Are you fucking kidding me?

How to induce a face-palm moment.

According to one Anton Carillo at Christianity Daily: Evidence Shows Christian Schools Treat LGBTQ Students Better Than Secular Institutions, Professors Reveal.

evidence

The source for this brilliance are two academics; Gene Schaerr and Nicholas P. Miller.

Gene Schaerr, a law professor at Brigham Young University, is well known in our community as a warrior for marriage discrimination. In 2015 Schaerr posted a treatise to Witherspoon Institute’s pseudo-intellectual titled “Redefining Marriage Would Put Kids of Heterosexuals At Risk.”

Schaerr has claimed that same-sex marriage harms underprivileged women. He asserted — get this — that same-sex marriage causes more abortions. Smart guy but batshit crazy.

Nicholas P. Miller is also, presumably, a smart guy. His law degree comes from Columbia University. Miller is a professor of church history and director of the International Religious Liberty Institute at Andrews University.

Andrews, a 7th Day Adventist institution, is ranked #298-#389 in National Universities by U.S. News & World Report.

I will get back to Mr. Carillo’s “evidence.” First, however, here is some real evidence from Andrews University about the fate of LGBTQ students.

According to the Student Handbook:

… a student should expect to receive consequences, up to and including dismissal from the University, if he/she engages in any activity, behavior or communication described in the following list, whether it takes place on-campus, off-campus or online

Included in the list of prohibited conduct:

Romantic behaviors between individuals of the same sex, understanding that not all displays of affection are romantic in nature.

The way I read that, it is possible for a tweet to cause the dismissal of a student. Keep in mind that there are LGBTQ people who enroll in these schools. There are also people who come to terms with their sexuality subsequent to entering one of these schools.

“Schaerr and Miller are actually claiming (as discriminators) that they are being discriminated against.”

Returning to Anton Carillo and Christianity Daily:

What this is all about is a reaction to a case filed by the Religious Exemption Accountability Project (REAP) last March against the Department of Education in a move to remove government exemptions given to Christian schools as per Title IX.

The case is captioned: Hunter v. U.S. Department of Education. It is before the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon. According to the complaint:

Thirty-three Plaintiffs bring this class action to put an end to the U.S. Department of Education’s complicity in the abuses and unsafe conditions thousands of LGBTQ+ students endure at hundreds of taxpayer-funded, religious colleges and universities. The Plaintiffs seek safety and justice for themselves and for the countless sexual and gender minority students whose oppression, fueled by government funding, and unrestrained by government intervention, persists with injurious consequences to mind, body and soul.

There is direct evidence that Mr. Carillo is terribly confused. Behold:

The professors who wrote the article last Friday, Gen [sic] Schaerr & Nicholas Miller, are both lawyers. Schaerr teaches law in Utah’s Brigham Young University Law School while Miller teaches law at Michigan’s Andrews University. The professors pointed out that what REAP claims in the religious exemption lawsuit on as “unconstitutional and harmful to LGBTQ+ students” are “unfair and discriminatory” because it singles out religious schools.

Aside from misspelling Schaerr’s name, Miller does not teach law. Andrews University does not have a law school. Nicholas P. Miller is a history teacher.

“Two fucking lawyers pretend that evidence is something different than what it really is.”

Furthermore Schaerr and Miller* are actually claiming (as discriminators) that they are being discriminated against. That requires balls the size of grapefruit.

Moreover, religious schools seem to be the only ones that specifically single out LGBTQ students. At Mr. Schaerr’s employer, Brigham Young University, for example:

Same-sex romantic behavior cannot lead to eternal marriage and is therefore not compatible with the principles included in the honor code,

A violation of the honor code could lead to dismissal. After expressing phony concern for LGBTQ students Schaerr and Miller are quoted:

“The evidence shows, however, that LGBTQ+ students face similar challenges at secular institutions, and that to single out religious colleges for criticism is itself unfair and discriminatory,” Schaerr and Miller pointed out in their article.

Two fucking lawyers pretend that evidence is something different than what it really is:

“… if Carillo had an ounce of intellectual curiosity he would read the survey in question.”

The professors cited a survey used by REAP as evidence on their grounds on the “higher rates of harassment, bullying, depression, anxiety, eating disorders, alcohol abuse and sexual and physical violence than their heterosexual and cisgender peers” LGBTQ+ students experience in Christian schools as against in secular institutions.

That survey is evidence of the malfeasance of Christian schools. It is not evidence of impropriety. As they continue, they propose that, by attacking the survey, they are providing evidence:

As per Schaerr and Miller, the survey REAP used was done in partnership with College Pulse, which is basically an organization run by students or recent graduates from Dartmouth University. The professors pointed out that the survey does not disclose who designed the survey and whether counseling professionals were involved in it.

First of all, if Carillo had an ounce of intellectual curiosity he would read the survey in question obviously, he did not:

“… I cannot find where the survey is offered as evidence. There are 38 exhibits. None of them seem to be the survey that these people are referring to.”

College Pulse is a survey research and analytics company dedicated to understanding the attitudes, preferences, and behaviors of today’s college students. College Pulse offers custom data-driven marketing and research solutions, utilizing its unique American College Student Panel™ that includes over 485,000 undergraduate college student respondents from more than 1,500 two- and four-year colleges and universities in all 50 states.

The above does not match the description offered by Carillo, Schaerr and MIller.

Furthermore, the complaint primarily depends upon the experiences of 33 students. For example:

Victoria Joy Bacon – Lipscomb University
[…]
Lipscomb is a Christian university in Nashville, TN. It has a short and vague statement on sexuality that says, “all students should practice biblical standards of sexual morality. Sexual immorality of any kind is prohibited.”

Although Victoria was open about their identity in high school, at Lipscomb “I felt unsafe on campus from the first day I moved in. As a result, I initially went back into the closet as a freshman.” School officials would often make homophobic and transphobic statements to Victoria. Lipscomb administrators would often overlook hateful behavior or statements. Students and administrators at Lipscomb would subject Victoria to a barrage of hateful language, even slurs. RA’s would witness Victoria being called slurs and would do nothing to intervene

There are thirty-three statements like that.

Moreover, I cannot find where the survey is offered as evidence. There are 38 exhibits. None of them seem to be the survey that these people are referring to. Nor is the survey included in the complaint. Nor has the survey been offered by an intervener.

“… Students at non-Christian schools are not afraid of being expelled due to their sexuality.”

However, let us assume that two lawyers have what I cannot find. Let’s assume — for the moment — that the survey has been offered as evidence. It is abundantly clear from court records that the complaint does not depend upon the referenced survey.

Referring to a Rutgers University survey conducted about five years ago (there is no link):

Further, while REAP asserts that “four in ten sexual or gender minority students” are “uncomfortable with their sexual identity on campus” at religious colleges, the Rutgers report reveals that five in ten queer-spectrum students and seven in ten trans-spectrum students do not feel “respected” on their secular, public campuses.

The differences (excluding progress made since the Rutgers survey) include:

  1. Non-Christian schools do not have policies directed at LGBTQ students.
  2. Students at non-Christian schools are not afraid of being expelled due to their sexuality.
  3. Students at non-Christian schools are not violating an official code of conduct.

“ED’s forthcoming answer to the complaint will represent the intersection of law and Biden administration policy.”

This is not an intellectually honest comparison. If the Rutgers survey is evidence of some kind it is only evidence of how LGBTQ college students are treated throughout the schools that were included.

The judge in this case is Ann Aiken, a Clinton appointee. Numerous Christian colleges and universities are interveners in this case. Their arguments are based upon Freedom of Religion™.

Those are the same arguments that were made before the Supreme Court in Bostock v. Clayton County. The Court determined that employers cannot discriminate on the bases of sexual orientation and gender identity.

However that did not apply specifically to religious organizations. In this case the effect is limited to religious institutions. If Judge Aiken rules in favor of the plaintiffs I have no idea how the colleges would appeal the case. They are not defendants.

My guess is that the Department of Education would not pursue an appeal. Indeed, ED has seemingly had difficulty answering the complaint. Presumably that is because ED’s forthcoming answer to the complaint will represent the intersection of law and Biden administration policy.

ED has been given several extensions of time to file a response. It is now due on August 9, 2021.

I will re-review the matter at that time.

———

* I have no direct evidence that Mr. Miller is personally discriminatory. By working at a university that clearly is bigoted towards LGBTQ students, Miller is complicit.

By David Cary Hart

Retired CEO. Formerly a W.E. Deming-trained quality-management consultant. Now just a cranky Jewish queer. Gay cis. He/Him/His.