Former Vice President Joe Biden is being urged by a gay advocacy group if he becomes president to sign an executive order that a key Southern Baptist academic leader claims would be “an atomic bomb” on Christian schools.
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) wants Biden to mandate that religious schools “that discriminate or that do not meet science-based curricula standards” lose their accreditation.
“This is an undisguised attempt to shut down any semblance of a Christian college or university that would possess the audacity to operate from a Christian worldview,” Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS) President Albert Mohler Jr. wrote in a Nov. 18 column.
“In terms of accreditation, that is an atomic bomb. In clear text, for all the world to see, the [HRC] summons the Biden administration to deny accreditation—or, at the very least, to facilitate the denial of accreditation—to Christian institutions, Christian colleges and universities, and, for that matter, any other religious institution or school that does not meet the demands of the LGBTQ orthodoxy.
“This would mean abandoning biblical standards for teaching, hiring, admissions, housing, and student life. It would mean that Christian schools are no longer Christian.”
Mohler first came to national prominence in the Conservative Resurgence Movement during the Reagan era, which restored orthodox Baptist doctrines and leadership in the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) and its six seminaries.
Southern Baptists are the nation’s largest Protestant denomination. Mohler became president of the SBTS in 1993, and he’s a candidate to become the SBC’s next president at the 2021 meeting in Nashville.
The HRC recommendation regarding accreditation was included in the organization’s “Blueprint for Positive Change 2020,” a 24-page compilation of proposed policy changes and initiatives.
Under the Department of Education, the HRC report included this recommendation:
“Ensure Non-discrimination Policies and Science Based Curricula Are Not Undermined by Religious Exemptions to Accreditation Standards:
“Language regarding accreditation of religious institutions of higher education in the Higher Education Opportunity Act could be interpreted to require accrediting bodies to accredit religious institutions that discriminate or that do not meet science-based curricula standards.
“The Department of Education should issue a regulation clarifying that this provision, which requires accreditation agencies to ‘respect the stated mission’ of religious institutions, does not require the accreditation of religious institutions that do not meet neutral accreditation standards including nondiscrimination policies and scientific curriculum requirements.”
An HRC spokesman didn’t immediately respond to a request by The Epoch Times for clarification on how the organization defines “science-based curricula standards.”
Efforts to advance the HRC recommendation will meet determined opposition in Congress among Republicans.
Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.), the new chairman of the Republican Study Committee (RSC), which is one of the largest congressional caucuses, told The Epoch Times on Nov. 23 that he has a strong personal interest in the issue.
“The HRC proposal is a deliberate encroachment on religious liberty and plainly unconstitutional. They’re anti-Christian totalitarians who’re threatened by independent religious thought, which is why they’re not content to limit their indoctrination to the public school system,” Banks said.
“I’m deeply grateful for the education I received at a small Christian university in Indiana, and if Human Rights Campaign had its way, my experience would be impossible.”
Similarly, Rep. Ted Budd (R-N.C.), a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary (DTS), told The Epoch Times on Nov. 23 that “this is yet another attempt by the left to weaponize a radical secular agenda to attack people of faith. Incredibly, the same organizations that claim to stand for equal rights are the ones who would like nothing more than to bully and marginalize believers across our country.”
“These organizations ignore the fact that a knowable, discoverable, creation is the basis for scientific pursuit and that people of faith were the keys to great moral victories like the abolition of slavery.
“Sadly, this isn’t about an honest debate about human rights or science, this is about organizations who want to further divide us in order to increase their own power.”
Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-Va.), the ranking minority member of the House Committee on Education and Labor, said Nov. 23 that “treating religious institutions differently on the basis of their religion is exactly the kind of discriminatory policy our constitution protects against. It is shameful that undemocratic forces continue to try to silence dissenting views through tyrannical force.”
Brian Darling, former senior counsel to Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and founder of Liberty Government Affairs, told The Epoch Times on Nov. 23, “If Biden goes along with these recommendations, he will be providing the camel’s nose under the tent allowing left-wingers to manage the academic agenda of religious schools.”
And if that happens, Darling said, “Democrats will be the party of defunding the police and decertifying religious schools, and they will be back in the political wilderness very soon.”
Richard Manning, president of Americans for Limited Government, a conservative advocacy group, said Nov. 23 that such a recommendation, if implemented, could prompt states to stop accepting federal education assistance.
“The last time I checked, a president doesn’t have the power to pull accreditation from universities, but the very idea that colleges and universities would be subjected to political truth tests is the exact reason why states and private universities should withdraw themselves from any semblance of federal government control,” Manning said.
“Some students might not attend if the federal government chooses to withhold federal guaranteed loans or other grants in aid, but ridding the college and university systems of the federal regulations and other strictures would free up dollars that could be used to offset any federal aid losses.”
Contact Mark Tapscott at Mark.Tapscott@epochtimes.nyc