When Campus Crusade for Christ is ahead of the curve by a decade on anything, you know you’ve really dropped the ball.
In 2011, the infamous Christian organization changed its name to “Cru” because “crusade” had come to represent religious violence. (Why they shortened the word instead of just getting rid of it is still bizarre to me.) That came a decade after Wheaton College in Illinois changed its mascot from “Crusader” to “Thunder.” Just last month, Valparaiso University got rid of the word as well.
And now, finally, Evangel University in Missouri is taking the same plunge.
“We recognize that times have changed,” [spokesperson Erin] Hedlun said. The Crusader mascot “really no longer represents what our university stands for. As well, we have a lot of alumni who are involved in work both in the United States and globally, and knowing that we are global community members, it is not a mascot that our alumni can advocate for or support in their work around the world.”
Getting rid of the old mascot is obviously the right move, but to justify the change by saying “our reflection of Jesus Christ is marred by our representation as Crusaders” is to ignore all the actual reasons so many people want nothing to do with conservative Christians.
The school mascot isn’t the problem. It’s the beliefs. It’s the awful, hateful, cruel, irrational beliefs. The university is just changing the window dressing without addressing what anyone is actually talking about.
A new mascot will be announced in the fall. At this point, they may as well be blunt about what they do stand for and call themselves the Evangel Homophobes or whatever else they have no desire to change.