The University of North Carolina's Wilmington campus is catching the wrath of at least one professor after the school's LGBT office began circulating a list of recommended "gay friendly" churches for students and faculty, alike.
These houses of worship were assembled as part of a larger guide that provides students with information on gay-friendly businesses, non-profits, health care providers and the like. While faculty and students in search of this information will surely be glad to find it compiled in one place, some see the manual's creation as an inappropriate breach of church and state.
Mike Adams, a criminology professor at the college, doesn't think the university should be disseminating church recommendations to students. This factoid is particularly interesting because Adams is an atheist-turned-Christian and the college in question is a public institution.
Adams' argument is one that can typically be heard by those opposing the intermingling of faith and government (many times these individuals happen to be atheists). In an interview with FoxNews.com, Adams said, "It's just amazing. It appears to me to be the height of not just silliness, but government waste." In a column for TownHall.com on Monday, he wrote:
...our LGBTQIA Office...investigate[s] and then endorse churches based on their stance on homosexuality. And they print lists of approved gay-friendly churches using official university letter-head. Then they circulate their approved church list on state-owned computers to other state employees who then recommend the approved churches to their students.
This isn't the first time a guide like this has arisen. A few years ago, Georgia Institute of Technology created something similar (a document that described how various religions and Christian denominations viewed homosexuality). In 2008, a federal judge ruled that the religious references needed to be stripped out, as the guide was seen as favoring some faith systems over others. To drive his point home, Adams says:
"If I were to stand up and start recommending churches in the classroom, that would be a serious problem."
Below, watch a video that provides more information on the campus office that distributed the manual:
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/v/1Chb_m4zWOs?version=3&hl=en_US expand=1]
Certainly, Adams' opinion will be shared by many others. But, it should be noted that there may be valid reasons for the campus office's inclusion of local churches. After all, regardless of whether the school is public or private, there are individuals within its walls who attend churches and, thus, would find this information beneficial. One wonders, though: Are other church lists available to students as well?
Some, like Adams, will charge that the wall of separation requires that campus offices don't make any religious recommendations. It's a sticky situation, especially considering the fact that this is a campus group representing a minority sect -- something that likely adds extra layers of angst on both sides of the debate.