How Christian Schools Should have Spent $350K

Image Credit: Jordyn Sun

How to Spend $350K: 35 Ways Christians Schools Could Have Spent Their $350,000 (instead of fighting LGBT-affirming legislation)

The newest bully on the block is the Association of Faith Based Institutions. Their aim is to be a long-term voice for Christian colleges “defending religious freedom” in California, but their misuse of hundreds of thousands of dollars to defend their ability to target and discriminate against LGBTQI students is a far cry ethical Christian leadership. Apparently formed to in response to Senate Bill 1146, the group spent $350,000 to oppose the bill brought by Senator Lara (D-Bell Gardens) to reduce LGBT discrimination on Christian campuses by:

  1. Requiring schools to clearly disclose their exempt status from non-discrimination laws to students (including prospective), staff, faculty, and state.

  2. Allowing students who experience discrimination based on their gender identity or sexual orientation to pursue civil remedy

Its sinister trinity is President Jon Wallace (sitting president of Azusa Pacific University), Vice President Barry Corey (of Biola University) and Secretary John Jackson (of William Jessup). Some of the other schools linking up with this campaign to distract from the pertinent and long suppressed LGBT issues on their campuses are Cal Baptist University, Point Loma University, and Westmont University. The Association of Faith Based Institution received donor support channeled through the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU) amounting up to $350,000 for their campaign expenses. As of Wednesday, August 10, Senator Lara removed the provision of the bill that would have allowed LGBT students who experienced discrimination on their campus to pursue civil remedy. It seems that Senator Lara wants to do more research. He is quoted as saying, “The requirement for schools to report expulsions based on morality codes to the state Commission on Student Aid will give information on how common such cases are.” This outcome is incredibly disappointing, because we know that expulsion due to someone’s gender identity or sexual orientation is rare these days. It’s no longer socially acceptable to kick young people of college for their identity as LGBT, so universities’ discipline and discrimination toward LGBT people have become much more nuanced and deceptive. LGBT students don’t get expelled for “who they are”. But they are often shown no mercy when failing classes (often due to mental health issues), caught breaking codes of conduct that others would generally be given a slap on the wrist or one page essay assignment for, and often intimidated to drop out. Christian schools have proven the extent of which they are willing to pay for protecting their ability to covertly attack LGBT people in their midst and on their campus 350,000 times over. a website hosted by Biola University, states that: “If passed in its current form, SB 1146 will likely subject the state to years of costly but completely avoidable litigation over the rights of its citizens to freely exercise their religious liberty.” Evidently, the $350,000 they spent on their campaign was cost savings plan for the citizens of California.

Photo Credit: Jordyn Sun

In the spirit of the Christian call to protect those who are actually vulnerable in society, we crowdsourced a Google document to brainstorm 35 ways religious institutions of higher education could have better spent the $350,000 that went to lobbying for discrimination (because it appears their ethics board and financial advisors need the help):

  1. Scholarships for the low income, working class students you tokenized to pit against LGBTQ students

  2. Scholarships for trans students

  3. Better retention programs for black and brown student groups

  4. Counselors trained in LGBTQ mental health issues

  5. An LGBTQ center on campus

  6. Research on the effects of spiritual violence on LGBTQ people of color

  7. LGBTQ chapel speakers (who aren’t side-B or ex-gay/trans)

  8. Community outreach/volunteer programs for LGBTQ centers

  9. More and better training for Title IX Coordinators which includes trans rights

  10. A space on campus to house housing-unstable people

  11. A gender neutral bathroom in each dorm on each campus

  12. Purchasing a series of books on feminist scholars’ work on the Bible

  13. Postage for an apology letter to every LGBTQ student who you have harmed during their time at your school

  14. Salaries for LGBTQ faculty that are allegedly “not at your institution

  15. ”Better, more recent and affirming library resources on Christian faith and LGBTQ issues, like Trans Theology

  16. Lobbyists against the corrupted influence of money in politics

  17. Out-of-court reparations for the pain, anxiety, and depression of LGBTQ Christians negatively affected by an overbearing and suffocating culture that shames them for existing and daring to ask questions and think critically at your “educational” institution

  18. Give all your employees a living wage

  19. Creating a queer studies program and gender studies program

  20. Dedicating monetary resources to strengthen existing departments that may be underfunded

  21. Providing summer and winter break housing to LGBTQ students who fear returning to home to abusive families

  22. Funding a campus-wide worship night that is explicitly welcoming to LGBTQ people

  23. Changing homophobic and transphobic attitudes among board members and donors

  24. Advertising your newly LGBTQ-friendly Christian university. Talk about a marketable trait!

  25. Covering the healthcare costs for transgender students’ hormone replacement therapy

  26. Thousands of condoms for all your sexually active students

  27. Create an endowment for an LGTQI homeless youth shelter

  28. Run a billboard campaign saying that Christians ought to love LGBTQI people and work for economic and racial justice

  29. Pay for drinking water for the Dakota Pipeline protesters

  30. Actively campaign against the “Kill the Gays” bill in Uganda

  31. Educate your members about the damage anti-Muslim prejudice is having on the community and what they can do to stop it!

  32. Paying for transgender students’ transition-related surgeries

  33. Buy a bigger door of discussion so all of your school’s abuses can fit perfectly on the door

  34. Pay reparations to the descendants of enslaved Black folks who built your institutions

  35. AND also pay reparations to the indigenous people of now-Mexico displaced by Christian settlers

You can find a detailed breakdown of exactly how much each university donated to this campaign here.

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