Ohio Christian University (formerly known as Circleville Bible College) is a place that is strangely close to my heart. After all, the Church of Christ in Christian Union (CCCU) is the denomination of my childhood. I remember going to summer events for children and having the time of my life. Though I am of a different ideological persuasion now, I still respect the clergy and parishioners of the CCCU and their commitment, to borrow a phrase from their own lexicon, “to living a life of holiness”. However, the increasing fundamentalism that is being promoted by the university represents a significant challenge to the credibility of the school. As said before, the university’s government department is now the host of a radio show that presents Islamophobia, global warming denial, young earth creationism*, and so on as necessary aspects of a biblical worldview.
Dave Garrison, the head of the government department and host of the radio show, also advocates a platform of fiscal conservatism. In fact, he has his own fiscal plan for the United States. President Mark Smith regularly appears on the news to back Republican candidates and he played a pivotal role in backing Mitt Romney in Ohio.
One would think that since the school is an ultra-evangelical university and that fiscal conservatism is the official ideology of the government department, OCU would listen their own advise and not be receiving public money of any kind. However, just last week, an investigation by Carol Biliczky of the Akron Beacon Journal has revealed that OCU actually receives hundreds of thousands of dollars directly from the state of Ohio in the form of post-secondary subsidies for highschool students. Furthermore, they received a federal grant for 2.5 million. How are they able to secure this money? Biliczky says:
“C. Todd Jones, the paid lobbyist for Ohio Christian University and about 50 other private colleges in Ohio, not only sits on the school board with Smith [the president of OCU] but chairs the committee that is deciding the gifted guidelines. He has actively lobbied the legislature and governor’s office on PSEO law that would benefit the colleges at the same time he is running board meetings on the topic.”
So in summary, the same university that backs republican candidates and claims that Obamacare is “worse than slavery”, accepts millions of dollars of public money. Talk about a sense of “entitlement”. As my more libertarian friends would say, this is just plain old cronyism.
*OCU is listed by the young earth creationist organization Answers in Genesis as a “Creation College”, colleges that promote creation “science”. This short list of schools includes Bob Jones University, the infamous university that did not allow black students until 1971, was officially opposed to inter-racial dating until 2000 and did not apologize for blatant racism until 2008. For OCU to be compared to BJU ought to be an embarrassment for anyone part of the CCCU.