Friends, The new Alliance Alert Daily Digest is finally here! You can subscribe to the daily e-mail here: Subscribe to our mailing list * indicates required Email Address * First Name * Last Name *
The Gospel Coalition: We’re continuing our series through several of this year’s notable Commencement speeches. Last week, we looked at Stephen Colbert’s address to Wake Forest University. Today, we’re hearing from Ian McEwan, an acclaimed English novelist and screenwriter, who delivered a message to the graduates at Dickinson College.
One News Now: Samantha Harris of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, or FIRE, says the policy suffers from a “common defect” among colleges and universities, which is conflicting definitions within the same set of rules.
The College Fix: It’s only when watchdog groups such as the Alliance Defending Freedom and Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) intervene that administrators back down, according to a College Fix review of cases.
The College Fix: David Hacker, senior legal counsel at Alliance Defending Freedom, accused the campus of “viewpoint discrimination” and violating the pro-life students’ First Amendment rights.
Christian Today: At least 95 schools in northern Kenya have been forced to close after teachers, many of whom are Christians, refused to work fearing attacks from Islamist militant group al-Shabaab.
Vox: Things have changed since I started teaching. The vibe is different. I wish there were a less blunt way to put this, but my students sometimes scare me — particularly the liberal ones.
The Washington Times: David Hacker, the senior legal counsel for ADF, issued a statement to Campus Reform announcing that the school decided to revoke the fees. “We are thankful that the University of Santa Barbara has removed the unconstitutional security fee and is protecting the group’s right on campus to have this lecture on a critically important cultural issue,” the statement said.
Religion Clause: Deciding the case on remand from the Supreme Court (see prior posting), the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in a 2-1 decision in University of Notre Dame v. Burwell, (7th Cir., May 19, 2015), refused to grant a preliminary injunction to Notre Dame University in its challenge to the Affordable Care Act contraceptive coverage mandate as applied to religious non-profits.
Christian Concern: Students at a Welsh university have voted to ban the tradition of putting Bibles in their halls of residence in the name of ‘multiculturalism’.
Associated Press: A federal appeals court has rejected the University of Notre Dame’s request to temporarily be exempt from a provision in the Affordable Care Act that requires the Catholic school’s insurance providers to cover the costs of contraceptives for students and staff.
Minding the Campus: When I published my first book, Unlearning Liberty, in 2012, I felt a bit optimistic that the situation for free speech on campus was improving. Not that the state of free speech on campus was good by any means, but it seemed as though there had been improvement since the blizzard of weird cases that my organization, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), saw from 2007 to 2008.
The College Fix: It seemed a perfect choice: A Catholic university inviting one of the church’s top leaders – the archbishop of New York – someone who even voted in the last papal conclave, as its commencement speaker.
Campus Reform: Students attending a commencement address at one of the country’s top 50 schools are nine times more likely to hear from a liberal speaker than a conservative according to a new study issued by the non-profit Young America’s Foundation (YAF).
Campus Reform: Stony Brook University’s Graduate Queer Alliance (GQA) is demanding the school apologize for hosting a conservative Christian during a recent debate, citing the importance of debate and open dialogue.
First Things: Nevertheless, the present situation does not appear to me to be as rosy as David French (a lawyer who has advised President Lindsay and Gordon College) depicted it in his May 1 National Reviewonline article, “Gordon College Keeps Its Faith and Its Accreditation.”
National Review: Smith College also claimed that the decision “affirms Smith’s . . . commitment to representing the diversity of women’s lived experiences.” But while it will admit men who identify as women, it won’t admit women who identify as men. So much for its “commitment to representing the diversity” of actual women.
Religion News Service: A trend on college campuses this past year goes by inviting slogan “all comers.” But even as the school year winds up, the controversy around “all comers” does not.
Campus Reform: A professor at Polk State College has allegedly failed a humanities student after she refused to concede that Jesus is a “myth” or that Christianity oppresses women during a series of mandatory assignments at the Florida college.
National Right to Life: I read the anonymous letter you submitted to your school newspaper, The Harvard Crimson, sharing your personal abortion story. I wish I knew your name. I wish that instead of writing this letter on my laptop computer, I could be sitting with you, looking into your eyes and saying these words to your face. Sweetheart, you are valuable. Thank you for sharing your story. Thank you for being brave enough to write down the details of your romance, breakup, unplanned pregnancy, abortion and the painful aftermath.
The Harvard Crimson: All I desperately wanted was to have my boyfriend back. I wanted him to hold me and let me cry into his chest, for him to tell me that everything was okay even though it wasn’t. But by the time I found out the truth, it was too late to get him back. He had started dating another girl two months after we broke up. I couldn’t tell him. I couldn’t tell anyone. So I called the clinic and made an appointment for a week’s time.
Aleteia: If the Supreme Court rules that gay marriage must be legal across the nation, could religious colleges and universities lose their tax- exempt status?
The College Fix: “Courts upheld chaplain programs in a variety of contexts where citizens are removed from their congregations due to their government services,” alliance legal counsel Travis Barham told The College Fix in a phone interview.
One News Now: “This is simply a way for these public universities to accommodate the needs of their religious student athletes,” Travis Barham of Alliance Defending Freedom says. “And public universities have tremendous leeway under the First Amendment to accommodate the needs of their students, including the religious needs of their students.”
The American Conservative: Michael Lindsay, the president of Gordon College, spoke this morning to the Q Ideas conference here in Boston. He, and the college he leads, are under severe attack for holding to orthodox Christian teaching on LGBT. Gordon is Evangelical, but very far from a fundamentalist stronghold. Yet they are seen by many people — many powerful people — as a bastion of bigotry.
The Global Dispatch: Alliance Defending Freedom sent letters to six public universities after they received complaints from Freedom From Religion Foundation wrongly stating that having basketball team chaplains is unconstitutional.
The College Fix: The Alliance Defending Freedom is fighting back against a campaign by the Freedom From Religion Foundation to get public universities to drop their basketball chaplains, who also serve as “character coaches,” calling them unconstitutional.
Atheists’ latest move to strike God from public universities has one legal firm hitting back against ‘shameful’ ‘distortion’ of the First Amendment
The Blaze: The Alliance Defending Freedom is pushing back after the Freedom From Religion Foundation, an atheist activist group, sent complaints to six public universities last month, claiming that the presence of team chaplains is unconstitutional.
Life Site News: “This incident sadly represents the intolerant attitude on college campuses today towards minority viewpoints expressed there. Rather than set up a counter exhibit to promote abortion, the ‘pro-choice’ activists choose instead to suppress and mock the pro-life display,” wrote Jordan Lorence, senior vice president and senior counsel at the Alliance Defending Freedom, after the 2011 incident. “It is tragic that these students have failed to learn this important truth at a university campus that is at that is supposedly a marketplace of ideas.”
ADF Media: Alliance Defending Freedom sent letters to six public universities after they received complaints from Freedom From Religion Foundation wrongly stating that having basketball team chaplains is unconstitutional.
First Things: At campuses across the country, traditional ideals of freedom of expression and the right to dissent have been deeply compromised or even abandoned as college and university faculties and administrators have capitulated to demands for language and even thought policing.
The Washington Times: “The Committee is discriminating against these college students purely on the basis of their association with Gordon College and their imputed religious beliefs,” he said. “This the Constitution forbids.”
Baptist Standard: Lynn, an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ, also mentioned Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative group that openly defies the ban by inviting preachers to endorse candidates from the pulpit. ADF hopes if churches are sued, the rule added to the tax code in 1954 would be declared unconstitutional.
The College Fix: In the wake of Gordon’s reaffirmation earlier this month of a provision in its conduct code that bans “homosexual practice,” a member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights has warned the mayor of Lynn that the school district’s action was unconstitutional.
One News Now: “The good news is the University of Georgia has revised their speech policies – so not just Young Americans for Liberty can speak more freely, but any campus group [can],” Kerri Kupec tells OneNewsNow. “They can host informational tables and displays, they can use handheld signs on campus without fear of punishment from university officials. So really this is a big win for free speech for everyone.”
Fox News: Shannon Bream reports on the lack of viewpoint diversity.
Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty: The Kansas Senate has passed a measure supporting the right of religious student groups to maintain exclusive memberships. SB 175 was advanced on a 30-8 party-line vote.
The Christian Post: A Massachusetts Christian academic institute under fire for maintaining a policy for students and faculty that only allows for sex within heterosexual marriage has reaffirmed its stance.
The New York Times: Safe spaces are an expression of the conviction, increasingly prevalent among college students, that their schools should keep them from being “bombarded” by discomfiting or distressing viewpoints. Think of the safe space as the live-action version of the better-known trigger warning, a notice put on top of a syllabus or an assigned reading to alert students to the presence of potentially disturbing material.
The Wall Street Journal (access via Google): In Illinois, our law firm recently filed a lawsuit on behalf of three Bible colleges, with the backing of the nonprofit Alliance Defending Freedom, against the Illinois Board of Higher Education. The IBHE claims that the Bible colleges do not meet the state’s curriculum requirements, and therefore cannot issue degrees.
Alliance Defending Freedom: Perhaps, like me, you find it hard not to marvel at the determined effort by so many authorities throughout the U.S. to impose silence on any speech that might disagree with their policies, raise thoughtful questions, or simply provide information useful to voters, students, and other fellow citizens.
Alliance Defending Freedom: The campus of a college or university is supposed to be the “marketplace of ideas,” a breeding ground for ideas, debates, and discourse among students, professors, and faculty. But some universities seem to think that’s only true as long as this expression happens only within certain very small zones designated by the university and only if the university grants approval.
Religion News Service: Over a quarter of college freshmen say that they have no religion. This makes them the least religious cohort in four decades of the surveys conducted by UCLA.
The Gospel Coalition: In a statement issued today, Gordon College reaffirms commitment to biblical sexual ethics and launches campus taskforce on human sexuality.
The Christian Post: Specifically, the goals of our suit – filed by Alliance Defending Freedom – were: 1) to hold GT accountable for selective enforcement of its speech codes, which resulted in mainstream conservative speech often being considered “hate speech” and “intolerant,” while politically-charged, far-out-of-the-mainstream Leftist speech was considered part of the “intellectual diversity” purportedly valued by the Institute…
Campus Reform: “Universities cannot function as a marketplace of ideas if free speech is limited to less than one percent of campus,” said ADF Legal Counsel Travis Barham. “We commend the University of Georgia for understanding this and revising its speech policy so that students can speak more freely throughout campus without fear of punishment.”
ERLC: The U.S. Supreme Court threw out a lower court decision that originally favored the federal government today. This action revives the University of Notre Dame’s religious objection to the requirement for contraception coverage under the Affordable Care Act.
Reuters: The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday revived the University of Notre Dame’s religious objections to the requirement for contraception coverage under President Barack Obama’s healthcare law, throwing out a lower court decision in favor of the federal government.
Acton Institute: Earlier today the Supreme Court threw out an appeals court decision that went against the University of Notre Dame over its religious objections to the Obamacare health law’s contraception requirement.
Life News: The Supreme Court has weighed in on the lawsuit Notre Dame filed against the HHS mandate compelling religious groups and businesses to pay for drugs for their employees that may cause abortions.
Christian Concern: Last month, the Government responded to concerns over the impact of the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 on ‘freedom of expression’ in universities by introducing a new clause into the Act and promising to re-draft proposed guidance. However, media reports now suggest that the Government may be planning to back-track on its promise.
The Global Dispatch: “Universities cannot function as a marketplace of ideas if free speech is limited to less than one percent of campus,” said ADF Legal Counsel Travis Barham. “We commend the University of Georgia for understanding this and revising its speech policy so that students can speak more freely throughout campus without fear of punishment.”
AJC: The Young Americans for Liberty, represented by the Alliance Defending Freedom, sued UGA last year accusing the university of hindering free speech by restricting demonstrations to just two areas, or less than one percent of its Athens campus. UGA officials disputed the claim, but did revise its policies, which were approved by university officials last month.
ADF Media: The University of Georgia has revised its “speech zone” policy in light of a lawsuit Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys filed on behalf of a student group. The university’s new speech policy no longer limits student free-speech activities to less than one percent of the college’s main campus or requires students to obtain a permit to use the remainder of campus.
The Fire: In two previous Torch entries on Professor John McAdams’s fight to keep his tenure at Marquette University, I’ve focused on Marquette’s abuses of McAdams’s due process rightsand the subversions of basic free speech principles it has used first to justify his suspension, and then to justify its aim of revoking his tenure.
The Washington Post: In response to two male athletes on its volleyball team coming out in an article published on OutSports.com last year, the college, which is aligned with the Associate Reformed Presbyterian tradition, released a strongly worded denouncement of homosexuality on campus that many read to be a behavioral ban.
LGBTTQQFAGPBDSM? Housing for 15 alternative sexualities is OK, but men-only fraternities are not, Wesleyan University says
The Christian Post: Wesleyan University housing has an option for students who want to live with others identifying with one of 15 categories — LGBTTQQFAGPBDSM. The university’s inclusiveness excludes, however, male-only fraternities.
The College Fix: When Cal Poly Sal Luis Obispo hosts its annual Open House this April, during which campus clubs typically greet and recruit prospective visiting students, one longtime mainstay at the university will be conspicuously absent: Cru.
Religion Clause: Three senior faculty members at the University of Notre Dame earlier this week published an interesting attack on the decision by Notre Dame University and some other Catholic institutions to grant same-sex couples who are legally married the same employee benefits available to married heterosexual couples.
The Tablet: One of Britain’s leading universities is considering removing a window dedicated to Lord Carey, a former archbishop of Canterbury, from its façade because of his opposition to same-sex marriage.
The Christian Institute: A political science professor in the United States has been suspended for supporting a student’s right to free speech.
First Things: When I started graduate school in English in the early 90s, I thought that a certificate in Women’s Studies would widen my training and help my career. My university happened to have a famous professor in the field, a pioneer in academic feminism who had created one of the first graduate degree programs in Women’s Studies. A tough, learned woman with exacting standards, she did not suffer fools or histrionic students lightly. She was also a conservative.
CBS Connecticut (AP): Members and alumni of the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity at Wesleyan University have filed a discrimination lawsuit against the Connecticut school over a recent decision that requires all residential fraternities to become coed within three years.
First Things: Several friends contacted me over the weekend with news that Wesleyan University has taken the ever-expanding list of initials used to refer to sexual identities to new heights of absurdity or sensitivity, depending on one’s perspective. We are now apparently up to fifteen letters: LGBTTQQFAGPBDSM.
The Vanguard: The lawsuit filed last April was put into motion by the USA Students for Life group in conjunction with the Alliance Defending Freedom, an alliance-building legal ministry that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.
The Stream: I once asked my late father if he had any experiences with anti-Semitism. There weren’t many. Although that was probably in part because of his scoring methodology. The Irish kids who beat up the Jewish kids in his Bronx neighborhood didn’t do so because they were anti-Semitic, but because “they had to fight somebody,” as my dad put it. Today, such behavior would probably be called a hate crime.
Campus Reform: “Public Universities are supposed to be the marketplace of ideas where all viewpoints are considered, not censored as the article suggests,” David Hacker, an attorney with the Alliance Defending Freedom, told Campus Reform in an email. “Not to mention all Americans, including adult students, have first amendment rights. For instance, we have represented students whose religious speech was censored so a different ideological agenda can be propagated without dissent. This is not only unconstitutional, but goes against the free-flow of ideas a thorough education demands.”
LJ World: A committee of the Kansas Board of Regents will soon start reviewing how the legalization of same-sex marriage could affect state universities.
The Christian Institute: Students in Aberystwyth are pushing for thousands of Gideon Bibles to be removed from university accommodation.
The Blaze: It’s so obvious. Why can’t liberals be more creative? Why do they have to peg their ridiculous “Sex Week” agendas to Valentine’s Day on college campuses?
The Denver Post: A bill in the Colorado legislature that would have allowed religious clubs on the state’s college campuses to set rules on faith for its leaders died on a party-line vote in a House committee Monday.
Intercollegiate Review: “The new intolerance” is shorthand for the chilled public atmosphere in which religious believers now operate. Many people of faith face unique burdens that would have been unthinkable even a couple of decades ago: burdens of ostracism, of losing the good opinion of their neighbors, of being trash-talked in the public square. Some even face the loss of livelihood or the constant threat and reality of litigation; for a primer, see the hounding last spring of Mozilla CEO Brandon Eich for his donation years earlier on behalf of traditional marriage.
Campus Reform: Marquette University has moved to fire a tenured conservative professor after he published a blog post about a graduate student instructor’s remarks to a student about same-sex marriage.
Religion Clause: In Christian and Missionary Alliance Foundation, Inc. v. Burwell, (MD FL, Feb. 3, 2015), a Florida federal district court granted a preliminary injunction barring enforcement of part of the latest rules accommodating religious non-profits’ objections to the Affordable Care Act contraceptive coverage mandate.
Item Live: Lynn Public Schools and Gordon College have collaborated for the last 11 years, with several college students serving as student teachers each semester. Lindsay said that volunteering is also a major part of the college’s focus, particularly in a student’s first year. In last year’s freshman class, half of the students volunteered 14,000 hours doing after-school tutoring and working with church and youth group organizations in various area communities, Lindsay said.