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How Christian Colleges Will Be Dhimmified

“Baconboy,” a reader of this blog who teaches at a small Catholic college, predicts the following scenario for the next phase in the culture war, in which orthodox Catholic and Evangelical colleges and universities who, on religious grounds, do not change their policies to accept same-sex marriage and full gay rights, will be forced to do so:

The way Catholic and Evangelical colleges will be forced to accept this is through pressure from accrediting agencies and the Federal government. The way it works right now is that most students receive financial aid from the Federal government, which funds the operation of the college. Institutions that are allowed to receive Federal financial aid must be accredited by a certified accrediting agency. Lose your accreditation and you lose your financial aid = death of the institution. What will happen is that the Federal government will tell accrediting agencies not to give accreditation to colleges that discriminate for sexual orientation. The accrediting agencies will then act on behalf of the government to force colleges to revise their policies or risk losing Federal financial aid. End of game. This won’t be a problem for places like Notre Dame, Georgetown, Fordham, or Boston College, who will happily capitulate in the pursuit of some secular vision of ‘excellence’, but it will be devastating to the small Catholic colleges that seek to be faithful to their mission, places like Franciscan at Stuebenville or my little college.

I’m only aware of two colleges in the U.S. that don’t accept Federal financial aid: Hillsdale and Wyoming Catholic College. For my institution, where so many of our students are poor, we would go out of business without the Federal financial aid.

The only hope, I think, is for a bunch of Catholic and Evangelical colleges to develop an accrediting agency that the Feds will recognize. Otherwise, we will always be at the whim of the secular accrediting agencies and the Federal government.

To this I would add the civil society strategy that is surely coming. The NCAA is already said to be pressuring Gordon College to change its standards by leaning on the small Evangelical school’s athletic opponents to refuse to compete against them, because of their stubborn “bigotry”. Last I checked, Emmanuel College, which advertises itself as Catholic, is shunning Gordon on the athletic field,  They aren’t the only ones planning to take this route, I am told — and the scuttlebutt is that the NCAA is behind it.

What happens when the NCAA makes changing school policies a condition for membership — that is, for having a license to compete in national athletics? Do you think for one second that Christian schools like Notre Dame, Brigham Young, and Baylor, which are athletic powers, will resist? BYU and Baylor might put up a fight, but I don’t know how successful they will be. Of course, if you choose a football and a basketball team over religious truth, you don’t deserve to be called Christian. But that is the choice many Christian colleges will make, and will do so under pressure from alumni, I’d wager.

More seriously, what happens when major corporations, including law firms, announce that they will not come to campus to recruit graduates of a university until it changes its LGBT policies? What happens when a degree from those colleges becomes a scarlet letter on a recent graduate’s CV? And what about when graduate programs at other universities refuse to consider applications from undergraduates completing their degrees at one of these “bigoted” institutions?

This is how it’s going to go down. All in the name of Social Justice and Progress. If you think otherwise, you have not been paying attention. Our colleges will be allowed to exist, provided we pay the jizya, like good dhimmis of secularism. Actually, that’s unfair to Islamists. As long as subjugated Christians paid the religious tax, they could run their internal affairs pretty much as they saw fit. The secular conquerors aren’t going to give us even that much.

One is hard-pressed not to vote Republican, even if it means holding one’s nose, given that the Republicans are the only party that may prevent the federal government from doing what Baconboy predicts. But that will do nothing to keep the institutions of civil society — accrediting institutions, corporations, private associational governing bodies, etc. — from excluding dissident religious schools.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

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