Attack on La Sierra University Misfires

A site, the unmellifluous portmanteaued Advindicate, connected to some of the same people as Educate Truth, recently printed an attack on La Sierra University. Published without an identified author, it theorizes that a bond issued to the school is the reason that students cannot be taught about creation. As has been the case with this anti-La Sierra crowd's claims before, their rhetoric is not supported by the evidence. Given that some of the people connected to the site have apologized publicly for getting their facts wrong in the past, it's no wonder that La Sierra calls their article "inaccurate and misleading".  

The California Supreme Court [(2007)40 Cal.4th 788 et. seq.] held that a school only needs to establish that “. . . the academic content of its secular classes is typical of comparable courses at public or other nonreligious schools.” Once that is established, a teacher may “express an idea or viewpoint that may be characterized as ‘religious.’” The California Municipal Finance Authority, the issuer in the La Sierra University financing, has facilitated tax-exempt financing to refinance debt and enable new construction at a number of faith-based institutions in California, including Azusa Pacific University, Biola University, Mater Dei High School, and Westmont University. It has even issued bonds for the University Ministry Board of the Santa Barbara Presbytery and the Roman Catholic Bishops of San Jose.

 

"The university can teach in the Price Science Center the Adventist belief in creation as an explanation for the origins of earth and life as long as other alternative explanations of origins with claimed supporting evidence are also presented," says Kent Hansen, [university legal counsel].

Tellingly the original article did not include a single quote from a working legal scholar. In fact, the site appears to mostly share confessional and apologetic content from folks with connections to the fringe self-supporting world. This crowd's fight against La Sierra appears to be leading them to more desperate attempts to gain attention. Now their untrue title will live on: "La Sierra University professors prohibited from teaching creation." Wrong in practice and de jure, this anonymous article appears to be mostly significant to a small circle of online commenters obsessed with attacking Adventist institutions, not folks with current professional experience in California law, much less working scientists and theologians. 

With supporting quotes from Pacific Union Conference President Ricardo Graham and its legal counsel, La Sierra University has responded in the document below. 

La Sierra Bond Response

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Sat, 09/13/2014 | San Diego Adventist Forum
Terrie Dopp Aamodt, PhD

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