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The 5 Most Liberal Methodist Colleges in America

By    |   Thursday, 07 May 2015 04:12 PM

Nearly 120 Methodist-affiliated colleges and universities across the United States are members of the National Association of Schools & Colleges of the United Methodist Church. The majority of these Christian institutions are theologically and socially in line with the original doctrinal positions of the denomination.

But, like many other mainline denominations, some colleges have drifted to the left of the church’s moral moorings right along with a growing number of congregations in the United Methodist Church (UMC). Academically, most of these schools still offer sound, traditional teaching in the fields of study they feature. But an expanding list of institutions have been influenced by America’s changing attitudes toward issues like sexual orientation, and their student life offerings reflect this progressive shift in values.

Here is a list of five of the most liberal Methodist Christian colleges in America:

1. Willamette University

Nestled in Salem, Oregon, Willamette has a reputation as one of the top Methodist universities academically. It also is a liberal, socially conscious campus, with a Queer Alliance student organization that supports lesbian, gay and bisexual students and issues at Willamette and the surrounding community. It also sponsors a Students for Feminism group that raises awareness for supposed gender inequality, according to Willamette’s website.

2. American University

Besides a secular curriculum, this Washington D.C.-based Methodist school offers an array of left-of-center student organizations, including groups for atheists, Muslims, Jews, Hindis, gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgendered students, according to the school website.

3. Cornell College

Located in Mount Vernon, Iowa, Cornell proudly trumpets its diversity alongside its affiliation with the UMC. Cornell "welcomes people from all religious traditions and from all non-religious perspectives,” according to its website. “Cornell values spiritual diversity as an integral component of preparing students for global citizenship.”

For example, Cornell features campus organizations for LGBT students, Muslims, activists supporting legalization of drugs, feminists and interfaith supporters.

4. Syracuse University
The school, located in Syracuse, New York, is one of the most religiously pluralistic institutions in the country. Syracuse’s chapel welcomes a diverse range of students, including Pagan, Islamic, Jewish, Hindu, and Buddhist, as well as several Christian denominations, according to the Hendricks Chapel website.

5. Southern Methodist University
Located in the heart of Dallas, Texas, SMU focuses prominently on creating a diversity-friendly campus. The school runs a diversity committee to promote a “constant voice” to a variety of groups based on religion, sexual identity, race, and other designations, and operates a Women and LGBT Center on campus that raises awareness and acceptance of gender equity, as well as alternative lifestyles.

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Nearly 120 Methodist-affiliated colleges and universities across the United States are members of the National Association of Schools & Colleges of the United Methodist Church.
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Thursday, 07 May 2015 04:12 PM
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