It’s no secret that the sexual revolution poses a serious existential threat to Christians in America. One of the concrete ways that the progressive agenda may very well attack Christian organizations is through Title IX. Specifically, Title IX may be the tool leftists employ to shutter Christian schools and colleges.
In his article for First Things, aptly titled “Preparing for Winter,” theologian Carl Trueman warns of “the need for Christian institutions to wean themselves off of government money as soon as possible.”
Trueman correctly sees that when the budgets of Christian institutions are dependent on student federal aid dollars, those Christian institutions are at the mercy of our government’s whims. He notes, “The complexity that federal loans bring to the relationship between private institutions and the government is such that the whole notion of a public accommodation is now potentially far more extensive than could have been imagined a generation or two ago.” Trueman added, “And that means that the First Amendment, far from being a friend of Christian colleges and confessional seminaries, might prove to be the very opposite. If you take government money, what right do you have to restrict speech on your campus in accordance with your own religious convictions?”
By no means does Carl Trueman have rose-colored glasses on when he asks Christian schools and colleges to “wean themselves off of government money as soon as possible.” He understands and acknowledges that untangling themselves from federal student aid will be a painful process for Christian educational institutions. However, as painful as the process will be, Trueman believes that the alternative may prove even more painful.
In a nutshell, Trueman is warning that schools that refuse to bow to the idols of the sexual revolution may find government funding pulled. Because, as he puts it, “The specific point of conflict is likely to be (once again) Title IX legislation that prohibits sexual discrimination at any institution of higher education receiving federal funding.” He acknowledges that “that law does allow an exemption for religious organizations such as colleges and seminaries,” but he believes that a precedent has already been set that will enable those who hate Christianity to strike a blow, regardless of the current law.
“There is [a] point of vulnerability: the 1983 Supreme Court ruling in Bob Jones University v. United States. This ruling denied tax-exempt status to Bob Jones University because of policies regarding interracial dating that were judged contrary to a compelling government policy,” he explained.
“However we may cheer the particular result of the Bob Jones case, the implications unfolding in today’s climate are concerning. Replace ‘racial’ with ‘sexual’ in the paragraph above, and the point is clear. In an era where a close analogy is assumed between civil rights regarding race and civil rights regarding sexual identity, the Bob Jones precedent could easily lead to the revocation of tax-exempt status for schools committed to traditional views of marriage and sexual morality,” said Trueman.
He urges Christian schools and colleges to begin shaping their budgets under the assumption that the day is coming when they will lose federal aid dollars as well as their tax-exempt status. As he states, “Laws that may be used to dismantle Christian educational institutions are already on the books. How they are to be applied will be determined by the dominant taste or cultural sentiment.”
As has become increasingly obvious over the past few years, our culture is quickly shedding any morality that adheres to biblical sexual ethics. Sadly, Carl Trueman is correct. The day is probably fast approaching when Christian schools and colleges will find their federal funding and tax-exempt status pulled over their Christian beliefs about sexuality and marriage.