reform that he agrees with Mohler’s analysis. 

“With respect to this policy, Christian professors and universities that stand on biblical truth seem to be walking into a buzzsaw,” he said. “We pray that this policy will not come to fruition, for it is grossly unfair and makes a hash of the American principle of freedom of conscience, a freedom grounded in religious liberty. Religious liberty is the freedom that grounds all the others. Sadly, this proposal will compromise and even attack it.”

“Come what may, Christians must stand on the truth, teach the truth, and never apologize for the truth."

“Come what may, Christians must stand on the truth, teach the truth, and never apologize for the truth,” he added. “Jesus is the way, truth, and life, and our faith does not conform to the dictates of tyrannical policies.”

Joe Cohn, Legislative and Policy Director of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, told Campus Reform that “if their policy is adopted, it would easily lead to setting up the government as the entity determining for all colleges what curricula count as being science-based.” 

He explained that such a policy “has profound implications for academic freedom and undermines academic freedom rights significantly.”

Campus Reform reached out to the Human Rights Campaign for comment and will update this article accordingly.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @BenZeisloft