Creep of the Week: Brent Ellis

By D'Anne Witkowski

Here's a little history lesson: Title IX passed 35 years ago and mandates that males and females be treated equally in education programs that get federal funding. And it solved sex discrimination across the land, the end, amen.

Just kidding. Things are still totally sexist in American education.

But Title IX is better than nothing even if it doesn't level the playing field. In late April of this year, the Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights made clear that the law extended to transgender students.

But what to do if you're, say, a University and you want to keep trans men and women, not to mention unwed mothers and fornicators, the hell off of your campus?

Well, if you're a religious institution, you're in luck! You can apply to the U.S. Department of Education for an exemption from parts of Title IX that you think are particularly icky (a.k.a. against your religion), which is what Spring Arbor University did earlier this year.

In a June 2, 2014 letter, Spring Arbor University President Brent Ellis made the case for why his school should be totally allowed to "discriminate on religious grounds in regard to its students and employees."

According to Ellis, Spring Arbor University "is the largest private, Christian evangelical University in the State of Michigan" and is affiliated with the Free Methodist Church.

"Among the teachings of the Bible and the tenants of the Free Methodist Church followed by the University," Ellis writes, "are that God created two sexes, male and female; that marriage is between one man and one woman; and that extramarital sex, premarital sex, and the practice of homosexuality are sinful behaviors, and therefore prohibited."

He continues, "The University may impose sanctions for behavior which is not in keeping with these standards, including dismissal from the University of termination of employment."

In other words, no trannies, no homos, no sluts, no problem. And anyone who falls into any of those categories can GTFO. Signed, God.

Ellis took a special interest in making clear that the University will, under no circumstances, accept trans students or employees.

"It is the University's position, based upon its religious beliefs taken from Biblical principles and the Doctrine of the Free Methodist Church, that a person cannot change his or her birth sex," Ellis writes. "Although they may undergo surgery or hormone treatments to alter their physical characteristics, only the outward appearance is changed."

He then makes a list of everything trans students would be denied: university housing, places on sports teams, restroom and locker room access.

"That person also would not be eligible for employment with the University," he writes.

But in order to do that, Spring Arbor University needs to be unshackled from the bonds of Title XI.

And, of course, the exemption was granted, because the civil rights of real human beings are nothing compared to an institution's belief in a sky god who hates those people.

What's especially galling is that Ellis is now claiming that Spring Arbor has no plans to discriminate against the students it so specifically sought the right to discriminate against.

"What this allows us to do is instead of the Department of Education telling us how to respond to each one of these issues, we determine as a community of faith committed to the teachings of Christ on how to work with each situation case-by-case just like we do now," he told the Jackson Citizen Patriot. "Just because we have the exemption doesn't mean we will exercise it to its fullest."

Baloney. Think about it: if you no longer had to abide by the speed limit would you say, "I'm going to do it anyway because I'm such a good guy," or would you say, "Hello 55 in a 35!"

"This is not a punitive action," Ellis continued.

Oh, sure. Not punitive at all. Just a big old government-sanctioned F.U. to anyone not good enough for your god. Just ask Julie Nemecek who was fired from Spring Arbor in 2007 after transitioning from male to female.

"We want everyone to know they are welcome, but that we do not affirm every lifestyle choice," he said.

Everyone is not welcome there, clearly. And Spring Arbor has the Title IX exemption to prove it.


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