Published August 15, 2011
A North Carolina state university has put out a list of approved "gay friendly" churches for faculty and students raising concerns by at least one professor that taxpayers are inadvertently involved in "telling people where to go to church."
An office with the University of North Carolina's Wilmington campus began circulating the list late last month. It was compiled as part of a broader guide to gay-friendly businesses, nonprofits, health centers and other services in the area.
The "lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, intersex and allied students, faculty, staff, and alumni" office described the document as a "local resource guide" for "lgbt staff and faculty." The head of the sociology department later suggested professors share it with their students.
But Mike Adams, a criminology professor on campus who went from atheist to Christianity, said the university should not be in the business of recommending churches.
"It's just amazing," he told FoxNews.com. "It appears to me to be the height of not just silliness, but government waste."
In the guide, the office listed five Wilmington churches as "gay-friendly religious organizations." Included on the list were a Presbyterian church, a Lutheran church and a Unitarian Universalist congregation.
The LGBT office on campus could not be reached for comment.
But the guide follows a manual put out several years ago by the Georgia Institute of Technology that included summaries of how certain religions and denominations viewed homosexuality. A federal judge in 2008 ordered the religious references to be stripped, declaring the guide implicitly favored some religions over others.
Travis Barham, who worked on the Georgia case as part of the conservative Alliance Defense Fund, which has defended Adams in a court battle with the university over a promotion he claims he was wrongly denied, said he's not sure whether the University of North Carolina Wilmington is in danger of a similar violation.
But Barham questioned whether it was appropriate for the university to put out such a guide.
"Whether they're promoting denominations or whether they're promoting individual churches ... that's not the business of a university," Barham said.
Adams, who wrote about the church guide in an online column Monday, has previously called for the abolition of the LGBT group as well as several other identity-related groups on campus. He said the university guide probably has not crossed the legal line, but the university should stop distributing it anyway.
"If I were to stand up and start recommending churches in the classroom, that would be a serious problem," Adams said, claiming a separate UNC campus took down a broader church guide a few years ago following his objections.