Seminary president Albert Mohler says a new USA Today column labeling Oral Roberts University as “bigoted” should serve as a warning to Christians and faith-based institutions everywhere of the direction society is heading.
The column by USA Today writer Hemal Jhaveri criticized Oral Roberts’ Bible-based policies, including its handbook that says students should avoid “sexual promiscuity,” such as “adultery, any homosexual behavior [and] premarital sex.” Jhaveri said the “university’s deeply bigoted anti-LGBTQ+ policies can’t and shouldn’t be ignored” even if its men’s basketball team has advanced to the NCAA Tournament’s Sweet 16.
Oral Roberts and schools like it, she argued, should not be allowed in the NCAA Tournament and should be booted from the NCAA itself. “Any and all anti-LGBTQ+ language in any school’s policies should ban them from NCAA competition,” she wrote.
Mohler, speaking Thursday on his The Briefing podcast, said the column represents a “huge development” in framing the issue.
“Just imagine the language that was used in this article … and recognize if it's said about Oral Roberts University today, it will be said about you, your school, your church, your organization, your Christian congregation, tomorrow. Count on it,” Mohler said.
The column by Jhaveri, Mohler said, is “an indictment of any Christian college, any Christian university, any institution, any chartered organization, any church and denomination that would dare to stand against, or even against the tide, of the moral revolution.”
Mohler said his own school, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., has a similar code of conduct.
“This is exactly the kind of student conduct statement, the kind of student honor code that you should expect in any legitimately Christian organization,” he said. “You're likely to find a similar policy statement in an institution committed to, say, Orthodox Judaism, or any traditional Roman Catholicism, or for that matter, an Islamic institution.”
Mohler’s podcast was posted alongside the headline, “They’re Coming for Oral Roberts University, And That Means They’re Coming for You Too.”
He expressed concern about the future of Christian schools in the NCAA.
“I think the most dangerous letters when it comes to the continuation of Christian higher education are the letters NCAA, because the NCAA is indeed adopting policies and pointing in directions that will make it impossible for Christian institutions that hold to a biblical standard of morality, or even a biblical definition of male and female, to continue in participation,” Mohler said.
“We're about to find out just how many Christian schools are going to be willing to stand on biblical standards, and those who are determined they have to be members of the NCAA, no matter what,” Mohler added. “In other words, we're about to find out just how many schools are actually serving the cause of sports, and how many are going to serve the cause of Christ.”
Photo courtesy: ©Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.