I Love You but You Didn’t Do the Reading

Fasten your seatbelts…we’re in for a rough ride. With impeachment dominating headlines, there were a bunch of stories that you might have missed. Here’s our weekly roundup of news n views:

The top Democratic contenders got together to talk about education. How did it go?

Fired/not-fired from Wheaton, Larycia Hawkins still feels the pain, at CT.

The need to give an awkward speech on the first day of class is a small detail that offers a clue to how all-encompassing the changes in Hawkins’ life have been since she left Wheaton. “The further we get out from the job that I left,” she says, “it’s easier. But one of the things it has changed is how I introduce myself on the first day.”

hawkins CTPoll finds that “Christian nationalists” tend to think they will be punished if Trump loses in 2020, at RIP.

there is widespread belief among Christian nationalist Protestants that atheists will strip their essential political rights if they gain political power. . . . Christian nationalists see the next election as apocalyptical. If they win, then democracy continues; if they lose under the Trump banner, then they are destined for the gulags.

Christian nationalists 2020 RIPZoiks: Billionaire gives $100 million to Yale to start Broad school-leadership program, at Forbes.

There’s little to point to in the last twenty years that would suggest that a slightly trained educational amateur who “thinks like a CEO” is a good bet for running a school system well. Broadies have certainly found their way to positions of power and established lucrative careers for themselves, but there is little evidence that they have benefited students.

Why do teachers get creeped out by this sort of school-leadership program? My three reasons here at ILYBYGTH.

broad yale

He’s betting $100 million that I’m wrong…

Freshman at George Southern U gives a presentation on “replacement theory.”  The university backed up his right to do so. At IHE.

“‘Diversity is our strength’ is a bare-faced lie,” he said. “I don’t care if you call me a racist.”

Rochester students walk out, at RDC.

Hundreds of students across the Rochester City School District protested the recent proposed layoffs of more than 200 district employees Monday. . . . “We care about our teachers,” [junior Maya Waller] said while walking on Main Street Monday morning. “It’s not right that their mismanagement of money is negatively impacting teachers, staff and students (who) weren’t there to make the decision anyway.”

Can a “Fairness to All Act” square the circle for evangelical colleges and LGBTQ issues?

Southern Baptist Seminar boots instructor for being too anti-LGBTQ, at IHE.

[Robert Oscar] Lopez held other views outside the conservative mainstream, such as that homosexuality was inexorably linked to pederasty. Some called it hate speech. He said he based his insights on personal experience, and that being raised by a bisexual mother and her female partner made him socially awkward and led him to the “gay underworld” for a time.

Eventually, Lopez left California and secular academe for Southwestern [Baptist Theological Seminary]. The Texas institution doesn’t have tenure, but he thought he had found a permanent place among like-minded, socially conservative academics.

Things went well for Lopez for a while. But he couldn’t have predicted the events to come.

LGBTQ and Evangelical Colleges: Can We Please Just Skip to the End?

It might sound good to some, but a recent “Fairness for All” bill will not solve evangelical colleges’ problems with LGBTQ issues. With respect to all the smart, loving, sincere supporters of these half-measures, the historical record is glaringly clear on this one. Evangelical universities cannot fudge the issue of LGBTQ rights and the issue will end up splitting evangelical institutions. Again. But evangelical tradition has plenty of room to accommodate changing times. Can we please just skip to that part of this story?

Here’s what we’re talking about: Utah Representative Chris Stewart introduced recently a “Fairness for All Act.” The bill has the ardent support of evangelical organizations such as the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. In short, the act would ban discrimination against LGBTQ persons, except at institutions that have a religious reason for discrimination or at small businesses.

Will it work? No. And not only for the usual political reasons. In short, this attempt to square the LGBTQ circle for evangelical institutions is another half-measure that will not satisfy anyone. It is similar to the ways many evangelical institutions these days make an impracticable distinction between LGBTQ “identity”—which is approved—and LGBTQ “practice”—which is not. Or the weird ruling recently at Fuller Seminary that same-sex “relationships” are okay, but same-sex “marriages” are not.

Based on the history I uncovered in the research for Fundamentalist U, these half-measures will end up being a curious footnote in the story of evolving LGBTQ rights in the evangelical world. Here’s my prediction—hold me to it—of what the end result will be.

First, though, let me be as clear as I can be on this point: I do not equate the evolving policies about LGBTQ rights with the 20th-century history of decreasing racism at evangelical colleges. The two cases are distinct. But what is similar is a central fact that many prominent historians have pointed out. Namely, evangelical Americans are still Americans, and their ideas about changing cultural norms are in line, more or less, with the rest of the country. As Daniel K. Williams put it, like many other white Americans, white evangelicals in the mid-20th century worked “to distance themselves from the overt racism that had characterized their churches.” And, as Molly Worthen argued similarly, “the moderate middle” of white evangelicalism “experienced a genuine change of heart about the meaning of skin color,” similar to what the moderate middle of white people in general experienced.

Again, racism is different from anti-LGBTQ ideas. Intelligent evangelicals will tell me that sexual morality is an inherent part of true Christianity, while racism was a deviation from true Christianity. I get that. Nevertheless, the point remains—evangelicals have shifted their ideas about LGTBQ identity along with the rest of the country. They will continue to do so.

So what will happen? If history is any guide here, we will end up with (yet another) split among evangelical institutions on this issue. Most universities will find a way to double-down on their traditional sexual morality while making room for LGBTQ rights. How? Not by today’s compromises, but rather by falling back on the heart of evangelical sexual morality, insisting that sexuality must be reserved only for monogamous marriage. The definition of “marriage,” though, will expand to include same-sex marriage. No more false distinctions between “identity” and “practice.” No more meaningless opining about the importance of sexless same-sex relationships. No, in the end, most evangelical institutions will basically embrace LGBTQ rights, but re-frame them in a traditional way, with an emphasis on marriage. Sex outside of marriage will still be forbidden. But marriage will come to include same-sex marriage.

At other schools, hard-liners will double-down on anti-LGBTQ tradition. They will not only ban same-sex relationships, but any element of LGBTQ inclusion. If necessary, they will fight against all comers, including the US government, to preserve their discriminatory anti-LGBTQ policies.

What do you think? Should we agree to meet back here in thirty years to find out if this prediction comes true?