Wheaton now allows drinking, dancing and smoking

Wheaton is replacing their older “Statement of Responsibilities” with a new Community Covenant.

Here is a relevant paragraph:

“Of particular concern in a collegiate environment are those issues related to alcohol, illegal drugs, and tobacco. While the use of illegal drugs or the abuse of legal drugs is by definition illicit, and the use of tobacco in any form has been shown to be injurious to health, the situation regarding beverage alcohol is more complex. The Bible requires moderation in the use of alcohol, not abstinence. Yet the fact that alcohol is addictive to many, coupled with the biblical warnings against its dangers, also suggests the need for caution. The abuse of alcohol constitutes by far our society’s greatest substance abuse problem, not to mention the fact that many Christians avoid it as a matter of conscience. Thus the question of alcohol consumption represents a prime opportunity for Christians to exercise their freedom responsibly, carefully, and in Christ-like love.”

Here, in a letter from the president of Wheaton is a justification of the change:

“As part of their research the committee also happened upon a development which added a new wrinkle to their work. In 1991 the Illinois legislature passed the Illinois Right to Privacy in the Workplace Act (IRPWA). This act prohibits discriminating against an applicant or employee ‘because the individual uses lawful products off the premises of the employer during non-working hours.’ According to the act, ‘lawful products’ specifically include ‘all tobacco products, all alcoholic beverages, [and] all food products . . . provided, however, that any use or overconsumption of these lawful products that directly impairs the performance of the employee at the workplace shall not be protected by the Act.’ Legal authorities believe IRPWA probably exempts religious employers in cases where they can argue that the ‘lawful products’ under consideration are prohibited as a matter of clear and consistent religious requirement. For example, a Muslim organization might successfully argue that the consumption of alcohol is ‘against our religion.’ But short of such an ironclad argument, no such prohibition appears to be legal under Illinois law.”

This is just sophistry. I seriously doubt that the state of Illinois has any desire to prosecute Wheaton for forbidding drinking, etc. I suppose lawyers might argue that Wheaton may have some liability exposure if an employee were to sue. If so, so be it. Christians should suffer for doing right, not go along to get along.

The bottom line? Wheaton wanted to make the change and found this law a convenient excuse to blame the change on.

Pretty sad.