A total of 41 Lutheran colleges and universities offer higher education for the body, mind and spirit throughout the United States and Canada, according to the Lutheran Educational Conference of North America, the consortium representing these institutions. These Christian colleges have been in existence for as long as 167 years and are spread out across America, from California in the west to New York in the east.
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As part of the Lutheran – Missouri Synod and Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) – many of these schools are theologically and socially conservative in their education and training of students, though the ELCA eliminated barriers to church ordination of gays in 2009. But a handful have begun venturing leftward in certain philosophies, practices and perspectives, particularly toward sexual orientation.
Here is a list of five of the most liberal Lutheran Christian colleges in America:
1. Augsburg College
Located in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Augsburg supports the Queer Pride Alliance, which began at the school in 1988, as well as the Muslim Student Association, which was chartered in 2009. The QPA goes beyond many LGBT organizations, providing “support for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and asexual (LGBTQIA) community at Augsburg along with those other members who are allies. It also raises awareness about LGBTQIA issues and concerns to the entire Augsburg campus community,” according to Augsburg’s website.
2. Carthage College
The Kenosha, Wisconsin, school has made itself an accepting place for Islamic students as well as pagan practitioners through the Islamic Awareness Association and the Pagan Forum, according to Carthage’s website.
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3. Wartburg College
Nestled in Waverly, Iowa, Wartburg offers the Wartburg Alliance, a community providing acceptance and support for LGBT students that stages events throughout the school year, including a drag show, according to Wartburg’s website. As a college, Wartburg publicly promotes “values of diversity and inclusion” for students and staff of all gender identities and sexual preferences.
4. Augustana College
Located in Rock Island, Illinois, Augustana promotes itself as welcoming students of all sexual orientations, according to its website. The school also produces Intersection, a publication distributed to all ELCA colleges and universities that pushes support for all religions, including the Coexist movement, which believes all roads lead to God and heaven.
5. Pacific Lutheran University
The Tacoma, Washington, school features a Diversity Center that promotes acceptance of all lifestyles through such events as a queer retreat for LGBTQA students, according to the university’s website. Pacific Lutheran has also chartered a Queer Ally Student Union that “supports, empowers and educates PLU and its surrounding communities on issues related to queer people and queer culture,” according to the school website.
The union hosts National Coming Out Day, Pride Week and other pro-LGBTQA events on campus.
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