Oxford cancels Christian conference based on 'no evidence'

An Oxford college canceled a Christian youth conference, called the Wilberforce Academy, based on its own claims that there were students who were hurt and offended by the Christian message.

And it apologized to those students.

Now an independent investigation has revealed there was no evidence for the college’s decision.

It is Christian Concern that reported on the cancellation, and the fact the school’s reasons were unjustified.

It was Worcester College that issued an apology to student activists who reject any tolerance for a Christian message, claiming the school caused them “significant distress” by booking the Wilberforce events.

But according to Christian Concern, an inquiry was published that exposed that there was no legitimate reason for the cancellation, and The Free Speech Union followed up with a letter to the manager of the school explaining, “No higher education institution should apologize for free speech.”

The Christian Concern report explained it was last September when Worcester chief David Isaac, whose resume includes activism on behalf of the LGBT agenda, “capitulated to student activism by apologizing for hosting the Wilberforce Academy, an initiative of Christian Concern.”

The college reportedly told a student publication: “The Wilberforce Academy’s views on ‘reproductive rights’ and ‘conversion therapy’ do not align with our values, and we are aware that the conference’s presence and promotional materials have caused distress to many members of the college.”

Wilberforce, for more than a decade, had held week-long conferences for students and young professionals who wanted to learn how to apply their Christian faith in their current culture and vocations.

“Topics covered by expert international speakers include: the role of Christianity in shaping law and culture; understanding today’s context; biblical ethics on human identity and sexuality; comparative religion including examining the nature of Islam,” the report said.

“The conference includes teaching of biblical beliefs that have been recognized by the Christian Church globally for the past 2,000 years.”

So when the school canceled future events, Christian Concern commissioned an independent inquiry into the school’s claims, which resulted in the conclusion that the complaints are “without substance.”

In response to questions about the school’s own investigation and actions, the college “refused to disclose any evidence, but said that the college claimed to have received ‘a number of complaints’ which alleged attendees had been ‘unduly demanding,’ had been ‘difficult to deal with’ and that COVID protocols had been broken,” Christian Concern explained.

However, school officials alter admitted they were unable to document their reasons for their action.

The Christian Concern review was done by Michael Stewart, an accomplished charity lawyer with experience in these kinds of investigations. Statements were obtained from 114 of the 124 attendees at the conference, and he found “scant” support for any of the school’s allegations.

“The inquiry has found, as we anticipated, no evidence that any delegates have done anything to warrant apologizing for, being canceled or discriminated against for their Christian beliefs,” explained Andrea Williams chief of Christian Concern.

“Worcester College capitulated to complaints from a handful of students who appear to have felt ‘offended’ following debate on some of the most important social issues of our time. It is disappointing that such a prestigious university and college should be canceling Christian beliefs, debate and free speech.”

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This article was originally published by the WND News Center.

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