The Council for Christian Colleges & Universities inaugurated its new president, Ed Blews, in January. Blews came from the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Michigan, where he was president for 28 years. Blews is now making a home on Capitol Hill. He has a wife, four grown children and one granddaughter.
Do you consider yourself to be of a specific faith?
I do absolutely consider myself to be an evangelical Christian. And I describe myself sometimes as being ecumenically evangelical. My faith defines who I am and guides me in all I do. And of course, what's significant about my faith is my relationship to Jesus Christ as my lord and savior.
Christian schools are facing the question of how to treat homosexual students and faculty. What do you think should be done?
I would say that our Christian colleges and universities, as a part of their faithfulness to their mission, need to and do take positions that are biblically positive and biblically sound. That's part of the religious liberty of Christian colleges and universities -- the ability of and right of each Christian college to define its mission and identify the way it carries out that mission consistent with its understanding of biblical truth. What I'll say is that our Christian colleges and universities are places where all persons are treated with compassion and with respect and with civility. I would assert that while our Christian colleges and universities will properly and clearly speak what they understand to be biblical truth, that they will do so in a way that is gracious, in a way that is compassionate, in a way that is civil, that we recognize that we are all God's creation. Our colleges and universities aspire to and do treat all persons with dignity and compassion and respect.
Are you worried the Department of Health and Human Services' mandate on insurance coverage of contraception by religious employers will change the way Christian colleges are viewed in the eyes of the law?
We are very supportive of the lawsuits [contesting the mandate]. For us, the issue is that the mandate includes drugs that are abortifacients. We are opposed to the mandate because of the way in which it imposes on the religious liberties of our colleges and dictates things that are in violation of their sincerely held religious beliefs. I think the lawsuits that are being brought by our colleges will ultimately increase respect for them, because it demonstrates they care enough about their religious liberties that they are willing to bring lawsuits to vindicate the First Amendment. When the religious liberty of one person or group is in jeopardy, the reality is the religious liberties of our entire nation are under threat.
At your core, what is one of your defining beliefs?
I am called to be faithful to the commands and the work of my God and my lord and to follow where he leads. I am called to love my God with all my heart but also to love my neighbor, to serve God and to serve man. And that's why the position of being president of CCCU is truly such a great honor for me, because it is something that in my heart I have no doubt that the Lord has called me to this position to serve a great cause that serves the kingdom of God but also serves so effectively the people of this nation and this world in providing them a high-quality higher education that integrates faith and biblical truth.
- Liz Essley