Live from Music Row Thursday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – Leahy was joined in studio by all-star panelist Dr. Carol Swain to discuss David Lipscomb Academy’s stray from biblical principles.
During the second segment, Leahy and Swain discussed Lipscomb University’s faculty changes in response to the outcry by parents from David Lipscomb’s K-12 academy claiming that it has deviated from its Christian principles. Swain added that the real concern was that biblical principles were not being taught and were being substituted by a divisive curriculum and a new racial agenda.
Leahy: We are joined this morning by our friend and all-star panelist. Former Vanderbilt and Princeton professor and native of Virginia, Carol Swain. Good morning Carol.
Swain: Good morning.
Leahy: Well, we have more things to talk about this morning than we have time to talk about. All sorts of things breaking. I wanted to sort of change the topic to something that you have been following and brought to my attention about what’s going on at David Lipscomb University and Academy.
It’s a Christian school here in Nashville. Founded in the 1890s or early 1900s. So there’s a college here David Lipscomb. And then they have a K-12 school David Lipscomb Academy. They’re going politically correct on us, Carol. Bring our listeners up to speed on what’s happening there.
Swain: First off, the University has moved in the politically correct leftist direction for a long time. And I think that started with Randall Lowery.
Leahy: Now, he’s the president, right?
Swain: He’s the president of Lipscomb University. And now it’s seeped down into the academy. So it’s creating a lot of confusion and angst among the parents who are paying top dollars to send their children to a Christian school. And the whole situation now with the academy is that parents became concerned when the university hired an intercultural diversity officer.
Leahy: This is a Christian university that thinks that they need an intercultural diversity officer?
Swain: And it’s not just that. And I want to make it clear. Nashville Scene has written two articles about this. The parents are concerned more than that there is a diversity officer. They were concerned about assignments that children were being given pushing the critical race theory. White oppressor.
Leahy: White privilege? That kind of stuff?
Swain: White oppressor. The minority of victimization. And I agree with the parents that that’s not really appropriate for a Christian institution because as Christians the Bible is very clear about that all identity should be in Christ. And the whole diversity regime. The way that the offices are trained. They promote division.
They don’t promote unity. And they also cause division between and among the children because the children who are not racialized the most part they’re just going about doing their lives. All of a sudden they’re being taught in a way or indoctrinated so that they look at their classmates differently.
So that’s part of it. But the university responded. There’s been a statement from the board that they are reassigning two of the top leaders at the academy.
Leahy: So we do have this from yesterday morning in the Nashville Scene. I’ll just read this. An article by Alejandro Ramirez. And I’ll just read the article. On Tuesday night, Lipscomb Academy told parents via email that the head of school will be stepping down. The email copies that were attained from the scene also list key takeaways from the 11 town halls that were held for parents in January.
Greg Glenn who has been the head of schools since 2014 has decided to “conclude” his tenure as head of school and join the advancement office of the affiliated Lipscomb University. Casey Farris currently the associate head for advancement and alumni relations will serve as interim head of school. The email also states that Lisa Bruce, the current associate head of school for academics, has been invited to a position at Lipscomb University’s College of Education.
OK. So the email address’s feedback heard from parents in July, “Last Fall we became aware of concerns related to teaching and spiritual formation situations at the academy that to some did not seem to reflect our strong Christina commitment. Those instances caused questions about the larger direction of the school and it’s the historical commitment of educating young people in the context of an intentional biblical world view.” What do you make of this Carol?
Swain: Well I think that they didn’t address the bigger problem and that’s whether or not a Christina academy should be following the way of the world like every institution has affirmative action officers. You have affirmative offices and people and personnel that are following federal law when it comes to affirmative action. When you add the diversity deans on top of that, they have their own agendas.
And I would say, for the most part, their agendas are very divisive. They really push non-biblical principles. Whether we’re talking about the LGBTQ community and how higher institutions should respond. They are pushing the way of the world and not what you would expect from a Christian organization.
Leahy: So here’s the relevant paragraph from the Nashville Scene article. One topic discussed in those town halls as the Scene reported was the use of materials that discussed issues like racism and white privilege in school. Country musician John Rich was a prominent critic of those materials and also took issue with the hiring of Brittney Pascal, the academy’s first dean of intercultural development in an email to other parents.
Rich said whoever hired her should resign. Pascal is not mentioned by name in the email though her position is discussed under a section named diversity and intercultural development. “The board and administration reiterated its commitment to the Academy’s new diversity and intercultural development initiative.”
Swain: I just believe that they don’t know what they’re doing or maybe they do know what they’re doing. In any event, the whole debate is not about Brittney. It’s really about what a Christian institution is supposed to stand for and how far they can stray away from biblical principles.
And when you bring in critical race theory, that is Marxism. And for people who have studied Marxism, it has no place in a Christian institution. And Lipscomb has even gone further. To their credit, they hired a spiritual formation coach recently. Siran Stacy.
Leahy: OK. This is the University?
Swain: The University. And he gave a sermon in the chapel recently and apparently in the course of that sermon he offended some students because obviously the University is not posting the video, so we can’t watch it for ourselves.
Leahy: So there were some snowflakes at David Lipscomb University who have shall we say left wing views that didn’t like what he said?
Swain: Apparently, he offended a small number of LGBTQ students. I was told that he recanted being molested or someone being molested by a male. But he said it was a pedophile. He did not to my knowledge say that it was a gay person.
It was a male pedophile. And that caused the university to issue a statement saying that he had been invited to speak about one thing and that he had basically disrespected the students by bringing that into his sermon. Now when can you control a pastor’s sermon?
They’re supposed to be led by the spirit. When they are preaching they say whatever they feel they need to say. We can’t judge whether or not he went beyond biblical scriptures, or what he said or how he said it because the video is not posted.
Leahy: Your pals with John Rich aren’t you? The country music guy.
Swain: I am.
Leahy: We ought to get him on the program some time and talk about this a little bit.
Swain: You know, John Rich is not in any way, his problem is not with this Brittney Pascal. His problem is with Lipscomb University straying away from its Christian foundations. And all the parents that have contacted me. I have scores of Lipscomb parents contacting me. And it’s about the deviation from biblical principles. It’s not about race. But the left has racialized the whole thing.
Listen to the second hour:
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Background Photo “Lipscomb University Campus” by EVula. CC BY 3.0.