Brown University was founded in 1764 by a group of Baptist ministers. It has held its commencement services in First Baptist Church of Providence, Rhode Island (the first Baptist church in America) since 1776. Now it has become the 37th American college to include "sex reassignment surgeries" in its student health care plans.
Yale is considering the same decision. The university was founded by colonial clergymen in 1701. Its motto, "Light and Truth," was chosen because "the Institution felt that a proper education consisted of both the 'Light' of a liberal education and the 'Truth' of religious tradition." Now Yale is covering gender reassignment surgery for its employees and may soon extend this coverage to its student body.
In the corporate world, 25 percent of Fortune 100 companies now include sex change surgeries in their insurance policies. This is up from one percent in 2004, according to the gay rights advocacy group The Human Rights Campaign.
When you read stories like these, do you wonder what Christians can do about the moral direction of our culture?
Last week, after I wrote a Cultural Commentary on morality in Hollywood, I learned about an outreach effort called "Encouraging Letters to Celebrities." More than 110,000 wives around the world are enrolled in this initiative, which was launched "to encourage celebrities in whatever season of life they are in and remind them that God loves them." Ministry participants are sending letters this month to model Gisele Bundchen; it has sent encouraging letters in recent months to Jada Pinkett Smith, Heidi Klum, and Katy Perry.
What if Christians were to write encouraging letters or emails to leaders of faith-based universities, health care systems, and businesses? Those whose institutions are continuing their founders' faith commitments need our affirmation and support. Those who have departed from such faith traditions need to know of our concern and intercession. Our correspondence should be offered "with gentleness and respect" (1 Peter 3:15), remembering that "pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones" (Proverbs 16:24).
Would you ask God's Spirit to guide you in such a ministry to cultural influencers? And remember that one act inspired by the Holy Spirit can change the world. We cannot measure the eternal significance of present faithfulness.