I GREW UP dazzled by NBA champion Kobe Bryant taking over games and redefining precision—I could never look away when he was on the court. But the sexual assault accusations brought against him in 2003 are as much a part of Bryant’s legacy as the night he dropped 81 points on the Toronto Raptors.
Domestic violence and sexual assault cast a long shadow over athletics, as much in Christian colleges as in secular universities or professional sports. Christian colleges should be held to a higher standard, however, because they have a gospel mission to shape disciples and protect the vulnerable, not just trade in talent.
That’s why I was dismayed in November when Liberty University (“Training Champions for Christ since 1971”) hired Ian McCaw as its new athletic director. McCaw resigned from Baylor University last year after he was sanctioned and placed on probation for his role in a widespread sexual assault scandal. The investigation into McCaw’s negligence led an independent law firm to release “scathing findings” of an “overall perception that football was above the rules,” and a complete lack of a “culture of accountability for misconduct.”
Liberty President Jerry Falwell Jr.’s response? McCaw’s tenure at Baylor “fits perfectly with where we see our sports programs going.”
Professional sports are notorious for an institutional failure to hold sports figures accountable and to believe, respect, and protect victims of physical and sexual violence by those same figures. The NFL famously prioritizes player talent over women’s safety and imposes punishment to offenders unevenly—an inconsistency that often has a racialized narrative.
A bill wending its way through the California Legislature would limit religious colleges’ ability to claim an exemption from federal Title IX regulations that bar discrimination against LGBT students and faculty.
Only schools that prepare students for pastoral ministry would be allowed the religious exemption under California Senate Bill 1146 — which passed the state Senate in May and is scheduled for a hearing in the state Assembly on June 30.
Students at Biola University and Oklahoma Baptist University assembled Feb. 9 in order to protest their colleges’ requests to be exempt from Title IX requirements that prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. As many as 60 Christian schools have submitted similar requests since 2014, when the Justice Department announced that Title IX protections extended to transgender students.
An influx of requests from Christian universities for the right to discriminate on the basis of gender identity have flooded the Department of Education. As many as sixty Christian schools have submitted requests for Title IX waivers since 2014, when the Department of Education announced their protections were inclusive of transgender students. Before this clarification, only a handful of universities had asked for such waivers in the 40-plus years since Title IX was established in 1972. But the decision to extend protections to transgender students has prompted dozens of Christian schools request these waivers.
Happy Christmas in July! Read this excerpt of the much-anticipated Go Set a Watchman — due to be released on Tuesday. Or listen to the chapter, featuring narration by Reese Witherspoon, over at The Guardian.
"I humbly ask forgiveness, not only for the offenses of the church herself, but also for crimes committed against the native peoples during the so-called conquest of America."
So there’s this, from the Upshot: "Research from the University of Washington found that a Google Images search for ‘C.E.O.’ produced 11 percent women, even though 27 percent of United States chief executives are women. (On a recent search, the first picture of a woman to appear, on the second page, was the C.E.O. Barbie doll.)"
Unfortunately, sexual violence on college campuses is a widespread reality. As many as 20-25 percent of women will face attempted or completed assault over the course of their college tenure. Contrary to popular myths about “stranger-danger,” 9-in-10 of those victims will know their attacker.
When I applied for a job at CNN in the 90s, and told the interviewer that I had interned with an evangelical magazine called Christianity Today, his response was, "If it's Christian, it isn't journalism."
Over the years that expanded to, "If it's evangelical, it's Republican. Or Jerry Falwell. Pat Robertson. The Tea Party. Wrapped in a Patriotic Flag. White People. Derivative, cheesy music. Big Money. Big Hair." Fill in the rest of the blanks.
Are those labels a distortion of what it means to be an evangelical? Of course they are. Yet they are how evangelicals are perceived, rightly or wrongly (I personally think it's a mixture of both), in our society.
Imagine for a minute the fallout were a Muslim high school in America to choose for its mascot "the Jihadists."
In that light, how do you think Muslims (or Jews) view Christian schools whose mascot is "the Crusaders?"