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Bigotry 101

Carson-Newman University in Tennessee sued for the right to discriminate against LGBT students--and won: http://news.yahoo.com/christian-university-just-won-ban-170112556.html The university can expel students for being LGBT (or pregnant, or single mothers, or recipients of an abortion, according to their lawsuit).  The court granted them this right under Title IX, which allows religious organizations to discriminated based on . . . well, anything they want, really.

Whether or not such an organization should have this power isn't actually what I want to address here (though I think any organization that's allowed to discriminate should not receive any sort of government aid whatsoever, including access to water, sewer, or roads, and that the moment the organization does anything remotely political, their status as a religious organization should be revoked, forcing them to pay taxes and no longer be allowed to discriminate).

Instead, we have something of a side issue a number of commenters have brought up: why would LGBT students want to attend a university that has power to discriminate?  Such commenters usually bring this up in one of two contexts:

1. These awful LGBT students are using their presence to force the university to change its religious policies and accept LGBT students (because apparently religious universities are the last bastion of homophobia in our great country); or
2. These awful LGBT students are fools, akin to people who walk down dark alleys at night with money hanging out of their pockets, so if something happens to them, it's their own fault.

As usual, the homophobes can only see their own narrow-minded view.

Why would you attend a religious university that discrminates against LGBT people?  Several perfectly good reasons.  They include:

1. You come from a far-right religious household, where the expectation was that you attend this university.  (No, not everyone is emotionally strong enough at age 18 to speak up and say, "I don't want to go there" to their parents.)

2. Your parents attended the university, your grandparents attended, and your great-granparents attended, so you and your siblings have to attend.  There's no question.  (And see above for going somewhere else.)

3. You received a scholarship to the university and as a result, it's the only place you can afford to attend.

4. Your parents are willing to pay for your education, but only if you attend the religious university.  If you go somewhere else, you're totally on your own.  (And students who end up in religious universities are often conditioned from a very young age to slavishly obey their parents.  This is difficult to break, especially if they say, "Do this, or we'll have nothing to do with you.")

5. You didn't realize that you LGBT, or didn't want to admit it to yourself, until you were already a student at the university, and when you did figure it out, you were in the middle of your junior year.  Who wants to transfer somewhere else at that point?

So LGBT students appear in conservative religious universities, and they would rather not be expeled for being who they are.  Religious freedom, the First Amendment, and Title IX were meant to be shields to defend, not swords to destroy.


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