Syracuse University Bans Radiant Church from Country Club Over Views on Homosexuality

Drumlins Country Club at Syracuse University.

Syracuse University (SU) has taken action against Radiant Church, a Baptist congregation known for its traditional biblical views on homosexuality.

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The university has prohibited the church from holding services at its Drumlins Country Club, following the uproar of some community members over the church’s beliefs.

The decision by SU comes on the heels of the Syracuse School District’s move to amend its rules, barring organizations with discriminatory policies from utilizing district facilities.

Earlier this year, news reports revealed that Radiant Church was conducting Sunday services at Nottingham High School and occasionally using its pool for baptisms.

The church’s lead pastor, Jason Lankford, openly believed that homosexuality is a sin. This stance was met with backlash, as it conflicted with the district’s woke commitment to inclusivity and support for the LGBTQ community.

In response to the reports, the district reviewed its public-use policy, leading to demands for change from the teacher’s union, parents, and some students.

Following the end of the school year in June, Radiant shifted its services to Drumlins Country Club but has not sought to return to the Syracuse district.

In a statement, Syracuse University boasted of its commitment to diversity and inclusion, stating, “Syracuse University condemns bigotry of all forms. The University is home to 27 religious and spiritual life groups and prides itself on offering diverse opportunities that align with our deeply held values of respect and inclusion.”

Sarah Scalese, SU’s senior associate vice president for communications, mentioned that the approval process that initially allowed Radiant Church to use Drumlins was rewritten to prevent Bible-believing groups from utilizing its facilities in the future.

The church is now restricted from conducting services on any Syracuse University property.

This decision challenges Radiant Church in its mission to reach Syracuse college students.

The church is affiliated with the Iowa-based Salt Network, a collection of evangelical churches located in college areas, all with outreach ministry programs. Lankford had previously highlighted Syracuse’s significant college student population as a strategic target for the church’s recruitment efforts.

On September 13, the Syracuse school board unanimously voted to modify its facility use policy. Now, any group wishing to use a school building must adhere to the district’s code of conduct, which champions inclusion (other than Bible-believing churches).

Radiant Church has relocated its worship services to Inspiration Hall, a performance and event venue located at 709 James St., as per updates from the church’s Facebook page.

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