Professors in an article published at Real Clear Religion revealed that LGBTQ students are actually treated better in Christian Schools than in secular institutions based on survey results - contrary to what is being said against religious schools' treatment of gay students.
The article republished in WND comments on the case filed by the Religious Exemption Accountability Project (REAP) last March against the Department of Education in a move to remove government exemptions given to Christian schools as per Title IX.
The group alleged that "religious exemptions to civil rights statutes come at a price" against the youth who are "vulnerable" and "find themselves at the mercy of religiously affiliated, taxpayer-funded social service and educational institutions that often turn them away or force them into the closet."
"REAP's lawsuit asserts the constitutional and basic human rights of LGBTQ+ students, seeking to end the sexual, physical and psychological abuses perpetrated under the religious exemption to Title IX at thousands of federally-funded schools, colleges and universities across America," REAP explained.
The professors who wrote the article last Friday, Gen Schaerr & Nicholas Miller, are both lawyers. Schaerr teaches law in Utah's Brigham Young University Law School while Miller teaches law at Michigan's Andrews University. The professors pointed out that what REAP claims in the religious exemption lawsuit on as "unconstitutional and harmful to LGBTQ+ students" are "unfair and discriminatory" because it singles out religious schools.
"As professors at Christian institutions, we are very concerned that at all colleges and universities, whether they be public or religious schools, LGBTQ+ students are being inadequately served and supported. We all have a lot to learn in better caring for our LGBTQ+ students, and the Christian college community continues to study how best to do this," they wrote.
"The evidence shows, however, that LGBTQ+ students face similar challenges at secular institutions, and that to single out religious colleges for criticism is itself unfair and discriminatory," Schaerr and Miller pointed out in their article.
The professors cited a survey used by REAP as evidence on their grounds on the "higher rates of harassment, bullying, depression, anxiety, eating disorders, alcohol abuse and sexual and physical violence than their heterosexual and cisgender peers" LGBTQ+ students experience in Christian schools as against in secular institutions.
As per Schaerr and Miller, the survey REAP used was done in partnership with College Pulse, which is basically an organization run by students or recent graduates from Dartmouth University. The professors pointed out that the survey does not disclose who designed the survey and whether counseling professionals were involved in it.
"But even if taken at face value, many of the study's findings undermine and refute the claims asserted in the lawsuit. REAP's numbers, when compared with studies carried out by researchers at major academic institutions, show that LGBTQ+ students face very similar challenges at secular and religious universities. Indeed, in some important categories, LGBTQ+ persons at religious colleges seem to do better than they do at secular universities," Schaerr and Miller stressed.
Schaerr and Miller highlighted that these conclusions are reflective of the 2016 and 2017 surveys conducted by Rutgers University together with the University of Minnesota, UCLA, and Indiana University.
The said surveys when compared show that LGBTQ+ students "often fare better at religious colleges" and "generally do measurably worse" than their heterosexual peers in "both religious and secular/public colleges."
Further, while REAP asserts that "four in ten sexual or gender minority students" are "uncomfortable with their sexual identity on campus" at religious colleges, the Rutgers report reveals that five in ten queer-spectrum students and seven in ten trans-spectrum students do not feel "respected" on their secular, public campuses.
Besides Schaerr and Miller, Christian schools together with Alliance Defending Freedom have already intervened last April in the lawsuit filed by REAP. ADF and its clients have raised that the REAP lawsuit endangers government funding of faith-based organizations through Title IX.