Last week a U.S. Congressman from Michigan threatened some kind of legislation against the Lowes home improvement chain because it chose not to continue advertising a new network reality show trying to mainstream Islam. As I read the story I couldn’t help but wonder where the outcry has been about an even more egregious case of religious discrimination in Tennessee.
The situation here in Tennessee, like that involving Lowes, involves a private entity. In both cases there is no law that requires support for religious tolerance or for religious discrimination. In both cases, the decision of these private entities has made national news.
So what might be the difference? Why are politicians both in Washington and in a couple of states so outraged about Lowe’s decision and not equally exercised about a nationally-known case of religious intolerance here in Tennessee?
It seems to me that the major distinction is the particular religion that is at issue. Liberal politicians will fall all over themselves to placate and accommodate Islam and its promotion and propagation; however, for them Christianity, the religion involved in the Tennessee situation, is at the root of the evils of Western Civilization and, by extension, the evils they see in American culture.
What is the situation in Tennessee? It is the decision by Vanderbilt University to deny University recognition of Christian student organizations that believe their organization’s officers should adhere to the historic, orthodox beliefs of Christianity. (Listen to the FACT Report: Vandy Isn’t Dandy Anymore on this topic.)
Vanderbilt has tried to tell the numbers of alumni who have objected to the University’s hostility toward Christianity that federal law somehow requires them to adopt this policy. And though there is a real question as to whether the University’s Board of Trustees has been fully informed about the situation, that seems to be what they’ve been told, too.
But now a number of concerned alumni have made available to the Board a letter (and other supporting documents) that unequivocally refutes the University’s assertion that its policy is required by law. The memorandum is signed by a who’s who of constitutional and religious liberty law scholars at some the nation’s top law schools like Virginia and Stanford, law schools that compete with Vanderbilt for the top undergraduates interested in law.
What is increasingly clear is that Vanderbilt seems to be more interested in advancing, promoting, and commending homosexual conduct and obliteration of the distinction between males and females than religious diversity. As a private organization, Vanderbilt has the right to promote and protect homosexual conduct and gender confusion to the detriment of religious diversity just as Lowe’s has the right not to advertise on a show to which its patrons might object. But since it appears that no law requires Vanderbilt to adopt a policy discriminating against religion, it would appear that Vanderbilt (and presumably its Trustees) have decided that homosexual conduct is more important than religious beliefs.
Now, in closing, another interesting parallel. Last year the individual who serves as the unpaid volunteer Chaplain at Vanderbilt for its Muslim students was part of a forum that was part of a series of programs called “Project Dialogue,” hosted by the University. At this particular forum, in response to a student question, the Chaplain said that Islamic law required the death penalty for those engaged in homosexual conduct and that he had no choice but to believe what Islam teaches.
Did this act of religiously motivated Islamic intolerance for the homosexual conduct that Vanderbilt seems to want to protect merit a quick censure and clear condemnation by the University? Of course not. (Statement from Vanderbilt University about Project Dialogue forum on Muslims in the military)
In fact, in response to the release of a video of the Chaplain’s statement, most liberals focused on attacking the student who asked the question to which the Chaplain replied and whether the speaker had some kind of formal or legal relationship with the University. How double-minded can one be?
So it appears that Islam and homosexuality are “in” at Vanderbilt and Christianity is “out.” And for some reason, no politician who decried Lowe’s alleged “sleight” toward Islam has said a word about Vanderbilt’s blatant discrimination against Christian campus ministries.
And there you have it, the “Lowe down” on the intersection between homosexual conduct, Islam, and Christianity at Vanderbilt and how the three are seen in the minds of many political liberals.