Home/Rod Dreher/Crybullies Sue Christian Colleges

Crybullies Sue Christian Colleges

Jake Picker of Baylor, plaintiff in a suit to strip his university of its Title IX exemption, because Christianity hurts his feelings

A professor of law sent this Washington Post story to me, with the comment:

A suit to “Bob Jones” Christian schools—take away their tax exempt status for discriminating against LGBTQ students, just like what happened to Bob Jones U when it used to ban interracial dating. There are some technical legal problems (regarding standing to sue) for the private plaintiffs, but one wonders how much the Biden administration will resist.

What does the Post story say? Excerpts:

Elizabeth Hunter says she became suicidal after Bob Jones University administrators grilled the former student about her sexuality for tweeting “happy Pride” and writing a book with lesbian characters. She was fined, sent to anti-gay counseling and removed from her job at the campus TV station. Veronica Penales says she’s told officials at Baylor University, where she is a sophomore, that people leave anti-gay notes on her door, but they don’t investigate. Lucas Wilson said he graduated from Liberty University with “a profound sense of shame” after being encouraged to go to conversion therapy.

The three are among 33 current and past students at federally funded Christian colleges and universities cited in a federal lawsuit filed Monday against the U.S. Department of Education. The suit says the religious exemption the schools are given that allow them to have discriminatory policies is unconstitutional because they receive government funding. The class-action suit, filed by the nonprofit Religious Exemption Accountability Project, references 25 schools across the country.

“The Plaintiffs seek safety and justice for themselves and for the countless sexual and gender minority students whose oppression, fueled by government funding, and unrestrained by government intervention, persists with injurious consequences to mind, body and soul,” reads the suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Oregon. “The Department’s inaction leaves students unprotected from the harms of conversion therapy, expulsion, denial of housing and healthcare, sexual and physical abuse and harassment, as well as the less visible, but no less damaging, consequences of institutionalized shame, fear, anxiety and loneliness.”

So they chose to go to these Christian schools, but are now trying to break the Christian schools to their will. More:

The suit injects dozens of personal experiences into a debate about religious liberty and ­LGBTQ rights that’s often been more legalistic. It seeks to put individual faces and names on an aspect of Equality Act debate that doesn’t get much attention — students at conservative Christian schools.

It cites a gay ICU nurse who said he was admitted to a graduate nursing program, sold his car, left his old job and was days away from starting school when he was allegedly told his admission was rescinded because he is engaged to a man. “A grown man with a successful career, loving family and fiancé, [he] went into his closet, curled up in a ball and cried,” the suit says. It cites a queer student who recalls being regularly called slurs on a Christian school’s campus and is afraid to walk at night alone. According to the suit, that person is often subject to disciplinary action for wearing feminine-style clothing. Another said he was fired as a resident assistant and then kicked out of school for being openly bisexual.

Why on earth would you intentionally go to a conservative Christian university, one whose policies towards gay sexuality were clear, then curl up in a ball and cry when the school acts on the basis of its clearly stated policies? Nobody should be called slurs on a campus, Christian or not, but why is that a matter for federal court? And if a school wants to kick men out for wearing women’s clothes, why shouldn’t they have that right? What these plaintiffs are trying to do is to compel every school in this country to conform, even at the cost of their consciences.

Read it all.

From the REAP website, here’s a profile of one of the plantiffs:

Hayden Brown lives in York, NE. He identifies as a queer demiboy and is majoring in English Education with an emphasis in reading instruction.

Hayden studies at York College. They came out as part of the LGBTQ+ community the summer after their freshman year to their parents, who forced him into therapy designed to push Hayden toward changing their identity. School officials have attempted to interfere with her education, including by asking her to withdraw from a study abroad program in Vienna, Austria because of her sexual orientation, and by telling her to change her clothes when she wears high heels or dresses.

So York College has to have all federal funding taken away because queer demiboy wants to wear dresses to class, and his Christian school says no, you can’t do it. Great. This is what the Left fights for now.

From the profile of plaintiff Jake Picker, whose photo is at the top of this item:

Jake Picker lives in Waco, TX. He identifies as queer.

He attends Baylor University as a pre-med student and expects to graduate in May 2021 with a degree in Biology and Biochemistry. Baylor has several official anti-LGBTQ+ student policies, including stating, “Christian churches across the ages and around the world have affirmed purity in singleness and fidelity in marriage between a man and a woman as the biblical norm. Temptations to deviate from this norm include both heterosexual sex outside of marriage and homosexual behavior.” This policy and others like it result in Jake feeling unsafe and unprotected at school.

So he can’t even name a single harm he suffered! He just feels “unsafe and unprotected.” Religious liberty should be taken from Baylor because this queer crybully chose to attend a Baptist university whose policies were perfectly clear before he filed his application, and because Christian teaching hurts his feelings. It’s infuriating.

These plaintiffs are not victims. They are crybullies. What they seek in this lawsuit is the end of exemptions to Title IX for religious schools. What this would mean is that religious schools would either have to change their policies on LGBT, or lose all federal funding. The crybullies and the progressives will not stop until they have crushed dissenting Christians.

The thing about the famous 1982 Bob Jones case is that SCOTUS held that the IRS can remove the tax-exempt status of a religious school because “[g]overnment has a fundamental, overriding interest in eradicating racial discrimination in education . . . which substantially outweighs whatever burden denial of tax benefits places on [the University’s] exercise of their religious beliefs.” I’d like to hear the opinions of lawyers in this blog’s readership, but it seems to me that the Biden administration could simply announce a policy change at the IRS, and tax exemption for religious colleges and universities that discriminate against LGBTs would disappear.

Understand, though, that the Bob Jones case involved federal tax exemption, but the federal LGBT lawsuit would be even broader, taking away all federal funding from non-compliant schools.

It’s not enough that LGBT folks have nearly every university in the country. They’re going to smash the few Christians holdouts. Love wins through hatred.

UPDATE: A reader who is a professor writes:

Just read your blog on the assault on Christian colleges that received federal funding. In the profile of Hayden Brown that you cited from REAP’s website, I noticed something that caught my attention: the shift from masculine singular pronouns, to neutral plural pronouns, to feminine singular pronouns.
Visiting the REAP site, I confirmed that Brown’s profile was the first example of what I suspected would be the next trend in the pronoun wars. I have long wondered why, in citing preferred pronouns in email signatures and other places, people insist on citing 3 of them. In other words, why bother saying your pronouns are “he/him/his”? Wouldn’t it simply suffice to say “Pronouns: Masculine” or, even easier “He”? Wouldn’t the “him” and the “his” logically extend from the “he”?
My working hypothesis as a rhetorician (confirmed “in the wild” for the first time today), was that all 3 pronouns were necessary because eventually we would see a series of preferred pronouns that don’t match in terms of gender or number. You didn’t quote Mr. Brown’s (Ms.?) preferred pronouns in your blog, but the REAP site clarifies that they are “he/they/she”. In effect, Brown wants people to use masculine singular AND neutral plural AND feminine singular pronouns when referring to him/they/her. Nothing new under the sun, though, right? We already have 109 pronouns.
Well, here’s the problem. I assume that as a “queer demiboy” Brown is arguing that one can use any pronoun to refer to him/they/her. Fair enough. But what if someone makes a “mistake”? What if, instead of varying the pronouns to affirm Brown’s multifaceted identity, a speaker uses all singular feminine? Or what if a person uses plural neutral pronouns AND masculine singular, but forgets to use feminine singular, thereby refusing to acknowledge the feminine dimensions of Brown’s unique personhood?
My point here is simply this: one of the major arguments in favor of compelling people to comply with preferred pronouns is that to do so “Isn’t that difficult”. And maybe it ISN’T that difficult…when the pronouns that are “preferred” conform to linguistic norms that insist upon a uniformity in terms of gender and number. But in Brown’s case, we see where this is leading us: a set of conditions that actually breaks down the rules regarding gender and number in English usage. Leave aside whether such linguistic reforms are a good thing or a bad thing — one thing that they certainly do is make adhering the new guidelines very difficult for those who have internalized the rules of traditional usage. And since ANY failure or refusal to comply with one’s preferences regarding pronouns is now de facto evidence of an actionable attack on one’s being, it is pretty clear that we are right that the easy-breezy pronoun shift seems to be something of a trojan horse.
Just thought you would find this informative. Glad I finally found proof for my hypothesis.
UPDATE.2: Reader Barlaam of Weimerica comments:

Practicalities within the present situation aside, the notion that receipt of any Federal subsidy – and ‘subsidy’ is construed very broadly in law, and even more so in the economic and policy literature – should subject one to the micromanagement of the authorities is pernicious and authoritarian. It would set no limit to state authority, and obviate the purpose of constitutional and limited government. It would entail the negation of any notion of rights, and reinstate a totalizing form of vassalage as the de facto norm of social relationships. There’s not a damn’s worth of difference between “Some of your students get Federal loans, or you got a grant from the Feds, therefore the Feds will dictate your doctrinal and behavioral norms” and “You got a child tax credit, therefore the Feds will dictate what you can and can’t teach your children about X.”

Not a damn’s worth of difference. And the gauleiters of the wokereich know this, and that is why they are doing this, trying to establish a precedent that will expand by the year.

It’s like the old saw about the clause in the Soviet Constitution guaranteeing freedom of religion: you have freedom of religion…. between your ears.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. A veteran of three decades of magazine and newspaper journalism, he has also written three New York Times bestsellers—Live Not By Lies, The Benedict Option, and The Little Way of Ruthie Lemingas well as Crunchy Cons and How Dante Can Save Your Life. Dreher lives in Baton Rouge, La.

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