Faculty Leader Questions Use of LSU Arena for Controversial Prayer Rally

A huge prayer rally, with Gov. Bobby Jindal as host and a controversial Christian group as sponsor, is set to take place next month at an arena at Louisiana State University at Baton Rouge, and a faculty leader is questioning whether that’s an appropriate use of a public higher-education facility, The Times-Picayune reports.

Kevin L. Cope, president of the Faculty Senate at LSU, told the New Orleans newspaper that the senate would not meet in time to try to push the January 24 event off campus, but he said it would consider asking the university to put more restrictions on the use of campus facilities. The resolution would require that facilities host only events that “advance the mission of the university,” he said.

Next month’s rally, called The Response, is being paid for by the American Family Association, and according to The Times-Picayune, organizers have taken such controversial stands as linking legal abortion and same-sex marriage to natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina. Some of the association’s public-policy views—such as its rejection of the theory of evolution—are at odds with what LSU teaches in the classroom, Mr. Cope said. “It would seem that a reasonable governor would not have put the university in this position,” he said.

In a written statement, the university distanced itself from the rally organizers’ views. “LSU’s association with this event is limited to the rental of the facility,” wrote Ernie Ballard, director of media relations. “Rental of an LSU facility does not imply any endorsement.”

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