Conservative Christian Colleges Face Legal Questions Over Beliefs

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Christian colleges may lose federal funding if they don’t sort out their stances on LGBT rights.

Students and faculty at these schools often had to sign a “faith statement” that typically outlines beliefs and scripture interpretations, according to Gay Star News. With a changed legal culture surrounding LGBT rights, schools are finding it harder to enforce those beliefs on homosexuality laid out in those statements.  

"Millennials are looking at the issue of gay marriage, and more and more they are saying, 'OK, we know the Bible talks about this, but we just don't see this as an essential of the faith,'" Brad Harper, a professor of theology and religious history at Multnomah University, said to NPR.

That shift has seen college students more willing to talk about their sexuality and feel more comfortable in their faith.

‘When I realized that my faith wasn’t necessarily about the [Christian Reformed] Church, and it wasn’t even necessarily about the Bible but about my relationship with God and that God is all-encompassing and loving, I felt very free,” junior Calvin College student Sam Koster said to NPR.

The change is not creating comfort for all, however. According to NPR, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Title IX of the Higher Education Amendments of 1972 created a debate of whether schools under the law could still prohibit LGBT values or fail to provide equal opportunities.

A changed view on LGBT issues in courts will also call into question schools which issue “faith statement” for students to sign.

“Four years down the line, eight years down the line, depending on the makeup of the Supreme Court, depending on who is president, I can see the gay/transgender issue being pushed in a way that would seek to make Christian colleges either surrender their federal funding or change their position and conform with the wider consensus,” Carl Trueman, a professor of church history at Westminster Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania. said.


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