Wait! Which religious schools teach what about the moral status of gay sex?

In recent years, I have been amazed -- when reading mainstream religion-news coverage -- to see basic moral and cultural beliefs that have been around in traditional forms of for millennia described as convictions that belong to "evangelical" Protestants, alone.

I understand what is going on when this happens. It's easier to bash away at televangelists for saying that sex outside of marriage is sin, as opposed to noting that these same beliefs have been articulated by popes, Orthodox rabbis, traditional Muslim leaders and others. Evangelical Protestants are popular enemies. The problem is that this presentation skews the facts of history.

Thus, I flinched the other day when I read a Salt Lake City Tribune report, picked up by Religion News service, about a Princeton Review ranking of campuses of higher learning that are opposed to recent trends in gay rights. Here is the top of the story. If you are holding a beverage, please set it aside to protect your screen and keyboard.

SALT LAKE CITY -- Brigham Young University remains one of the most hostile campuses in the country for gay and transgender students, according to an annual college ranking list.
But the private university does not top the list of LGBT-unfriendly schools. In fact, it came in sixth in a list of 10, mostly religious, schools. Grove City College (Grove City, Pa.) a Christian liberal arts school of 2,500 students. and Hampden-Sydney College, an all-male liberal arts college affiliated with the Presbyterian Church in Hampden Sydney Va., came in first and second.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints teaches that same-sex attraction is not a sin, but that acting on it is.

And? And? Isn't that an accurate description of the beliefs of millions and millions of other believers in a host of different traditions? 

I get it that this report originally ran in Salt Lake City. But, honestly, it would not have been very hard to add an additional phrase or two to make this reference more accurate or, at the very least, complete.

The rest of the story is similarly Mormon-centric.

This year’s BYU ranking is especially noteworthy. During the 2015 legislative session, Utah lawmakers, gay-rights advocates and Mormon leaders hammered out an anti-discrimination law that extends housing and employment protections to LGBT people while also safeguarding some religious liberties.
The legislation, which makes it illegal to discriminate against gay and transgender people in some instances, was hailed as a momentous compromise. But it does not apply to every entity in the state. BYU is exempt.
Students at BYU do not have to be Mormons, but they must have an endorsement from a faith leader and also sign the school’s Honor Code.

The BYU website adds:

“A student’s stated same-gender attraction does not preclude them from attending BYU,” the statement reads. “The university welcomes as full members of the university community all whose behavior meets university standards.”
The contract also forbids alcohol and premarital sex, so it’s little surprise the campus of about 30,000 also ranked No. 1 on the list of “stone-cold sober” schools.

That's all good information. However, these facts apply to a wide spectrum of other religious colleges and universities. 

Oh, and check out the list of the Top 10 schools unfriendly to LGBT life and culture. Isn't this an interesting list? 

1. Grove City College, Grove City, Penn.
2. Hampden-Sydney College, Hampden-Sydney, Va.
3. College of the Ozarks, Point Lookout, Mo.
4. Wheaton College, Wheaton, Ill.
5. University of Tennessee in Knoxville
6. Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah
7. Gordon College, Wenham, Mass.
8. Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Mich.
9. Hillsdale College, Hillsdale, Mich.
10. Baylor University, Waco, Texas

Wait a minute. So this poll is saying that Baylor is more LGBT unfriendly than, oh, Houston Baptist University and Dallas Baptist University? The rather progressive folks at Calvin College are more hostile than conservatives at nearby Cornerstone University? The University of Tennessee (!?!) is more hostile than, looking around in the same region, Bob Jones University? 

Eyebrows. Way. Up. Just saying.

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