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Response to Supreme Court Decision on Same-Sex Marriage

Published on Jun 29, 2015 by Evangel University News

Office of the President
Carol A. Taylor

As a faith-based institution Evangel University will continue to educate and equip students to serve the church and society globally while remaining faithful to our commitment to provide Christ-centered education that integrates faith and learning with deeply held biblical convictions and compassion for all.

Our nation has a long-cherished history of religious freedom, pluralism, and diversity.  We hold sacred the privilege of living and serving alongside those with different views, respecting our fundamental right to disagree while demonstrating care, generosity, and respect for each other.

Of the more than 4,000 public and private degree-granting institutions of higher education, 900 define themselves as religiously affiliated. Among the religiously affiliated and fully accredited colleges and universities are those who are members of the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU) and who are intentionally Christ-centered. As a member of the CCCU, Evangel University is part of a group of like-minded institutions that together serve more than 400,000 students, 1.8 million alumni, and 30,000 faculty. We fully support the statement released by the CCCU yesterday.

CCCU STATEMENT TO THE PRESS:

The Supreme Court’s affirmation of the First Amendment draws from a deep well of precedent that protects free exercise. Free exercise has long been regarded as a fundamental right under the First Amendment, ensuring religious individuals and organizations can exercise their beliefs not only in synagogues, mosques and churches, but also beyond their walls. These full protections for religious individuals and organizations to exercise their beliefs privately and publicly are not diminished by expanded marriage rights.

Christian colleges are places where students are taught to be people of integrity, people of character, people who pay back their loans.  They are institutions whose graduates contribute to the public good as artists, health care providers, educators, public servants and entrepreneurs. At the core of this work are deeply held religious beliefs. The Supreme Court??Ts majority opinion named with respect the plurality of religious beliefs throughout the United States, and specifically affirmed the space in the public square for individuals to have those beliefs and opinions:

“Further, it must be emphasized that religions, and those who adhere to religious doctrines, may continue to advocate with utmost, sincere conviction that, by divine precepts, same-sex marriage should not be condoned. The First Amendment ensures that religious organizations and persons are given proper protection as they seek to teach the principles that are so fulfilling and so central to their lives and faiths, and to their own deep aspirations to continue the family structure they have long revered. The same is true of those who oppose same-sex marriage for other reasons. In turn, those who believe allowing same sex marriage is proper or indeed essential, whether as a matter of religious conviction or secular belief, may engage those who disagree with their view in an open and searching debate.”

It stands to reason, then, that the tax-exempt status and religious hiring rights of religious institutions will be protected when they advance the religious mission of a college or university.