Bowing to Secular Pressure? Faith-Based Institutions Drop ‘Bible’ and ‘Christian’ From Names

Colleges Fear Religious Label Hinders Students' Job Prospects In Difficult Economy

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By Brendan Giusti, Christian Post Reporter
November 28, 2011|5:21 pm

Faith-based and religious universities are cutting and slashing tuition costs in an effort to stay afloat in a changing economy and curb declining enrollment numbers. At the same time, dropping enrollment rates also stem from cultural worries from U.S. students concerned with whether job prospects will be limited with a degree from a faith-based university.

As a result, "Christian" and "Bible" are being dropped from school names to appeal to a more secular audience.

Johnson Bible College, in Knoxville, Tenn., recently dropped "Bible" from its name in response to an apparent faith-based glass ceiling some graduates are facing.

"The name 'Johnson Bible College' creates a barrier for many of our students," Johnson University President Gary Weedman said in a statement on the school's website.

Graduates have found it difficult to get teaching jobs in "closed" countries with the old name, Weedman said. Students attempted to teach in Etheopia, Israel, China, Turkey and other nations across the globe.

"Of course, to have 'Bible' listed in the degree becomes a significant barrier to gaining entrance to these countries," Weedman said. "We don't want the name of their institution to be a barrier."

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Atlanta Christian College, now Point University, recently made a similar name change for similar reasons.

"Although, as Christians, we might not like it, we live in a world that is becoming increasingly secular," the university said on its website. "We believe that all of our students and graduates are meant to be points of influence for Christ – but unfortunately, we know that this secular world devalues Christian education."

The university does not plan on changing curriculum, but rather hopes the new name will not hinder graduates' abilities to get jobs in the current economy.

"It's hard to be an influencer if you can't get into the places and positions from which to do that, and as unpleasant as it is to acknowledge, our secular world does discriminate against those who have 'Christian' on their diplomas," the university said in a statement on its website.

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