Evangelical schools challenge UC system’s rejection of courses

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECoach Doc Rivers a “fan” from way back of Jazz’s Jordan Clarkson Tension between evangelical Protestants and higher education isn’t unusual, said Green, who closely follows religious activism. What’s notable, he said, is the question of whether an elite university system will accept students from conservative Christian schools in which parents have invested heavily. Calvary’s supporters say UC is trying to force Christian schools to ditch their scriptural commitments in favor of secular approaches. It’s “pure discrimination against a particular viewpoint,” said Ken Smitherman, president of the Colorado Springs-based Christian schools association, which has 800 member campuses in California. But UC officials say objections are academic, that they have a right to set standards that aren’t met by the science classes and such courses as “Christianity and Morality in American Literature” and “Christianity’s Influence on American History.” “It’s not that we’re trying to prevent students from getting exposure to the ideas in these textbooks,” said Christopher Patti, UC legal counsel. “It’s just that they don’t adequately teach the subject matter, in the view of the faculty.” The questioned textbooks come from Beka Books of Pensacola, Fla., and Bob Jones University Press of Greenville, S.C. BERKELEY – In an unusual clash between creed and curriculum, evangelical day schools are suing the prestigious University of California system, charging that it’s biased against conservative Christian viewpoints. The suit was prompted by UC’s refusal to approve courses at Calvary Chapel Christian School in Murrieta, Calif., where textbooks, among other things, endorse the Bible’s absolute authority and challenge the theory of evolution. Federal District Judge S. James Otero in Los Angeles will rule soon on the university’s motion to kill the lawsuit. If the case proceeds, it will be unique. Neither UC nor the Association of Christian Schools International, Calvary’s partner in the lawsuit, knows of any parallel. “This is potentially a very serious lawsuit,” said University of Akron political scientist John C. Green, that has “important implications for the broader set of relations between religious groups and universities.” 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more