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Oozing my religion

Decline seeps at once-Christian colleges; Jeffress conflates border debate with Revelation

Wesleyan University Student Assembly Office/Facebook

Oozing my religion
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A Whirled Views roundup of U.S. religious news and views.

Un-great awakening

The spiritual decline of many colleges and universities with religious beginnings isn’t a new development, but I was reminded of it again when I wrote about pro-life efforts at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Conn.

The university has been independent from the Methodist Church since 1937, but it still bears the name of John Wesley—one of founders of Methodism and an important figure in the Great Awakening.

Joy Adedokun, a senior at Wesleyan, started a pro-life group on campus four years ago and found herself in formidable company: “One of the things I didn’t understand … was how radical the pro-choice movement was on our campus.” She says some of that stems from a culture of promiscuity: “I feel like older people in the pro-life movement don’t understand how prevalent that culture is.”

Joy Adedokun

Joy Adedokun Facebook

To get a glimpse, peruse the school’s selection of “gender and sexuality” resources. After descriptions of Planned Parenthood and abortion escorts comes a group called “WesKink,” described as a “community for students interested in kink, BDSM, non-monogamy and polyamory, and other alternative sex/relationship practices.”

It’s a shame to link John Wesley’s name to such a group, but the bigger tragedy is the vacuous pursuit of personal autonomy and its disastrous consequences—often including abortion.

He said, she said

Meanwhile, bewildering changes are afoot at Stephens College, established in 1855 as the Columbia Female Baptist Academy. The school is still an all-female college, but the definition of female will dramatically shift in the fall of 2019 to include—men.

Stephens College

Stephens College Handout

Confused? The college’s explanation of its policy changes might not help: “Stephens College has recommitted to its singular mission of educating women.”

But since school officials have changed their definition of women, the college will now “admit and enroll students who were not born female, but who identify and live as women.”

In some cases, if a student was born female, she might face a problem: “The College will stop admitting and enrolling students who were born female but who now identify as men or who are transitioning from female to male.”

If a student was born female, but is undecided on her sex, that’s OK: “The College will also continue to admit and enroll students who were born female but who identify as nonbinary, meaning students who experience their gender identity as falling outside the categories of man and woman.”

The school seemed to realize the mental gymnastics involved in understanding the changes, since it listed one of the FAQs as: “OK, for those of us who don’t really understand the terms or issues here, what does that actually mean?

The real answer to that question is that our culture continues to encourage deeply troubled people to reject reality, instead of patiently helping them to see who they are as men and women made in God’s image.

Senator’s stand

Speaking of protecting God’s image, Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., called out Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, for wondering aloud: “White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization—how did that language become offensive?”

Scott, the only black Republican in the Senate, responded: “Some in our party wonder why Republicans are constantly accused of racism—it is because of our silence when things like this are said.” Two days later, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., pledged “action will be taken.” The next evening, House Republican leaders removed King from his posts on the Judiciary and Agricultural committees.

Joy Adedokun

Joy Adedokun Facebook

King issued a statement saying he was a “nationalist,” and calling white nationalism and white supremacy “evil.” He didn’t deny the quote itself, but said he was asking only how the term “Western civilization” had become offensive.

Walled out

Robert Jeffress, pastor of First Baptist Dallas and an avid supporter of President Donald Trump, used the book of Revelation to advocate for a border wall. He argued the border wall isn’t immoral (contrary to some Democrats’ claims) since Revelation describes a wall around heaven, and “not everybody is going to be allowed in.”

I agree that a border wall isn’t inherently immoral. But I disagree with using a part of Scripture describing God’s judgment and salvation on the Last Day to bolster a case for a concrete structure in the Southwestern United States.

Higher office

Bill Lee, the Tennessee Republican who refused to run negative ads and came from behind to win the state’s governorship, is set for inauguration this weekend. The activities will kick off with a worship service at Ryman Auditorium.

Joy Adedokun

Joy Adedokun Facebook

When I spoke with Lee during his campaign last fall, he talked about his Christian faith: “I tell people, ‘If you’re going to consider voting for me for governor, you ought to know everything about me as a person. And the most important thing to this person is my relationship with Christ.”

Jamie Dean

Jamie is a journalist and the former national editor of WORLD Magazine. She is a World Journalism Institute graduate and also previously worked for The Charlotte World. Jamie resides in Charlotte, N.C.


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