A board member for one of the largest Christian college associations in the country admits that there is “risk” associated with its recent push for legislation that would provide LGBT discrimination protections in exchange for religious exemptions for traditional Christian beliefs on sexuality.
Shirley Mullen, president of Houghton College in Western New York and vice chair of the board of directors for the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities, defended the 180-school network’s support for the “Fairness for All” initiative during a lunch discussion with reporters Friday at the CCCU’s annual Presidents Conference on Capitol Hill.
The conference was held a little over a month after it was made public that CCCU and the National Association of Evangelicals had issued their support for an initiative that would amend civil rights law to provide legal protections on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity when it comes to employment, public accommodations and housing.
At the same time, the legislative construct seeks to attain exemptions for religious institutions and individuals to operate and live in accordance with traditional Christian teachings on marriage and sexuality that dictate that marriage is between one man and one woman without fear of government reprisal.
The initiative was praised by some prominent evangelicals who said it puts down “markers in an important conversation” at a time in which the larger culture is pushing back against traditional Christian views on sexuality and marriage.
However, dozens of other evangelical leaders signed on in opposition to the Fairness for All initiative and some have said that the initiative would end in the eventual coercion to embrace certain beliefs on human sexuality.
Critics believe that Fairness for All support is a sign that the CCCU and NAE have caved in on the conversation.
But according to Mullen, who is a board member of both organizations, that is not the case.
During the lunch, Mullen addressed concerns that conservative Christians have expressed about the Fairness for All initiative, which has also been backed by other religious organizations such as the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints.
“What Fairness for All is doing is really trying to speak through into the misconception of the larger culture that in the Christian tradition, we are somehow bigots,” Mullen said. “Fairness for All is saying, ‘No, no, no, no! We are the ones who are trying to honor that public space, which then allows people, as God allows people, to make these choices about if they are going to obey Him or if they are not going to obey Him.”
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Samuel Smith