Isn’t There Supposed to Be ‘Separation of Church and State?’

 

Well, in Washington State, the State has indicated that it is interfering with the operation of a religious college, because some students and faculty do not approve of some of the sect’s restrictions on their behavior.

Seattle Pacific University was started in the 1800s as a Seminary for the Free Methodists.  Eventually, it gave up the seminary part and became a college, private and sectarian.  The Free Methodists disapprove of homosexuality, and homosexual behavior is prohibited to faculty, staff, and students.  Before attending or working at the college, everyone signs a pledge to that effect.

We all know that Washington State is on the bleeding edge of blue, with its holy sacrament of Abortion, and a law protecting homosexual behavior and “marriage” that was passed before the Supreme Court made it universal.  The Attorney General has announced that he is opening a civil rights investigation of Seattle Pacific University, due to complaints by students and faculty that they are being discriminated against because of their homosexual behavior.  And they complain, regardless of the demonstrable fact that they all signed the pledge not to engage in such behavior when they started.

As is usual for Leftists, church and State must be hard-separated, except when it interferes with their chosen behavior; then, the long arm of the State is very happy to engage with religion, to the detriment of religion.  If I am not mistaken, there have already been Supreme Court decisions allowing religious institutions to make their own sets of rules for their employees and students; states have already had their hands slapped when trying to apply non-discrimination regulations to religious entities.  Yet Bob Ferguson has embarked on his civil-rights investigation, to make SPU allow behavior that is abhorrent to it.

What a waste of money!  Now SPU must defend itself against the charges, and attempt to impress the Leftist State with arguments that it is allowed to have its own rules, and those objectors can simply quit their jobs or choose another university with different values.  And we taxpayers are paying for this!

Published in Religion & Philosophy
This post was promoted to the Main Feed by a Ricochet Editor at the recommendation of Ricochet members. Like this post? Want to comment? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Join Ricochet for Free.

There are 25 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    RushBabe49: Well, in Washington State, the State has indicated that it is interfering with the operation of a religious college, because some students and faculty do not approve of some of the sect’s restrictions on their behavior.

    Then they shouldn’t have enrolled/accepted employment there then.

    • #1
  2. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    “Your Honor, I seek relief from a situation which I knowingly and freely entered …”

    “Get out of my courtroom. Next!”

    • #2
  3. Postmodern Hoplite Coolidge
    Postmodern Hoplite
    @PostmodernHoplite

    These actions by the State of Washington against Seattle Pacific University ought to surprise no one. This has been predicted since Obergefell, and the Progressives who run WA have made no secret of their desire to bring churches to heel.

    • #3
  4. Django Member
    Django
    @Django

    Percival (View Comment):

    “Your Honor, I seek relief from a situation which I knowingly and freely entered …”

    “Get out of my courtroom. Next!”

    I hope it plays out that way!

    • #4
  5. Clavius Thatcher
    Clavius
    @Clavius

    Postmodern Hoplite (View Comment):

    These actions by the State of Washington against Seattle Pacific University ought to surprise no one. This has been predicted since Obergefell, and the Progressives who run WA have made no secret of their desire to bring churches to heel.

    So do they keep Mosques to heel?

    • #5
  6. Postmodern Hoplite Coolidge
    Postmodern Hoplite
    @PostmodernHoplite

    Clavius (View Comment):

    Postmodern Hoplite (View Comment):

    These actions by the State of Washington against Seattle Pacific University ought to surprise no one. This has been predicted since Obergefell, and the Progressives who run WA have made no secret of their desire to bring churches to heel.

    So do they keep Mosques to heel?

    You’re kidding, right? Muslims are oppressed peoples, who have suffered centuries of unjust discrimination at the hands of white colonizers. Mosques are protected spaces, where the loving ministrations of the Religion of Peace are available to all. 

    • #6
  7. Clavius Thatcher
    Clavius
    @Clavius

    Postmodern Hoplite (View Comment):

    Clavius (View Comment):

    Postmodern Hoplite (View Comment):

    These actions by the State of Washington against Seattle Pacific University ought to surprise no one. This has been predicted since Obergefell, and the Progressives who run WA have made no secret of their desire to bring churches to heel.

    So do they keep Mosques to heel?

    You’re kidding, right? Muslims are oppressed peoples, who have suffered centuries of unjust discrimination at the hands of white colonizers. Mosques are protected spaces, where the loving ministrations of the Religion of Peace are available to all.

    Indeed

    • #7
  8. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Clavius (View Comment):

    Postmodern Hoplite (View Comment):

    Clavius (View Comment):

    Postmodern Hoplite (View Comment):

    These actions by the State of Washington against Seattle Pacific University ought to surprise no one. This has been predicted since Obergefell, and the Progressives who run WA have made no secret of their desire to bring churches to heel.

    So do they keep Mosques to heel?

    You’re kidding, right? Muslims are oppressed peoples, who have suffered centuries of unjust discrimination at the hands of white colonizers. Mosques are protected spaces, where the loving ministrations of the Religion of Peace are available to all.

    Indeed

    Only if your knowledge of history doesn’t track back any further than World War I.

    • #8
  9. RushBabe49 Thatcher
    RushBabe49
    @RushBabe49

    There would have to be a Muslim college with anti-homosexual rules, but I don’t think there are any in the US, at least not yet.  It would make an interesting test, however.

    • #9
  10. Vance Richards Member
    Vance Richards
    @VanceRichards

    The few SPU students and faculty I met while living in Queen Anne (over 20 years ago), didn’t strike me as overly Christian. I even remember asking one guy who went there, “Are you sure it is a Christian school?”

    And it is the students and faculty who made the complaints against the school. So, I guess no one at the school ever took that part too seriously. Still, you agreed to attend/work for a college that required you to sign a statement of faith. The state has no right being involved. If they can do this to a school, they can do it to a church.

    • #10
  11. The Great Adventure Coolidge
    The Great Adventure
    @TGA

    Vance Richards (View Comment):

    The few SPU students and faculty I met while living in Queen Anne (over 20 years ago), didn’t strike me as overly Christian. I even remember asking one guy who went there, “Are you sure it is a Christian school?”

    And it is the students and faculty who made the complaints against the school. So, I guess no one at the school ever took that part too seriously. Still, you agreed to attend/work for a college that required you to sign a statement of faith. The state has no right being involved. If they can do this to a school, they can do it to a church.

    I’m sure the same could be said about many regular church-goers.  My son received his Bachelors in Theology and Educational Ministry and his Masters of Divinity at SPU.  We’ve met many of the faculty members of the School of Theology and they strike me as very intelligent, thoughtful, and earnest people.  We’ve never had a political discussion with any of them, so I really have no idea where their positions are, but to a person I believe they are people of faith.

    • #11
  12. Ekosj Member
    Ekosj
    @Ekosj

    Technically, “separation of Church and State” isn’t in the Constitution.   That stricture only appears in Jefferson’s personal writing.   What the Constitution says is :

    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion” (the Establishment Clause) “or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” (the Free Exercise Clause). 

    Washington seems to be on the wrong side of the Free Exercise clause.

    • #12
  13. The Scarecrow Thatcher
    The Scarecrow
    @TheScarecrow

    RushBabe49 (View Comment):

    There would have to be a Muslim college with anti-homosexual rules, but I don’t think there are any in the US, at least not yet. It would make an interesting test, however.

    It would never get to court. The Muslims would just throw the complainer off the roof of the mosque.

    • #13
  14. Full Size Tabby Member
    Full Size Tabby
    @FullSizeTabby

    Increasingly the Left interprets “separation of church and state” to mean the opposite of what Thomas Jefferson and others of the country’s founding generation meant.

    The founding generation meant that the government would not tell the church (and presumably the church’s members) how to be the church. And by implication no single church would dictate to the government how the government should operate. But they assumed that the church and the churches’ members were free to use their influence to push government policies. As exemplified by the most famous letter from Thomas Jefferson to a Baptist congregation, the concept was that the government would not interfere with minority religious groups (at the time Baptists were politically disfavored and generally not prominent in the political, social, and economic circles of the powerful).

    But to the Left now, “separation of church and state” means no one associated with a church can influence government policy, but the government can tell the church and the church’s members (including affiliated organizations now that we have more ways for people to form associations) how to conduct their church and religious affairs. The separation operates in one way only, and opposite to the original.

    • #14
  15. Ekosj Member
    Ekosj
    @Ekosj

    Ekosj (View Comment):

    Technically, “separation of Church and State” isn’t in the Constitution. That stricture only appears in Jefferson’s personal writing. What the Constitution says is :

    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion” (the Establishment Clause) “or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” (the Free Exercise Clause).

    Washington seems to be on the wrong side of the Free Exercise clause.

    Jefferson was rather a-religious … maybe even anti organized religion.   His private view of strict separation of Church and State reflect that.   

    • #15
  16. Vance Richards Member
    Vance Richards
    @VanceRichards

    The Great Adventure (View Comment):

    Vance Richards (View Comment):

    The few SPU students and faculty I met while living in Queen Anne (over 20 years ago), didn’t strike me as overly Christian. I even remember asking one guy who went there, “Are you sure it is a Christian school?”

    And it is the students and faculty who made the complaints against the school. So, I guess no one at the school ever took that part too seriously. Still, you agreed to attend/work for a college that required you to sign a statement of faith. The state has no right being involved. If they can do this to a school, they can do it to a church.

    I’m sure the same could be said about many regular church-goers. My son received his Bachelors in Theology and Educational Ministry and his Masters of Divinity at SPU. We’ve met many of the faculty members of the School of Theology and they strike me as very intelligent, thoughtful, and earnest people. We’ve never had a political discussion with any of them, so I really have no idea where their positions are, but to a person I believe they are people of faith.

    I would hope the theology department at a Christian school was Christian but what about the rest of the school?

    Before my wife and I were married, someone suggested we get pre-marital counseling at SPU, because it is Christian. During the first meeting I asked the women if we could pray and the counselor  looked really nervous. Eventually she offer up a prayer to a generic “Higher Power” (her words). We didn’t have a second meeting.

    Then when I took a second job working the One-Hour photo at Bartell’s, I had a student bring in her naked pictures. The thing was, the photos came out of the machine facing towards the counter and it was a customer who noticed them first. From the poses, I’m pretty sure these weren’t for art class. My point is just, if you make people sign a statement of faith, there should be some follow up (mandatory chapel, etc.).

    • #16
  17. Doug Watt Moderator
    Doug Watt
    @DougWatt

    There seems to be some confusion with “rights”. You have the right to seek employment, but you do not have the right to compel an organization or individual to employ you. You do not have the right to demand that an employer change their standards to conform to your personal beliefs. You do have the right to leave a company that may offend you.

    I would suggest that if you must be employed by the woke with woke policies, I would suggest seeking employment with your DMV or any other government employer.

    • #17
  18. E. Kent Golding Member
    E. Kent Golding
    @EKentGolding

    Clavius (View Comment):

    Postmodern Hoplite (View Comment):

    These actions by the State of Washington against Seattle Pacific University ought to surprise no one. This has been predicted since Obergefell, and the Progressives who run WA have made no secret of their desire to bring churches to heel.

    So do they keep Mosques to heel?

    No,  because their adherents are. very willing to kill.

    • #18
  19. Fritz Coolidge
    Fritz
    @Fritz

    It is true that WA’s execrable AG Ferguson announced the start of his investigation, but SPU immediately went on offense, and filed a federal suit against the AG, alleging his threatened action violates the University’s free exercise of religion and is improper interference with a religious institution.

    Will be most interesting to see how this goes.

    • #19
  20. Rodin Member
    Rodin
    @Rodin

    RushBabe49 (View Comment):

    There would have to be a Muslim college with anti-homosexual rules, but I don’t think there are any in the US, at least not yet. It would make an interesting test, however.

    Add Muslims to the SPU governing board and see what happens?

    • #20
  21. DaveSchmidt Coolidge
    DaveSchmidt
    @DaveSchmidt

    Rodin (View Comment):

    RushBabe49 (View Comment):

    There would have to be a Muslim college with anti-homosexual rules, but I don’t think there are any in the US, at least not yet. It would make an interesting test, however.

    Add Muslims to the SPU governing board and see what happens?

    That might be a “cure” worse than the disease.  

    • #21
  22. db25db Lincoln
    db25db
    @db25db

    This is interesting because my wife and her sisters are graduates of SPU.  They are all quite conservative.  However, literally everyone else I’ve met from there are woke progressives.  Down the line.   I’d have never known this school had these rules.

    • #22
  23. DaveSchmidt Coolidge
    DaveSchmidt
    @DaveSchmidt

    db25db (View Comment):

    This is interesting because my wife and her sisters are graduates of SPU. They are all quite conservative. However, literally everyone else I’ve met from there are woke progressives. Down the line. I’d have never known this school had these rules.

    There is a really competitive scramble to be admitted to the cool kids group.  

    • #23
  24. oddhan Member
    oddhan
    @oddhan

    Clavius (View Comment):

    Postmodern Hoplite (View Comment):

    These actions by the State of Washington against Seattle Pacific University ought to surprise no one. This has been predicted since Obergefell, and the Progressives who run WA have made no secret of their desire to bring churches to heel.

    So do they keep Mosques to heel?

    Funny you mention that. Mosques don’t come up often, but about twenty years ago a group of Muslims tried to enforce sharia over several blocks of Seattle. The locals complained and the police and city cleaned it up. SPU however is a very public, very well known, local institution and as such is an obvious target. Better to purge all believers than have a truly diverse community. 

    • #24
  25. oddhan Member
    oddhan
    @oddhan

    The distinct different handling how how the state deals with SPU versus Evergreen college with its openly racist and hostile atmosphere is telling. I hope SPU can point to the disparate enforcement on civil rights abuses and get the State laughed out of court. 

    • #25
Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.