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The Freedom to be a Christian College

By Brett McCracken

The philosophical question

Are Christian institutions free to practice their faith as they believe Scripture calls them to, without government intervention?

The legal question

How will shifting cultural norms, and their accompanying legal protections, interact with religious freedom protections for institutions that hold orthodox Christian beliefs?

 

Specific Challenges

Health care mandates

Will religious institutions like Biola be exempted from laws requiring insurance plans to cover abortions and abortifacient drugs?

Hiring practices

Can religious institutions like Biola choose not to hire an employee on the basis of their sexual conduct being inconsistent with institutional convictions?

Gender identity policies

Will religious institutions like Biola be exempted from laws requiring broad accommodations for transgender students?

 

What’s at Stake?

The practical cost

Potential loss of eligibility for federal Title IV funds and Cal Grants, affecting affordability for students; potential loss of institutional access to federal research grants; potential loss of accreditation.

The ideological cost

Narrowing of the scope of Christian faith to basically private worship. Government, rather than religious communities, decides what religious convictions are essential and worth protecting.

 

What Can We Do?

1.

Defend religious freedom globally. Be in solidarity with Christians everywhere whose freedom is under threat.

2.

Partner with others to defend religious freedom. Rather than claiming privilege, advocate for a level playing field in a pluralistic society.

3.

Embrace the communal, voluntary orientation of Christianity. Defend the logic of groups needing boundaries and covenants to survive.

4.

Tell stories of how Christian colleges contribute to the common good. Focus on what we are for rather than what we are against.

5.

Pray for the freedom, and the courage, to follow Christ in all aspects of life.

 

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Comments

  • Dennis Voskuil January 17, 2016 at 5:27 PM

    I love Biola and what it is doing. I thought of you and the future of all denominational "Christian" schools in America. Steve

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