The yawning chasm of a potential loss of accreditation reportedly faced Gordon College just a few months back.
It seemed that the Christian school’s Statement of Life and Conduct included “homosexual practice” as a forbidden activity and that had riled the politically correct officials at the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.
But, according to a report from the Gospel Coalition, that threat was removed when the association said its pending review of college practices was routine.
Now, however, that or a similar consequence could be facing every Christian college, university or other school in the nation – a threat that was issued directly by the Obama administration.
It came during the oral arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court this week on whether the justices will mandate same-sex “marriage” across the country, as it already has been forced by individual federal judges on more than two dozen states.
The threat came from Solicitor General Donald Verrilli of the Obama administration during an exchange with Justice Samuel Alito.
Alito noted the Bob Jones University case, which involved not sexual orientation but racial issues.
“The court held that a college was not entitled to tax exempt status if it opposed interracial marriage or interracial dating. So would the same apply to a university or a college if it opposed same-sex marriage?” Alito asked.
Sure thing, Verrilli confirmed, in a way.
“You know, I … I don’t think I can answer that question without knowing more specifics, but it’s certainly going to be an issue. I … I don’t deny that. I don’t deny that, Justice Alito. It is … it is going to be an issue,” he said.
Reported the coalition, “The government, through its representative, has now signaled that Christian schools may soon be treated like racists and pariahs.”
The threat aligned with a warning from a decade ago, the coalition said, from law professor Jonathan Turley, who leans left and supports “gay” rights.
He had said, “Many organizations attract members with their commitment to certain fundamental matters of faith or morals, including a rejection of same-sex marriage or homosexuality. It is rather artificial to tell such groups that they can condemn homosexuality as long as they are willing to hire homosexuals as a part of that mission. It is equally disingenuous to suggest that denial of such things as tax exemption does not constitute a content-based punishment for religious views. … The denial of tax-exempt status presents a particularly serious threat to these organization…”
Coalition Editor Joe Carter explained the problem, “The government may soon say that any Christian school that refuses to accept same-sex marriage will lose its non-profit status. Fine, then they are forced to become for-profit companies. Nothing has really changed, right? Wrong. How many for-profit companies are allowed to refuse to accept same-sex marriage? Even if they can now, that will be forbidden if the court rules in favor of SSM. So the result will be the same: the government is saying that you will be forced to accept SSM or you lose the right to exist…”
At the blog for Albert Mohler, of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, he wrote that Marc D. Stern of the American Jewish Congress also had warned of the threat.
Years ago, he had predicted that opponents of “gay rights” would be unaffected, “within certain defined areas,” by their adoption.
“But in others, the impact will be substantial. I am not optimistic that, under current law, much can be done to ameliorate the impact on religious dissenters,” he said then.
Mohler also pointed out that during the arguments, Verrilli responded to a question from Chief Justice John Roberts about a requirement for a religious school that has married housing to offer that to same-sex couples.
“The solicitor general did not say no,” Mohler wrote. “Instead, he said that the federal government, at present, does not have a law banning discrimination in such matters on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.”
Continued Mohler, “Make no mistake. The solicitor general of the United States just announced that the rights of a religious school to operate on the basis of its own religious faith will survive only as an ‘accommodation’ on a state by state basis, and only until the federal government passes its own legislation, with whatever ‘accommodation’ might be included in that law.”
He noted that the same rules also, inevitably, would apply to student admissions and faculty hiring.
“The solicitor general admitted that these liberties will be ‘accommodated’ or not depending on how states define their laws. And the laws of the states would lose relevance the moment the federal government adopts its own law,” he wrote.
Asked CNS news, “Is the Obama administration about to wage war on religious schools?”
The commentary continued, “This should not be an issue. Citizens and organizations that continue to believe the truth about marriage should not be penalized by the government. Even if the court says that all 50 states have to recognize a same-sex relationship as a marriage, there is no reason why the government should coerce or penalize institutions of civil society that simply ask to be free – without penalty – to continue to operate in accordance with the belief that marriage is a union of husband and wife.”