Why Is a Gay-Hating ‘University’ Getting $24,000,000 in Taxpayer Money?

Crandall University in Moncton, New Brunswick (Canada) is a Christian school that used to be called Atlantic Baptist University. As you might expect, they have rules their staff and students must adhere to regarding anything that has to do with sex. In fact, the school’s “Statement of Moral Standards” requires them…

… to be sexually pure, refraining from such activities as adultery, fornication, homosexuality, and the use of pornographic materials; (Exodus 20:14; I Corinthians 6:18-20; Ephesians 5:3)

So if you’re a student who gets caught watching porn, you would be expelled. If you’re a faculty member in a gay relationship, you would be fired.

Your first thought may be, “Well, they’re a Christian school. They can do what they want. I would never go there or work there or support them, but if others want to, that’s their business.”

Here’s the problem: The Canadian government has given them over $24,000,000 in funding over the past several years:

Since 1996, the Christian university, formerly known as Atlantic Baptist University, has benefited from about $24 million in funding from all levels of government, despite the policy.

“If you’re going to use public money, it has to be used for the public,” says Josie Harding of River of Pride — the group that organizes the annual lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT pride week.

“I think (funding) should be cut if they are indeed a public institution and want to enforce this. It’s against human rights law,” she says.

Earlier this month, council passed a long-term grant policy that allows Crandall University to qualify for more funding, despite its anti-homosexual rules.

As it stands, the Canadian Association of University Teachers doesn’t even recognize Crandall as a real university because of its bigoted stance:

“If an institution calls itself a university and imposes an ideological test or a faith test as a condition of being able to be a professor there, we think it’s entirely inappropriate,” CAUT Executive Director James Turk, says.

Reader Matt says his friend made this logo in Crandall’s honor:

Why they’re getting public money to discriminate against the LGBT community, I don’t know. One council member said the school deseves the money because it draws in the “best and brightest minds” in the region — I don’t know how he could possibly say that with a straight face (no pun intended) when every gay and lesbian student and faculty member in Moncton would automatically be kicked out of the running.

But if there’s enough pushback against the Moncton City Council (just to start with), maybe they’ll address the question of why they are voting to give hundreds of thousands of dollars to a discriminatory instutition. Maybe they’ll come to their senses and stop supporting the school altogether, letting other Christian foot the bill for their bigotry-endorsing school.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • MichaelD

    Cause my stupid country’s stupid on seperation of church and state issues.

  • cipher

    Why does a Christian school need $24,000,000 in the first place? How much can it possibly cost to hire people to say, “Goddidit”?

  • http://twitter.com/silo_mowbray Silo Mowbray

    The ‘Why’ is because the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms makes no provision for separation of Church and State. At this point, we’re relying too heavily on what seems (to me) to be a low-grade hostility exhibited by many Canadians against public displays of religiosity. You keep your god-fearing to yourself.

    Disclaimer: I live in a large city in Canada, and expect the experience might be a little different in the rural areas. We have lots of churches in the city, but if you preach fire and brimstone on the street corner my guess is most people will consider you a lunatic.

  • http://www.laughinginpurgatory.com/ Andrew Hall

    Canadians need a wall between faith-based reality (psychosis) and tax dollars.

  • MichaelD

    Apparently some of the courts have ruled the part of the charter about multiculturalism amounts to a separation of church and state. However its not really enforced as often as it should be.

  • Glasofruix

    Why the fuck is it a school’s business about what a student watches, reads or sleeps with in his off school hours. As long as it is legal the school has nothing to say to it.

    I don’t see myself getting kicked out of my establishement just because i have loads of pr0n on my harddrive or because i have a girlfriend i have sex with on a regular basis…

  • Liam

    The “Statement of Moral Standards”  doesn’t apply to students.  It applies solely to faculty and staff.  Still outrageous, but the issue is with hiring practices, not with student behaviour.

  • Guest

    Crandall university is private, not public.

  • Yukimi

    When I was in Toronto I actually saw a couple of those on the street and one specially nuts on the subway XP It was 3 more than I had seen in all my life :P

  • Liam

    True, but they receive significant public funding, which is the issue at hand.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Hemant Mehta

    You’re right. I must have been thrown off by the comments about public money. I’ve made a fix to reflect this.

  • Gus Snarp

    It’s nice to be reminded that our northern neighbors aren’t perfect and that we even have an edge on them in some areas, like having a strong tradition and written law regarding separation of church and state.

  • Bryan

    Canadian Association of University Teachers does not even recognize Crandall as a universit
    But ultimately, this means nothing.  University accreditation is determined by provincial governments.  CAUT is a professional organization of profs and librarians (disclaimer: I am a member); while a major voice in Canadian academics, its opinions do not (directly) impact university activities, nor do they hold any legal standing.

    CAUT is very liberal, so it should be of no surprise they oppose crandals “moral” statement (especially the homosexuality bit).

    There is no formal separation between church & state here in Canada – our guarantee to equality ensures that the government cannot make laws (including funding) which exclude or prefer one faith over another.  But, so long as the mechanisms to receive funding are fair, there is no limitation to which institutions can receive money.

    I’d also point out that the amount of money received, while it seems large, is minute in comparison to what most Canadian universities receive (my uni receives more per year than Crandall has since 1996).  Unlike the US, most of the money supporting Canadian universities is government money (thats one reason why our tuition is so much cheaper).  

    Lastly, I’d point out that complaints are unlikely to affect their funding much (aside, perhaps, from the funding recieved from Moncton itself).  Most provincial/federal funding is allocated on a per-student basis – i.e. the uni receives X dollars for each full-time student.  So, unless the province is convinced to overturn their accreditation, little can be done to turn off the tap.

  • http://www.facebook.com/garry.otton Garry Otton

    SHAME!

  • Bryan

    The “Statement of Moral Standards”  doesn’t apply to students.  It applies solely to faculty and staff
    Which is probably worse than if it applied to the students.  After all, statements like these can (and have) been used by admin to force out, or interfere with the teaching of, “controversial” profs. 

  • Yes

     Tell that to North Carolina.

  • Glasofruix

    I realized that those rules apply to the staff, same shit in a different package.

  • Pastor Whoreface

    Both the Carolinas should just get over it and secede already.

  • Paige

    Not only does Canada not have much in the way of official separation of Church and State, but there’s an attitude of “live and let live” that means most don’t really discuss issues like this unless the news makes a big deal about it. It’s “not polite” to talk about religion. And we don’t have any large-impact atheist/secular organisations that make a stink about issues like this.

    So yes. The US tends to have more extreme attitudes in both directions, but that’s not always worse.

  • Seniord60

    Asking people to refrain from something does not constitute hate. If you told your child to not talk to strangers, does that mean that you hate strangers. the statement also talks about adultery and fornication. Are these things unique to the glbt community? They aren’t. 

  • Alf_gotcat

    Are you retarded?

  • Thinking Enigma

    My school has the same policy (almost verbatim actually) and we get a ton of govt. money as well. I don’t see why we are singling out a school in Canada when we have the same thing happening all over the US.

  • http://nadiawilliams.wordpress.com/ Nadia Williams

    Just sent the council this letter:

    Canada has a reputation as a progressive, tolerant nation with a healthy
    respect for human rights. I was therefore quite shocked to read that
    taxpayers are forced to support an institution which blatantly violates
    basic human rights by requiring their students and staff adhere to
    archaic demands. Your defence of this action is apparently that this
    institution draws in the ‘best and brightest minds’. I’m not sure how
    you can say that of an organisation which would turn away such great
    names as Tchaikovsky, Oscar Wilde, Colette Valentino, Gertrude Stein,
    and others passing this institution by which are not yet in our history
    books. The only part Crandall will perhaps play in the as yet unknown
    names’ biographies one day is a brief mention of being crossed off the
    list of possible places of learning, in favour of another university
    which at that future time will list this rejected mind among its
    prestigious alumni.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=532665943 Leoal Nelson

    What I wonder is why nations like US with strict separation of church and state have so many religious people…. nations like Canada with fuzzy separation of church and state have fewer, and nations such as UK and Scandinavian countries with actual state religions have hardly any. I wonder what the reasons for that would be?

  • scienticien

    I wonder the same thing too! I think it’s a gradual irrelevance thing. People stop going and caring and the church just fades into the background, state endorsed or not. I think Canada is going that way as well.

  • Sherry H.

    The policy applies only to employees, not students, and it requires a code of conduct — it does not address actual orientation. In addition, the quote above is outdated, as the policy was updated more than a year ago.
    Also, Turk’s comment is about another issue entirely, and it makes no mention of Crandall’s recognition as a university. In fact, CAUT would have a serious problem with your comments.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jessica-Barnett/100000909885993 Jessica Barnett


    Asking people to refrain from something does not constitute hate” No but threatening (and acting on) to kick someone out because they have a different lifestyle does!

  • Crandall Grad

    I’m a graduate of this college (’01), I’m female, and I’m married to a woman. Just to get that out of the way. 

    I think what others have said about the lack of separation of church and state in Canada is worth repeating. I also want to reiterate that the policy does indeed apply only to staff. 

    That said, I was active in raising controversy in the school around the issue, was pretty “out” while I was there, and still have great relationships with a lot of people from the institution – both faculty/staff and alumni. 

    I have no doubts about the quality of the education. I’m not trying to justify the policy here, but I really must reiterate how open, academically, the school is about dissent. I was never penalized for having opposing views to official policy. The admin and the academics have a nice wall between them. 

    There are, and probably always have been, gays of varying “outness” working there in different roles, although some are so deep in the closet they probably don’t know they’re really in Narnia. 

    What I find so offensive about the policy is that it is, in my opinion, incredibly un-academic. It takes a stance and hasn’t updated it in light of recent scholarship. I would love to see an open debate on the issue, using theology and the bible as the proof. Honestly, I don’t think the position is theologically sound, and it needs to come to light. However, pushes from the outside are only going to make people become defensive and dig in their heels. If you want change, you need to coax it. If you just want to rant about homophobic bible-thumpers, keep at it.


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