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Christian College Blocks Abortion Cross Display Because Public Might Think School Is Pro-Life

11-12-2019
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A Christian college has refused to allow a display of crosses that honor and represent abortion victims, saying such a display would be "divisive."

The College Fix reports Rocky Mountain College told the campus group Young Americans for Freedom it could not put up the cross display. 

Emily Kokot, treasurer and secretary for the group told The Fix that they really didn't think the cross display would be a problem. For the last couple of years, she explained, the administration allowed the organization to install a 9/11 memorial using small American flags.

Instead, Dean of Student Life Brad Nason told Kokot that "we draw the line at public displays of divisive topics," in an email referenced by Young America's Foundation and the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. (FIRE)

When asked why public displays of divisive topics are not allowed on campus, Nason responded that "we have effectively eliminated every student's ability to choose to engage or not engage with that issue" if the college allows public displays. They could also imply the endorsement of the college, he wrote.

Kokot then responded to Nason via email: "What is the difference between spreading our message by word and having a display?" She also pointed to the Student Code of Conduct, emphasizing that it "encourages students to consider and seek to understand different ideas and points of view."

"The pro-life/pro-choice debate is incredibly divisive" and "a public display is confrontational," Nason responded via email. It would also imply the "direct or tacit endorsement of that particular issue by the College."

But she didn't stop there. The following week, Kokot met with Nason bringing him a couple of posters. One of them had the statistics about abortion which he had allowed to be put up. However, the dean rejected a poster that read "Unborn Lives Matter" because it also included the club's name and meeting time required by the college for all posters. Kokot said Nason told her that he prohibited liberal groups from also putting up posters with similar messaging.

"At that point, it was pretty clear that our group, and other groups, were being restricted," she said. 

The dean's directions are "very unclear, very subjective, and it's just basically whatever he wants or doesn't want up, whatever he thinks is controversial or not controversial," Kokot told The Fix.

Founded in 1878, Rocky Mountain College is the oldest college in Montana.  According to its website, it is a private school with roots "to the United Church of Christ, the United Methodist Church, and the Presbyterian Church (USA) – denominations traditionally committed to the pursuit of knowledge, religious tolerance, and free inquiry and to such values as service, community, and character."

CBN News attempted to contact Rocky Mountain College officials for a comment regarding this story.  At the time of publication, we had not heard back from the college. 

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