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Christian college wins right to ban gays, unwed mothers, and women who’ve had an abortion

The U.S. Federal Government has granted Carson-Newman University a Title IX exemption status that will allow the school to ban gay students, unwed mothers, women who’ve had an abortion — and those who may even be pregnant.

The U.S. Federal Government has granted Carson-Newman University a Title IX exemption status that will allow the school to ban gay students, unwed mothers, women who’ve had an abortion — and those who may even be pregnant.

Dr. Randall O’Brien, president of the private Southern Baptist college in Jefferson County, Tennessee, filed for the dispensation back in May under the advice of his attorney, according to Local 8 Now.

“This is who we are — our religious principles — and in a changing world we want to reaffirm who we are and intend to be,” O’Brien said.

When asked if the school’s new status will lead to discrimination against students, O’Brien replied “I don’t know how it would be. Why file the waiver? That’s a good question.”

The Christian school previously had a policy in place that would bar members of the LGBT community from the university.

“I believe he felt it would strengthen our First Amendment rights,” O’Brien said, shifting the spotlight towards his attorney. “I don’t know why something would be necessary but since he’s [my attorney] I felt we’d follow the template.”

The lawyer who advised Dr. O’Brien to file for the waiver also filed for nearly a dozen other Christian schools across the country.

Carson-Newman University will become the 30th American educational institution to be filed under the Title IX exemption. When the statue was passed in 1972, it was thought the bill would be used to combat discrimination.

However, Congress added a small but powerful provision that states educational institutions “controlled by a religious organization” do not have to comply if Title IX “would not be consistent with the religious tenets of such organization.”

These “right-to-discriminate” waivers were relatively rare. A handful were requested in the 1980s and 1990s, many by religious schools who wanted to ensure they could prevent women from being hired in leadership roles without running afoul of discrimination laws.

In recent years, many religious institutions have been applying for the Title IX waivers to allow them to legally discriminate against unwanted students and defend themselves against the subsequent lawsuits.

Featured image via The Jefferson County Post

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102 Comments

102 Comments

  1. A Christian Woman's Point of View

    December 6, 2015 at 12:08 pm

    Holy crap-a-roni in box!!!!

    Now THIS is how you take the CHRIST right outta Christianity!

    Guess they didn’t read the Christian research that shows that the majority of women who have abortions are Christian.

    How are they going to be able to tell if a woman has had an abortion? Is there some kind of Christian test for that???

    And they are going to ban unwed mother’s from their school too? So you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t? That makes sense!

    And what about unwed fathers? Are they banned too?

    Congratulations Carson-Newman University! You’ve just won the prize for turning young formerly Christian Americans into a group of Satan’s Spawn gay bashing women haters! Why don’t you just take it all the way and get them some Nazi army uniforms to wear to classes and teach them the goose step march and how to “Heil Hitler!”

    Everyone deserves a higher education unless you’re gay, had an abortion or are an unwed mother – but not at this Christ-less school!

    Jesus would be so proud of you!

  2. Jim

    December 6, 2015 at 3:48 pm

    I notice the left out incestuous families… Wonder if that was on purpose???

  3. roux lucitt

    December 6, 2015 at 9:24 pm

    Why stop there?? Ban all races other than white and make sure women do not have the right to vote…
    This is WRONG in so many ways!!!

  4. Cole Johnson

    December 6, 2015 at 10:17 pm

    And if a learning institution were to ban the Christians on the basis of their practices how would that sit with them?

  5. Michael Vinson

    December 7, 2015 at 4:45 am

    Great, tax exempt and discrimination exempt.
    So how can they tell if a woman has had an abortion? Is it as simple as they ask and if she says “no”, then she’s good to go?What if she lies? Maybe they have a doctor on the premises, or they have to get tested? I wonder if they also have a virginity requirement?
    All those prerequisites could really cut down on the student body. And their revenue….

  6. Ellen Moore

    December 7, 2015 at 5:58 am

    I am at a loss for words…scary part is these “Good Christians” will marry each other and breed children who will grow up with the same ideologies as their hate spewing parents. I am sure that CHRIST is so proud of these HATERS.

  7. Maggie Jones

    December 7, 2015 at 6:08 am

    Yeah. What do you think Jesus would say about the “Christian College?” Seems to me they are a bit lacking in the teachings of the Savior.

  8. Kit9

    December 7, 2015 at 6:12 am

    Christian college is an oxymoron. What these perversions of humanity learn is how to hate gays, other faiths, deny science, deny reason, stick together like carrion feeding pack animals, suppress all sexuality and to spit in the face of Christ. Jesus would slap these ignorant bitches straight to Hell.

  9. Nort

    December 7, 2015 at 6:18 am

    While I feel this is a stupid decision and suspect this college will eventually collapse under the weight of its own self-righteousness, I also support their right to choose their students. Unless they take government funds. Maybe I missed that in the article. Any hint of federal or state funding should prohibit this behavior.

  10. Maureen Murphy

    December 7, 2015 at 6:18 am

    …those schools, and others like them better not be receiving any Federal financial aid..or there will be class action suits against this…

  11. Tom L

    December 7, 2015 at 6:26 am

    It is about money and man control over all, White man specifically

  12. Lisa

    December 7, 2015 at 6:26 am

    Good thing Mary doesn’t have to apply.

  13. amu

    December 7, 2015 at 6:33 am

    Thee govt better not pay these Christian right wing nuts 1 penny in financial aid. If no federal money can go towards abortion then no fed money should be allowed to go towards discrimination. Abortions legal, discrimination ‘ s not

  14. Boss Monkey

    December 7, 2015 at 6:47 am

    Dozens of Christian schools win Title IX waivers to ban LGBT students

    http://thecolu.mn/21270/dozens-christian-schools-win-title-ix-waivers-ban-lgbt-students

  15. anne

    December 7, 2015 at 7:12 am

    As a Christian unwed mother, this really disgusts me! While you are shouting from the rooftops about right to life- you are then banning the mom that chose it from making a better life for her and her child. The reason I left organized religion, because it is a slap in the face to good Lord above.

  16. Dave Green

    December 7, 2015 at 7:58 am

    “Christian college is an oxymoron” Couldn’t agree with you more!

  17. Loreta

    December 7, 2015 at 8:01 am

    Unbelievable! I guess the heads of the school are the first to cast stones bc they are free of sin! Oops. Jesus Christ wasn’t even free of sin himself, how do these morons get to be the ones? Not in Christ’s eyes! Thank god, there’s a higher court that bypasses all human laws and interpretations! O’brien and his team are going to pay dearly!

  18. Mad

    December 7, 2015 at 8:15 am

    Seig hiel!!!

  19. Veronica

    December 7, 2015 at 8:24 am

    So they would turn away the Virgin Mary. You know, the mom of the One the school is about!

  20. Jean Fawley

    December 7, 2015 at 8:37 am

    How would they react if Jesus walked on the campus?

  21. Terri Woodward Ehrlich

    December 7, 2015 at 8:38 am

    But they still admit bigots and self-righteous idiots. BTW, Mr. Forsythe, an attorney is COUNSEL, not council.

  22. Mike

    December 7, 2015 at 9:40 am

    It’s privately funded. None of you (or I) would want to go there anyway. Their degree will have little clout, if any. Whatever.

  23. Stu

    December 7, 2015 at 10:29 am

    You mean like all-women of all-black colleges?

  24. Janet LaCava

    December 7, 2015 at 10:32 am

    What happened to separation of church and state? All must comply to federal laws!! If they want that, then there is not separation and they had better be paying taxes!!! This is a travesty!

  25. Ana Pevey

    December 7, 2015 at 10:58 am

    That is just the right “Christian” thing to do. Showing the world how they choose to accept humanity.

  26. Mike Stearns

    December 7, 2015 at 11:01 am

    Good point

  27. Deborah

    December 7, 2015 at 11:16 am

    Only can say one thing. They could lower their admission, and I still would,never, under any circumstances, allow one of

    my children to attend such an intolerant school. How sickening

  28. puddintaign

    December 7, 2015 at 11:50 am

    Thank you Teri Woodward Ehrlich for pointing out the misused homophone. I logged on here to say the same thing. Use counsel instead of council.

  29. Ann Thayer

    December 7, 2015 at 12:20 pm

    Looks like a Nazi Youth camp

  30. Janet LaCava

    December 7, 2015 at 12:45 pm

    Weren’t Mary and Joseph married at that point? Anyway, they are all jerks.

  31. Resa

    December 7, 2015 at 1:11 pm

    If Loreta’s comment – “Jesus Christ wasn’t even free of sin himself” – is the level of wrong theology to which the rest of the commenters subscribe, I’m not terribly surprised so many people can’t grasp why students would prefer a college that would teach God’s design for physical intimacy. Sad, but not surprised.

  32. jsbanks

    December 7, 2015 at 1:14 pm

    so premarital sex is acceptable…just don’t get knocked up. Got it.

  33. Vernette Chance

    December 7, 2015 at 1:45 pm

    Administrators, faculty, and students of Carson Newman. you should probably not stand in the open during thunder storms; because you might be hit by a lightning bolt

  34. Pingback: Why we need to lose Religion | warriorwriter.wordpress.com

  35. warriorhawkwolf

    December 7, 2015 at 1:55 pm

    ” and those who may even be pregnant.” so if you are married and pregnant, does that mean they can kick you out and what about a refund. so much for their God’s commandment BE FRUITFUL AND MULTIPLY.” they can take their BuyBull and stuff it, and they should loose any and all tax exemptions they now enjoy.

  36. warriorhawkwolf

    December 7, 2015 at 2:00 pm

    Joseph married her after the 2nd time God ordered him to and she was already knocked up, so yeah, she would be banned in todays Christian world. of course, they did not have Christianity back then.

  37. Alicia Bowman

    December 7, 2015 at 2:07 pm

    I called the college about whether they planned on extending the ban to the dads. No, they are not. That is not part of their religious issue.They do not have an issue with the baby father’s only the moms. I wonder if a woman is ever going to be kicked out she should claim “immaculate conception”. it worked for Mary.

  38. Eve

    December 7, 2015 at 3:11 pm

    Exactly what I wanted to write. Especially important that you brought up fathers/males. Who got these women pregnant in the first place and is there a test for males who might have impregnated a woman and possibly encouraged an abortion? He who is without sin, cast the first stone…or…judge not, lest ye be judged!

  39. William A. Corley

    December 7, 2015 at 3:42 pm

    I am in hopes the ACLU will sue the hell out of these ignorant people.

  40. XaurreauX

    December 7, 2015 at 3:54 pm

    Fine, but not a penny of taxpayers’ money. So they had better not even think about applying for money that other schools who comply with non-discrimination are getting.

  41. Chris

    December 7, 2015 at 4:16 pm

    I kid you not, a pair of Carson-Newman students stole a bag of weed from me once.

  42. Gordon Kitchens

    December 7, 2015 at 5:29 pm

    Republicans in training.

  43. Michael Kalk

    December 7, 2015 at 6:16 pm

    Never heard of the place. Guess this is their 15 minutes of fame. Or infamy.

  44. Gayle

    December 7, 2015 at 6:31 pm

    What about those who have repented? We are all sinners and fall short of the glory of God. It seems to me they have forgotten that. And I agree with others here, what about the fathers of these babies? And what about fornication in general, if we are going to punish the fruits of that act?

  45. Bee

    December 7, 2015 at 6:43 pm

    I went to a private Christian school in the South that would not admit blacks, even after desegregation. The federal govt threatened to take away their tax exempt status and bingo…blacks were admitted. I always laugh when I think how fast their belief changed when it would cost then money!

  46. Lisa Bauer

    December 7, 2015 at 7:14 pm

    Gender discrimination alive and thriving. I think a group of us should get together to protest!

  47. Vladimir Moscher

    December 7, 2015 at 8:04 pm

    As a hiring employer that encourages diversity, I encourage all employers to throw out any resumes for graduates from Carson-Newman University. I sure will not hire from a college that encourages discrimination and hate.

  48. mikecasu77

    December 7, 2015 at 8:58 pm

    I wonder if they are still eligible for federal educational subsidies despite their discriminatory practices.

  49. mikecasu77

    December 7, 2015 at 9:31 pm

    Just goes to show you that in modern day Christianity it takes a lot of money to get that camel through the eye of the needle. LOL

  50. mikecasu77

    December 7, 2015 at 9:43 pm

    I agree. Institutions that call themselves Universities without providing a broad and diverse education are not fit to call themselves Universities. They’re doing their students a disservice and not allowing them to come out fully prepared for the real world.

  51. Mark Danks

    December 7, 2015 at 10:19 pm

    Retired professor says yea and amen here in the UK they have just banned the lords prayer from a marketing ad saying this is not a christian country and might upset other religions. Thank God for the remaining countries that follow Gods Word. Retired professor if I was principal I would ban all gays pregnant women those who’ve had abortions and many more. Amen.

  52. J. Linwood Kennedy

    December 7, 2015 at 10:56 pm

    Dr. O’Brian, I am disappointed and embarrassed that Carson-Newman University has decided to be discriminating and exclusive rather than open and inclusive. As you may remember when we met at Fourth Presbyterian Church in Chicago, I am a January, 1961 graduate of Carson-Newman. I then judged you to be an open and progressive person. I have always appreciated and been very proud of Carson-Newman but now I can no longer tell anyone about “my” college with pride. I feel that you have sold out to the right-wing extremist movement in our country, This decision is not Christian and cannot be supported by any of the teachings of Jesus Christ. It also raises a question about the true mission of a University. This is a great grief to me and a betrayal of a warm feeling that I have had for Carson-Newman for 60 years. This makes Carson-Newman sound like Bob Jones University and Liberty University. I just wonder what all of you do with the teachings of Jesus about acceptance and inclusion–the woman caught in adultery, the Samaritan Woman, the Parables of the Good Samaritan, the Prodigal Son, etc., etc. My mind was first opened to this inclusive Jesus in my study of New Testament Greek and a course on the Life and Teachings of Jesus by two great professors at Carson-Newman.

    I write this with a heavy heart,

    J. Linwood Kennedy

  53. Ramiro

    December 8, 2015 at 12:57 am

    Good one…

  54. jodi

    December 8, 2015 at 5:55 am

    organized religion grows more un-christ like every day. Its sad that they feel so righteous in their exclusion and discrimination.

  55. Lynn Fletcher

    December 8, 2015 at 7:59 am

    They have an ROTC program. They therefore get federal funds.

  56. Kit9

    December 8, 2015 at 9:00 am

    They’d scream Jesus rape as loudly as they could.

  57. Kit9

    December 8, 2015 at 9:02 am

    “christians” and I use the word very lightly…”christians” these days leave a great deal to be desired.

  58. Kit9

    December 8, 2015 at 9:05 am

    How fortunate for all involved that your hate filled, bigoted perverted mind is retired. Do everyone a favor and go meet your God soon. The world will be a better place.

  59. josephlogston

    December 8, 2015 at 10:32 am

    Looks like the higher education is getting a lower education in hate bigotry an inhuman thoughts of theism myths and lies as they pray to the black Jewish rabbi, and a bastard raped mother, and 14 yr old girl of Jesus!!……….. have a good education????

  60. Jamie

    December 8, 2015 at 10:39 am

    I hope no one is hooking up on this campus because if you’re going to point out sin then point them all out!! They might as well say everyone should be virgins!!! SMH!!!

  61. henri lewkowicz

    December 8, 2015 at 10:41 am

    unfortunately , there is no hell ……

  62. Rita

    December 8, 2015 at 10:44 am

    Lol! The quality of their education is as low as their compassion.

  63. Carol Hughes

    December 8, 2015 at 11:09 am

    This would be a narrow-minded institution with a sub par curriculum. They couldn’t be anything else because their leader is this way. Their philosophy is definitely NOT what Jesus would do. So, stay away, and eventually they’ll destroy themselves as all insular communities do.

  64. reets67

    December 8, 2015 at 11:23 am

    Mark, your Christian values are as poor as your punctuation, so I thank God you will never be Principal. I would hope that you are not the retired Professor referred to in the post.

    Firstly as ‘yea and amen’ are utilised as speech they should be placed in quotation marks. That sentence seems to end there so a full-stop is needed as well as capitalisation of the ‘H’ at the start of the new sentence. I would think you would at least know to capitalise the ‘L’ for Lord as it is a proper noun and because the prayer belongs to the Lord there is an ‘s on the instead of a plain s. Another fail for capitalisation of the ‘C’ for Christian. Also there should be commas between the list of transgressions in the last sentence.

  65. Louise Desmond

    December 8, 2015 at 12:08 pm

    I don’t know about the federal funding part, however, they are tax-exempt. Net income for 2013 was $6 million.

  66. Mark Danks

    December 8, 2015 at 2:13 pm

    Thanks for the lesson in grammar. Yes I am the 52 year old professor in the UK retired though I like to think i am working for the university of the third age in the UK. U3A>USA. I like to be called Professori Marco. My christian values you’ll find them in the best selling book of all time the bible I say it is God’s Word. Do I have a religion no I have a relationship that is what born again christian means born again of God the Father.

  67. Derrick McKeever

    December 8, 2015 at 2:39 pm

    Well I agree with it but the only problem I have is that theses are edomites/Red people(so called white people) they should not even be picking up the bible less long read it. It’s not for you the bible is for Israel not everyone. The so called black Hispanic and native Americans.

  68. M flav

    December 8, 2015 at 5:24 pm

    The immaculate conception was when Mary’s mother was conceived with her. Not when Mary was conceived with Jesus without having sex.

  69. Gerry Hines

    December 8, 2015 at 5:31 pm

    As a Christian I am ashamed to read about this abomination. Jesus forgave the prostitute. Love the sinner, hate the sin. Your school does not follow the same bible like 99% of the other Curches I know.

  70. Mark Danks

    December 8, 2015 at 8:14 pm

    Thanks for wishing me dead then accusing me of being hate filled you’ve proved a point to everyone

  71. Randall O'Brien

    December 8, 2015 at 9:12 pm

    Dear America, dear World, dear Friends,

    Carson-Newman U. Does not discriminate in student admissions. We welcome all our students from around the world regardless of race, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation, or disability.

    The article is in error. CN has never had a policy banning LGBT students. Never.

    Nor do we ban unwed mothers, or others named. No one has stepped forward to say they have been banned or discriminated at CN, because they have not been. We welcome and love ALL our students. All.

    The waiver recommended by counsel is intended to allow legal space to navigate unforeseen hypothetical situations in a future world far too complex to predict.

    But have we, do we presently, or do we intend to discriminate against our students? No!

    Are all welcome and valued at Carson-Newman? Yes, All. All? Yes. ALL!

  72. Vicki Betts

    December 8, 2015 at 10:47 pm

    Great reply!

  73. Adrian M. Kleinbergen

    December 9, 2015 at 5:02 am

    The more restrictions that these religious clown colleges institute, the more hypocritical they turn out to be.
    Imagine all the potentially immoral dirt that might be going on behind closed doors in a place so judgmental and holier-than-thou.

  74. Professori Marco

    December 9, 2015 at 5:22 am

    The majority of women who have abortions are not christian they pretend to be christian. Christ was God who was crucified for his religious convictions. People like Kleinbergen are what we seem only to find in a church now sunday christians as soon as they are asked to do something christian that upsets them they go running. Retired professor like me to see at last a college that is prepared to put the christ back into christmas when over here in the uk they have banned a marketing ad from saying the lords prayer is fantastic. Carson Newman we need colleges like you over here in the uk.

  75. Grant

    December 9, 2015 at 6:22 am

    This article is complete BS. Our school has always reserved the right to choose students based on religious choices, but it has never acted on these choices. We have a huge commiunity of LGBT students and students of other faiths.

    Randall O’Brien has turned this school into an amazing accepting place.

  76. Fliptrx

    December 9, 2015 at 7:19 am

    …but he does, late at night with a black hood hiding his face to ashamed to show it !

  77. Sue

    December 9, 2015 at 7:54 am

    There are no all black colleges. There are historically black college though. If you visit one you will see there are other races there. They are not banned from attending and actually get scholarships because they are in the minority there.

  78. Blake

    December 9, 2015 at 9:19 am

    Untrue. Degrees obtained from Carson-Newman University can go far.

  79. Hillaery

    December 9, 2015 at 11:15 am

    You know, just because someone graduated from this school does not mean that they have these same beliefs. I attended CNU because I was offered a full ride and I was having to pay for college myself because my parents couldn’t help me, so I attended the school. I was set to graduate in May of 2017, but I did not graduate. I got pregnant and this summer they refused my financial aid and scholarships by telling me I indicated on my fafsa that I had kids other than my own that I was supporting. I went back and forth all summer long between fafsa telling me that wasn’t indicated and CNU telling me it was. I finally withdrew myself from the classes so I wouldn’t be charged $24,000 only to receive a letter a week before classes started stating I could have all my financial aid and scholarships, but could not get back into the classes. If I had graduated from this school, though, and was rejected for a job simply because of being associated with their beliefs is a load of crap. There are people, like myself, who attend a school based on financial situations not necessarily what would be the best fit for them. Next time before you assume all students are brainwashed and crap think about other factors. With that said, I am completely outraged by this whole thing and realize that I was discriminated against, and I can’t believe this school is getting away with this kind of thing!

  80. Lacey Woods

    December 9, 2015 at 11:35 am

    I graduated from Carson-Newman. We never had issues of students feeling discriminated against in any way that I know of. Randall O’Brien is a wonderful man who values his students and takes a genuine interest in each one of our lives. I don’t see him ever taking steps to exclude anyone.

  81. David

    December 9, 2015 at 2:35 pm

    Well if it was The Institute for Advanced Atheism or perhaps some other school that filed as a religious institute for Islam or Mormonism or Atheism or Hinduism or whatever, that would be their right as a private institution. However if a public University or Community College were to do that, then that would be an issue.

  82. David

    December 9, 2015 at 2:57 pm

    Unfortunately for you, you do not live in a right-to-work state, and therefor cannot discriminate based on school of preference. Also with you publicly stating that you will decline people employment at OCMMC you have now opened your company up for potential legal retribution if a graduate of CN does happen to apply for a job there and gets turned down. I would strongly advise you to keep opinions like this to yourself as it could cost you and the company you work for a lot of legal trouble.

  83. Nicole Helton

    December 9, 2015 at 3:02 pm

    As a current student at CNU, I assure you that this article is not 100% accurate. Yes, we are a Christian college. Yes, we stand on our beliefs. However, the “rights” we received are for precautionary measures to keep church and state separated. We welcome all students and do not discriminate against them. We have many international students, including many Muslims that are treated no differently. We have many LGBT students that are also treated no differently. Just in this semester, I have had two pregnant women in my classes, where they were treated with respect and were even given special attention regarding classes (because, duh, they’re pregnant). Just because an article online uses bits and pieces of an interview doesn’t mean it’s getting the whole story. President O’Brien is a lovely man who accepts any and all students into his home and any time, offers us to stop by to have dinner with he and his wife, and takes the time to ensure that every Carson-Newman student is taken care of. We don’t discriminate, but we also want to have our rights as a Christian college if need be. With what this world is coming to, it seems pretty important to me to ensure individual rights. Anyway, as a CNU student, the Internet isn’t giving the whole story. Feel free to visit or speak to administration to clear anything up, as we had no intention of online articles twisting the story. It’s a great school, and I’m proud to be here.

  84. joykmt

    December 9, 2015 at 3:10 pm

    they don’t ban unwed fathers though, only unwed mothers.

  85. tomcogburn

    December 9, 2015 at 5:56 pm

    I guarantee you that a degree from Carson-Newman goes a long way. I am a gay man who attended CN in the the mid-80’s. I received an excellent education.
    Most of you aren’t aware that CN “has the right” and has had the right to do this all along–however they’ve never turned anyone away.
    There is a moderate LGBT community at CN–several students are openly gay and have not experienced problems from administration, professors, or staff. The student body is, as you might guess, like most other people their age. They are accepting of LGBT people.
    I’m not thrilled to learn of this exemption, but I wanted to set the record straight. Students get a top-rate education from Carson-Newman. They are encouraged to openly express their views in their classes–even religion classes.
    It might also be worth noting that Carson-Newman’s student body includes many people who aren’t Christian–including Muslims and non-believers. Students go to CN because of its reputation as an excellent school.
    This is a complex issue. CN is heavily funded by the Tennessee Baptist Convention and other large faith-based donors. Had Dr. O’Brien not sent a letter to the Dept. of Education requesting a waiver, I’m assuming that all of that funding would have dried up. This would have likely resulted in a loss of professors and other staff–leading to a reduction in available classes and available majors.
    Please do not jump to the conclusion that CN is an unfriendly school. These events are indicative of the times we live in. The LGBT community has seen great advances over the past several decades. Unfortunately there are still a significant number of people who cannot wrap their minds around this. They will go down fighting. But we will continue to make strides. This is just another growing pain we will experience until we have full equality in the US.
    Tom Cogburn, Chair
    LGBT Alumni of Carson-Newman

  86. tomcogburn

    December 9, 2015 at 6:46 pm

    Carol…
    You couldn’t be more wrong about Carson-Newman being a narrow-minded institution. I am a gay man who works very closely with LGBT students at Carson-Newman. Many of them are very open with regards to their orientation. They receive a great deal of support and affirmation from professors and other staff (including administration); as well as the rest of the student body.
    I hate what this situation is doing to the reputation of Carson-Newman. Don’t get me wrong. I am absolutely opposed to the Title IX exemption. But you should know a couple of things… Firstly, CN has always reserved the right to discipline students for any actions that run counter to a “traditional Christian belief system”. The LGBT students who openly discuss their “lifestyle” (dating, political opinions–that kind of thing) have never been disciplined (suspended or expelled). Secondly, Carson-Newman provides an excellent learning environment for progressive Christian students–even students who aren’t Christian (there are several Muslim and non-religious students who attend CN). Carson-Newman continues to rank very high in various college polling agencies/programs. Carson-Newman was tied for #1 ranked “Best Undergraduate Teaching” by US News and World Report. A degree from Carson-Newman goes a very long way in our region.
    My degree from Carson-Newman has served me well; both personally and professionally.
    I hope you won’t let this situation leave you with the belief that CNU is a ultra-conservative school.
    The situation that the school finds itself in is complex. I’m not making excuses; just stating the facts.
    As you a probably well aware, social and political advances of various minorities over the past several decades continues to be met with backlash from powerful, largely faith-based organizations; as well as conservative individuals. Until we see full equality throughout the nation, this will be the case. To me, these are “growing pains”. We saw these same kinds of problems with racial equality and gender equality.
    I have faith that God is taking us on a journey to full equality for everyone. After all, look at the advances we’ve seen socially over the past century. We have a long way to go, but we are moving in the right direction.
    I’m not sure that my words will change your mind, but hopefully they will be meaningful and insightful.

    Tom Cogburn, Chair
    LGBT Alumni of Carson-Newman

  87. tomcogburn

    December 9, 2015 at 6:58 pm

    Randall…
    Thanks so much for having the courage to come here and face such harsh criticism. And thank you SO MUCH for your support of all of the students at Carson-Newman.
    I am disheartened by so many of these comments. I know that Carson-Newman is an excellent school. And I personally know that CNU is supportive of its LGBT students. Over the past several years that I have worked with these students, they have never once complained about problems with professors/staff, administration, or the student body.
    I know that so many of these comments are fear-based. There is uncertainty. There is anger and misunderstanding. That has always been the case with the kind of social change that our country has seen over the past several decades.
    Hopefully we will continue to build bridges through Christ’s love.
    Tom Cogburn, Chair
    LGBT Alumni of Carson-Newman

  88. Kristi

    December 9, 2015 at 7:00 pm

    What would Jesus do never crossed the Administration’s minds. So glad that we publicly get to see how Christ-less they are. This should serve as a warning for any prospective students to NEVER enroll in such a judgmental, non-believing, hypocritical college. There are schools out there where you can get a better education and be completely accepted!

  89. Mark Danks

    December 9, 2015 at 9:42 pm

    They don’t ban unwed fathers. Well as a retired professor of the UK I know that George Washington the first president was a knights templar and that fits in with their ethos. You know I might come out of retirement.

  90. Margaret McSwain

    December 10, 2015 at 8:39 am

    Linwood, I am glad to touch base with you. I am Margaret McSwain (Tiny Green ), daughter of Henry and Dale Green. You married my husband and me in 1955. Where are you ?

  91. Robert Self

    December 10, 2015 at 9:20 am

    You seem to be very un-Christian, I guess you forget that if a school teach that a sin is wrong they can be sued, this protects them

  92. MMRoberts

    December 10, 2015 at 11:39 am

    Really??? That’s discrimination.

  93. jordan

    December 10, 2015 at 11:49 am

    I have absolutely no respect for Carson Newman college this is ridiculous and so wrong. I am a as they said unwed mother and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that honestly it makes me work twice as hard to achieve my goals and I am not ashamed of this at all. These so called Christians are taught that God is the only one who can judge and say who has sinned all this is are abunh of stuck up people who think they are better then everyone else that is not being a good Christian!!

  94. courtney

    December 10, 2015 at 1:30 pm

    no you can go to the schools if you’re pregnant but you have to be married. You see it’s not the pregnancy that’s the sin it’s the fact that you had sex before marriage that is the issue

  95. alexanderjmess

    December 10, 2015 at 6:59 pm

    Then they’re not a christian college.

  96. Professori Marco

    December 11, 2015 at 9:01 am

    Professori Marco says yea and amen. This is what we need women like you to be shocked. Here in the UK the bible is a joke. Over there christian slater when he played the role of moses he had to read the story for the first time.

  97. Logan

    December 11, 2015 at 1:34 pm

    I’m not happy about the implications of this move either, but to be fair, I’ve talked to a lot of people at the school, including students and staff, and this article was just written to smear CN’s name.

    CN, and especially O’Brien would never reject a student based on ANY of these reasons. The school did get the exception, but only because they do hire with specific religious qualifications in mind (it is a Christian school after all) and they do not want to be sued by a potential employee that didn’t get hired because of religious reasons.

    I know many LGBTQ students at CN, and I know almost all of the religion faculty. The story takes things way out of proportion and is trying to make CN look über conservative when, in fact, it’s just the opposite.

    The news story you won’t see from shitty, right-wing east TN media like the one that write the story is that O’Brien just got in trouble with the TBC for SUPPORTING the LGBT support group on campus. You won’t see that headline anywhere though. I encourage anyone who doubts what I’ve said to either get in contact with faculty or staff at the school or simply friend O’Brien on Facebook.

    This article was borderline slanderous and, unfortunately is the only side being actively portrayed.

  98. Spider Man

    December 11, 2015 at 11:02 pm

    “Religions are divisive and quarrelsome. They are a form of one-upmanship because they depend upon separating the “saved” from the “damned,” the true believers from the heretics, the in-group from the out-group. Even religious liberals play the game of “we’re-more- tolerant-than-you.” Furthermore, as systems of doctrine, symbolism, and behavior, religions harden into institutions that must command loyalty, be defended and kept “pure,” and—because all belief is only fervent hope, and thus a cover-up for doubt and uncertainty—religions must make converts. ‘The more people who agree with us, the less nagging insecurity about our position.’

    In the end one is committed to being a Christian or a Buddhist or…come what may in the form of new knowledge. New and indigestible ideas have to be wangled into the religious tradition, however inconsistent with its original doctrines, so that the believer can still take his stand and assert, “I am first and foremost a follower of Christ/Mohammed/Buddha, or whomever.”

    Irrevocable commitment to any religion is not only intellectual suicide; it is positive non-faith because it closes the mind to any new vision of the world. Faith is, above all, openness—an act of trust completely in the unknown.

    An ardent Jehovah’s Witness once tried to convince me that if there were a God of love, he would certainly provide mankind with a reliable and infallible textbook for the guidance of conduct. I replied that no considerate God would destroy the human mind by making it so rigid and unadaptable as to depend upon one book, the Bible, for all the answers. For the use of words, and thus of a book, is to point beyond themselves to a world of life and experience that is not mere words or even ideas. Just as money is not real, consumable wealth, books are not life. Therefore, to idolize scriptures is like eating paper currency.

    The Book that I would give to my children would itself be slippery. It would slip them into a new domain, not of ideas alone, but of experience and feeling. It would be a temporary medicine, not a diet; a point of departure, not a perpetual point of reference. They would read it and be done with it, for if it were well and clearly written they would not have to go back to it again and again for hidden meanings or for clarification of obscure doctrines.

    The Book I would pass to my children would contain no sermons, no ‘shoulds’ and no ‘oughts’. Genuine love comes from knowledge, not from a sense of duty or guilt.

    My wish would be to tell, not how things ought to be, but how they are, and how and why we ignore them as they are. You cannot teach an ego to be anything but egotistic, even though egos have the subtlest ways of pretending to be reformed.

    The basic thing is to dispel, by experiment and experience, the illusion of oneself as a separate ego. The consequences may not be behavior along the lines of conventional morality. It may well be as the Pharisees said of Jesus, “Look at him! A glutton and a drinker, a friend of tax-gatherers and sinners!”

    ~ Alan Watts, from the book “On the taboo against knowing who you are.”

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