Monday, August 22, 2022

Seattle Pacific University--Two Competing Views

Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF

On July 30, the Seattle Times reported that Seattle Pacific University "has filed suit against state Attorney General Bob Ferguson."

The suit claimed, "The attorney general is wielding state power to interfere with the religious beliefs of a religious university, and a church, whose beliefs he disagrees with."

Ferguson fired back saying that SPU's lawsuit "demonstrates that the university believes it is above the law to such an extraordinary degree that it is shielded from answering basic questions."

Yesterday the Seattle Times featured an op-ed by Kevin Newhouser, which makes the case against SPU's Interim President Pete Menjares and the board of trustees who are fighting for biblical truth regarding human sexuality.

Be informed, not misled.

The issue.

On July 30, the Seattle Times reported:

Seattle Pacific University has filed suit against state Attorney General Bob Ferguson, charging that his investigation into possible hiring discrimination against LGBTQ+ people violates the school’s constitutionally protected right to religious freedom.

“The attorney general is wielding state power to interfere with the religious beliefs of a religious university, and a church, whose beliefs he disagrees with,” reads the 22-page complaint, filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Tacoma.

Ferguson fired back in a Friday statement that SPU’s lawsuit “demonstrates that the university believes it is above the law to such an extraordinary degree that it is shielded from answering basic questions from my office regarding the university’s compliance with state law.”

In full disclosure, I once worked at SPU as a "Special Assistant to the President" and one of our daughters graduated from SPU.

This battle was in its embryonic stages way back when I was there. 

This is a battle over whether biblical truth should prevail or current culture should prevail in the university. They are two very different views. And they are competing for the soul of our country and her institutions. And the hearts and minds of our children.

Interim President Pete Menjares and the SPU board of trustees claim that "The suit against Ferguson was necessary" in order "to ensure our religious identity."

More than 130 years ago what is now known as Seattle Pacific University was founded by hard-working, Bible-believing, God-fearing Free Methodists for the purpose of educating in a biblical environment. And with a strong belief in the First Amendment.

The resistance. 

Yesterday, the Seattle Times featured an op-ed by Kevin Newhouser in which he makes the case against SPU staying the course of their biblical beliefs. He leans heavily on the "fact" that in 2021, 75% of the faculty and 68% of staff "supported revising SPU's Lifestyle Expectations policy to allow employment for applicants in same-sex marriages."

Biblical Christianity is not a democracy.

Kevin Neuhouser is a professor of sociology at Seattle Pacific University, co-chair of the LGBTQIA+ Work Group, and faculty adviser to Haven, the SPU LGBTQIA+ student club.

He is a self-proclaimed homosexual.

When the board rejected this proposal, he says, "the SPU faculty overwhelmingly voted (72%) 'no confidence' in the board.

He continues:

In an email to a blindsided faculty, Interim SPU President Pete Menjares stated the lawsuit was necessary to “ensure our religious identity.” In other words, Menjares and the SPU board of trustees, who initiated the suit, claim that discrimination against LGBTQIA+ job applicants is an essential element of the Christian faith.

That's a lie and he knows it. "Discrimination" is not an "essential element" of the true biblical Christian faith.

Those who oppose redefining marriage and human sexuality are simply standing for biblical truth---not discriminating.

He continues:

Their equation of “Christian” with LGBTQIA+ discrimination may not shock many readers, simply confirming their worst impression of American Christianity. It may be a surprise, however, that this discrimination has been repeatedly rejected by the vast majority of SPU faculty, staff and students. Thus, the conflict is not — as the complaint alleges — a conflict between Christianity and secular government; it is a struggle between competing visions of Christianity. When the SPU board sued for the right to discriminate, it placed itself in opposition to the deeply committed Christians who constitute the greater part of the institution it claims to serve. For years, faculty, staff and students have worked to expand the inclusivity of SPU’s policies and practices, but recent board actions have slammed the door on that progress.

He concluded:

In the midst of this ongoing conflict, the revelation of the board’s lawsuit was shocking and discouraging to faculty, staff, and students who have worked to make SPU a more inclusive university.

Despite this significant setback, the faculty at SPU continues to call for and work toward change in university policies to allow the hiring of qualified Christian job candidates, regardless of LGBTQIA+ status. We believe we are called to create a space in which Christians can seek God’s truth together. We believe that becoming this kind of Christian university will better serve our students, and through them, the church and the community. 

God's truth is plainly detailed in God's Word---the Bible. He, nor anyone else needs a "space" to discover God's will for human sexuality. It is clearly articulated in the Bible.

Any institution whose view includes deliberately disobeying God's Word will certainly not be serving its students, the church, or the community.

This kind of thinking is at the root of the chaos and confusion that marks our decaying culture today.

The Left is contesting and trying to compete with God. And that never ends well.

Be Informed. Be Discerning, Be Vigilant. Be Engaged. Be Prayerful.