A total of 102 Christian colleges and universities were labeled as "absolute worst" for LGBTQ students on a new "shame list" distributed by national educational organization Campus Pride. All colleges that fail Campus Pride's standards, such as the 57 institutions requesting a religious exemption to the current interpretation of Title IX regulations, were labeled "absolute worst," rather than various degrees of ratings.
"Religion-based bigotry is careless and life-threatening," said Shane Windmeyer, Campus Pride executive director. "LGBTQ young people face high rates of harassment and violence, especially our trans youth and LGBTQ youth of color. The schools on this list have requested Title IX exemption based on religion-based bigotry targeting LGBQ and transgender people for no other purpose than to discriminate, expel and ban them from campus. It is shameful and wrong."
Windmeyer said a college gets on the "shame list" and specifically the "absolute worst" category by "receiving and/or applying for a Title IX exemption to discriminate against LGBTQ youth" and "demonstrating past history and track record of anti-LGBTQ actions, programs and practices." Not all colleges made the list by requesting a religious exemption. Wheaton, for instance, is on the list for inviting an ex-lesbian, Rosaria Butterfield, to speak to its students, reports Fox News.
An educational institution that is "controlled by a religious organization" may apply for a Title IX exemption if it "would not be consistent with the religious tenets of such organization."
Some of the institutions on the "absolute worst" list included Azusa Pacific University, Biola University, Bob Jones University, East Texas Baptist University, Gordon College, Liberty University and Union University. Half of the campuses on the list are in the Southern region of the United States -- North Carolina, Texas, Tennessee, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana, Kentucky, Mississippi and Arkansas.
Although this is the first time Campus Pride produced this list, it will be updated annually, announced Windmeyer.
Windmeyer told The Christian Post it was not an issue of considering homosexuality a sin. "Notre Dame is one that is not on the list that recognizes its LGBT group and labels homosexuality as a sin. There are numerous other religious campuses not on the list," said Windmeyer.
"However, if a campus like Lancaster Bible College chooses to 'legally' request the right to discriminate against LGBTQ youth and use religion-based bigotry to harm or perpetuate harm toward LGBT youth, then they will be on the Shame List for these 'shameful acts.'"
"Families and young people deserve to know that this list of schools are not loving, welcoming, safe spaces to live, learn and grow -- and taxpayers should definitely not have to pay for a private college to openly discriminate against anyone," said Windmeyer.
Campus Pride staffers recently launched the #LGBTQNotaSin Campaign in partnership with Faith In America. The partnership aim is to remove the stigma of LGBTQ people being considered a sin within the Christian faith as well as bring visibility to LGBTQ-affirming Christians.