News

CCCU Statement on the Obergefell v. Hodges Decision’s Impact on Religious Institutions

June 26, 2015
Jeff Kubina, Flickr
Photo by Jeff Kubina, Flickr
WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court’s affirmation of the First Amendment draws from a deep well of precedent that protects free exercise. Free exercise has long been regarded as a fundamental right under the First Amendment, ensuring religious individuals and organizations can exercise their beliefs not only in synagogues, mosques and churches, but also beyond their walls. These full protections for religious individuals and organizations to exercise their beliefs privately and publicly are not diminished by expanded marriage rights.
 
Christian colleges are places where students are taught to be people of integrity, people of character, people who pay back their loans.  They are institutions whose graduates contribute to the public good as artists, health care providers, educators, public servants and entrepreneurs. At the core of this work are deeply held religious beliefs. The Supreme Court’s majority opinion named with respect the plurality of religious beliefs throughout the United States, and specifically affirmed the space in the public square for individuals to have those beliefs and opinions:
“Further, it must be emphasized that religions, and those who adhere to religious doctrines, may continue to advocate with utmost, sincere conviction that, by divine precepts, same-sex marriage should not be condoned. The First Amendment ensures that religious organizations and persons are given proper protection as they seek to teach the principles that are so fulfilling and so central to their lives and faiths, and to their own deep aspirations to continue the family structure they have long revered. The same is true of those who oppose same-sex marriage for other reasons. In turn, those who believe allowing same sex marriage is proper or indeed essential, whether as a matter of religious conviction or secular belief, may engage those who disagree with their view in an open and searching debate.”

It stands to reason, then, that the tax-exempt status and religious hiring rights of religious institutions will be protected when they advance the religious mission of a college or university.

###

The Council for Christian Colleges & Universities is a higher education association of 181 Christian institutions around the world. The 121 member campuses in North America are all regionally accredited, comprehensive colleges and universities with curricula rooted in the arts and sciences and whose missions are Christ-centered and rooted in the historic Christian faith. In addition, 60 affiliate campuses from 19 countries are part of the CCCU. The CCCU mission is to advance the cause of Christ-centered higher education and to help our institutions transform lives by faithfully relating scholarship and service to biblical truth. Visit www.cccu.org.

The Council for Christian Colleges & Universities offers 10 off-campus study programs, collectively branded BestSemester®, which expand learning opportunities for students from CCCU campuses and are designated as culture-shaping or culture-crossing programs. Culture-shaping BestSemester programs are: American Studies Program (Washington, D.C.), Contemporary Music Center (Nashville) and Los Angeles Film Studies Center (Los Angeles). Culture-crossing BestSemester programs are: Australia Studies Centre, China Studies Program, Latin American Studies Program, Middle East Studies Program, Oxford Summer Programme, Scholars’ Semester in Oxford and Uganda Studies Program. Visit www.bestsemester.com for program details.