leadership

Duke Student Government Senate votes to table a motion to recognize Duke Young Life until it can provide more information about treatment of LGBTQ+ members [#DukeStudent #YoungLife #ChristianOrganization]

Duke Student Government Senate voted Wednesday, September 18, 2019 night to table a motion to recognize Duke Young Life until the group can provide more information about its treatment of LGBTQ+ members.

Young Life, a national Christian organization that already has a presence on Duke’s campus, requested official recognition so that they could hold on-campus meetings.

However, senators took issue with the national organization’s policy denying leadership positions to LGBTQ+ individuals.

“They don’t have a non-discimination clause in their constitution; they have a discrimination clause.”
– Senator Jackson Kennedy, a sophomore

Duke student government rejects Christian group over LGBTQ policy:
NBCNews.com

Duke Student Government Senate declines to recognize Young Life as an official Duke student group [#DukeStudentGovernmentSenate #YoungLife #ChristianOrganization]

Duke Student Government Senate unanimously declined to recognize Young Life as an official Duke student group at its Wednesday, September 11, 2019 meeting.

Young Life is a national Christian organization that has branches serving middle and high school students in Durham and Chapel Hill in North Carolina.

The group had requested official recognition to recruit and support a greater number of students, as it already has a following on campus.

But Young Life was rebuffed over concerns about the national organization’s policies concerning LGBTQ+ leaders.

At last week’s DSG meeting, senators noted that the national organization’s rule barring LGBTQ+ individuals from leadership positions violates the Student Organization Finance Committee’s guideline that every Duke student group include a nondiscrimination statement in its constitution.

The Senate then tabled the vote to give Young Life members the chance to speak to senators at this week’s meeting.

According to Young Life’s sexual misconduct policy, “we do not in any way wish to exclude persons who engage in sexual misconduct or who practice a homosexual lifestyle from being recipients of ministry of God’s grace and mercy as expressed in Jesus Christ. We do, however, believe that such persons are not to serve as staff or volunteers in the mission and work of Young Life.”

DSG rejects Christian organization Young Life as chartered student group:
Duke Chronicle

Spearmint Rhino Gentlemen’s Club Transformed to Ozaukee Christian School in Trenton, Wisconsin [#SpearmintRhino #OzaukeeChristianSchool #TrentonWisconsin]

The site of a shuttered strip club in Wisconsin is being transformed into “a place of life and light and hope and joy” as it eventually becomes a Christian school, part of which will be opened later September 2019.

The former Spearmint Rhino Gentlemen’s Club, located in a strip mall in Trenton, Wisconsin roughly 40 miles north of Milwaukee, will soon open as the Ozaukee Christian School.

Officials purchased the strip mall in 2019 and plan to make what used to be a strip club into a place for education — in “a story only God could write.”

Ozaukee Christian School is thrilled to announce it is moving to a new building, taking over a former strip club in the Town of Trenton. We reached an agreement to purchase the property from California-based Spearmint Rhino and hope to occupy the building in time for the start of the 2019-2020 school year.

The unusual building conversion is an answer to prayer that ends a years-long search for a building to call our own.

OCS — a non-denominational Christian school founded in 1990 — has leased several locations over the years. We’ve partnered with Portview Christian Church in Port Washington, Friedens Church in Port Washington, and most recently with St. John XXIII in Saukville for the last 19 years.

“We have felt God leading us to a building of our own that will allow us to grow, to expand our ability to work with special needs children and to reach more families in Washington County, all the while maintaining strong ties with our families in Ozaukee County,” said Kris Austin, OCS Administrator.
The property will allow us to do all this and more. We are purchasing a strip mall that includes the former Spearmint Rhino Gentlemen’s Club that we will renovate into classrooms, offices, a cafeteria and a multi-purpose room. This initial phase will allow us to serve 125 students, double our current enrollment. Future additions will include a gym with stage and locker rooms, and a new classroom wing, allowing growth up to 250 students.

“God has given the leadership of OCS a big vision for growth while providing us what we need for each step of this project,” said Dave Swartz, OCS Board President.
We are trusting God to provide the funds for this project, just as He cleared the way for us to buy this building. We have raised $425,000 so far and are seeking a total of $2.2 million to complete the purchase and initial renovation of the property.

How It Came to Be

After looking at over 80 different properties, several school leaders became independently aware the property in January 2017, and after visiting the site we felt it could be a great fit. We reached out to Spearmint but were initially told they weren’t interested in selling. In July 2017, however, the company reached out and offered to sell the building. We began meeting with architects and contractors to determine how this property could fit the school’s needs. After completing preliminary plans, we launched an initial fundraising drive in April 2018 to gain support for this project. In the meantime, we have done prayer walks at the property with staff, parents and alumni. Students regularly gathered to pray for the process along with a group of 140 “email prayer warriors” doing the same.

After months of phone conversations, emails and the abundant prayers of God’s people, we were blessed with a signed purchase offer. We have enjoyed getting to know Mr. Peter Garrell (attorney for Spearmint) and Ms. Joann Castillo (senior executive assistant) over these many months — and praying with them as well. It is a journey unlike anything we could have imagined. It is a story that only God could write.

Wisconsin Christian school to open at site of former strip club:
Fox News

Jace Taylor says he was struggling with being gay. Then, the Bellingham teenager in Washington State finally came out with the support of his family. But now, he says another kind of family turned their backs on him because of his sexuality.

“I was terminated based on my sexual orientation which was found out by social media.”
– Jace Taylor.

According to the 18-year-old, Jace Taylor, he was terminated after being hired by THE FIRS to be a Fir Creek camp counselor.

“At first I wanted to bawl my eyes out because all of my life I’ve wanted to work as a Fir Creek camp counselor and make an impact in their lives like they did when I was younger,”
– Jace Taylor

According to the teenager, the Christian non-profit organization had a big impact on his life growing up.

“They made me feel loved, they made me feel accepted especially by God and Christ.”
– Jace Taylor

Now he says he feels betrayed by the people who knew him well, including the manager who let him go on Tuesday.

“He had a really hard time saying it, I could tell he was struggling with it. He’s a really good family friend with us, he basically watched me grow up to this point.”
– Jace Taylor

The non-denominational Christian organization confirmed that it was the sexuality of Taylor that ended his employment opportunity.

According to its Executive Director Tom Beaumont, “When it became evident in the application process that [Taylor] did not personally align with our statements of faith (in particular, one regarding sexuality) we determined we could not use him in this role.”

For Taylor, the sadness has now turned into anger.

“I am still in shock, this whole thing seems unreal. This can happen, I hear stories about it all over the world; never thought it could happen to me.”
– Jace Taylor

Under state law, an employer cannot discriminate against anyone based on sexual orientation. But according to legal experts, non-profit religious organizations are technically exempt from that law.

And legal experts also say similar cases have led to legal fights across the country.

Here is the full statement from Tom Beaumont:

“We are a faith-based organization whose mission is not only to love kids but to introduce them to a God who loves them as well. A God that we feel reveals Himself primarily in the Bible. This, then, is what we are all about. We seek to accomplish this mission through our programs within the context of approved Statements of Faith which are approved by our Board of Directors and in our organizational by-laws. They represent what we believe and who we are.

In order for us to carry our mission out we hire young leaders each summer and we call them summer staff. Some of them are counselors. It is critical that we hire people who are committed to our mission and to these statements of faith. These folks are extremely important to us, we care deeply for them and they are at the point of what we do.

Just recently we extended an invitation for a young man well known and loved at The Firs to serve as a counselor of children at Fircreek Day Camp. (He had previously been employed by us in a non-leadership role.) When it became evident in the application process that he did not personally align with our statements of faith (in particular, one regarding sexuality) we determined we could not use him in this role.

Our quandary was this. In order to be consistent to our beliefs and our mission we felt compelled to pass on someone we truly liked in filling this counselor role. I sincerely wish this was otherwise. I know this may be confusing and contrary to other’s beliefs. The leadership of The Firs will continue to seek the appropriate means to carry out our mission in the context of a changing world.”

Bellingham teen let go as camp counselor by Christian organization because he is gay:
Q13 Fox All Local

The University of Colorado, Colorado Springs settled a lawsuit brought by a student Christian apologetics group alleging its religious freedom had been violated when the university tried to dictate the makeup of the group’s leaders.

Ratio Christi sued the public university, alleging its officials refused to formally recognize the group as a campus organization based on its top members’ “expression and religious beliefs.”

Beginning in 2016, Ratio Christi was denied formal recognition by the university due to the group’s requirement that its leaders must “share and personally hold Christian beliefs.”

According to the settlement, Ratio Christi will receive registered status on campus and University of Colorado, Colorado Springs will pay the group over $20,500 in attorneys’ fees and damages.

Further, the university has agreed to update its policies to ensure that a student club may “require its leadership to promote the purposes of the club and hold beliefs consistent with the group’s mission.”

“We commend the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs for quickly implementing this common sense policy reform.”
– Alliance for Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Travis Barham, who filed the lawsuit on Ratio Christi’s behalf.

“It would be absurd for the university to require the vegan student group to appoint a meat-lover as its president. Thankfully, the university has acknowledged its error and announced a policy that respects students’ rights to free association, no longer forcing Christian students to let atheists or other non-Christians to lead their Bible studies in order to become a registered club.”
– Travis Barham in a written statement.

Student Christian group earns right to pick its leaders in legal settlement with university:
The College Fix

Religious Freedom Victory: Christian Club Won’t Be Forced to Let Atheists Teach Bible:
CBN News