February 04, 2019
They had good intentions, some said. But when the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities decided to back a lopsided LGBT bill, a well-intended mistake -- others warned -- is still a mistake.
It's been a month and a half since CCCU threw its support behind the Fairness for All Act, a misguided piece of legislation that would capitulate to those who want to redefine human sexuality -- and sacrifice religious freedom to accomplish it. Most of the evangelical community was horrified. After all, no one that's fought the hard battle for truth in this culture would sacrifice their religious liberty for the promises of a movement that has no intentions of keeping them.
Yet that's what CCCU proposed, signaling that it would back special LGBT rights if the Left would agree to leave some of their institutions alone. "They're trying to find a way to encourage the federal government to adopt sexual orientation and gender identity protections that would not come at the violation of religious liberty," Al Mohler writes in a lengthy response. "Now that sounds like the perfect deal politically, if it were possible... [But] it is not possible." If there's one thing liberals don't understand, it's co-existence.
"Let's just remember what we learned as little children," Mohler went on. "If you compromise, you are giving something. Now what in the world would these Christian evangelical organizations give? They are giving to those who are demanding sexual orientation and gender identity legislation. They are giving them support -- at least some level of public support for the federal adoption of that kind of legislation. What do they think they're getting in return? They think that they are getting a recognition of the inviolable nature of religious liberty when it comes to some people, some entities, some organizations, particularly churches, Christian colleges and universities, closely held Christian ministries. But as for the rest, there is no particular agreed upon protection at all."
Now, seven weeks into the backlash, CCCU leaders are for the first time publicly acknowledging what a gamble their arrangement would be. In my view, it's now evident that there's a danger in negotiating with a movement that isn't operating in good faith. In a meeting with reporters last Friday, CCCU Vice Chair Shirley Mullen acknowledged, "There is a risk to Fairness for All. Then, what I would say is that there is also a huge risk to not being in this dialogue. It's not just the risk of losing legal protection for our freedom of beliefs. It is also, I would say, losing that capacity to have the Christian community viewed as people who are respectful and who want to treat [with respect] human beings who differ from them in fundamental ways."
Mullen did seem to push back against the idea that the organization had caved on marriage by supporting the idea. "CCCU is absolutely committed to the protection of the traditional view of marriage," she tried to explain. "In fact, that is like the No. 1 advocacy position." Unfortunately, it's tough for most people to square how a group could be pro-marriage, while supporting a proposal that would make it more difficult for Christians to express those beliefs. "Right now, the way our society is polarized, [religious liberty and LGBT rights] are not on a level playing field," she told the press. "The sense [in society now] is that one side has to win and one side has to lose."
Fairness for All is a nice name for what it really is: persecution for many. It ensures that one side wins all right -- and it's not Bible-believing Christians. The worst mistake anyone can make is to think that the only way to stop LGBT activists is to submit to them. And in the name of "compromise," that's what these Christian institutions are doing.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.