If you see Jeff Hunt, director of Colorado Christian University’s public policy think tank, the Centennial Institute, out and about, there’s a good chance you’ll see him wearing his “Pro-Life U” sweatshirt.
“I wear it everywhere,” he told me on Wednesday morning. “I wear it to conferences, I wear it on airplanes, I wear it to stores.”
That’s because Colorado Christian University, a private faith-based school that traces its roots back to 1914 when it was known as the “Denver Bible College,” recently registered the trademark “Pro-Life U” moniker.
“College of the Ozarks is also known as ‘Hard Work U,’” says Hunt, “and in that same spirit, we have a commitment to making CCU the most pro-life college in the nation.”
History and trademark registrations were of little interest or concern to officials at the Denver Capitol earlier this week, though, when Hunt was kicked out of the Senate Gallery for wearing clothing that allegedly violated Colorado Senate rules.
In Denver for “Pregnancy Resource Center Day at the Capitol,” Hunt was attending discussion on SB23-190, a wicked pro-abortion bill that would restrict and censor the good work Pregnancy Resource Centers provide in their communities. Specifically, it would ban the abortion pill reversal treatment for women who have changed their minds after beginning a chemical abortion.
“I walked in, grabbed my seat, and I was immediately asked to step out. They were pleasant and polite but then pointed me to a sign that states no apparel with any political sentiment is allowed.”
Only Jeff Hunt’s sweatshirt isn’t political – it’s publicity for his school, and a registered name at that.
Jeff’s equally polite pleas and explanation did nothing to persuade Senate officials. He was told to either remove the sweatshirt or turn it inside out. He refused – and sat outside the chamber.
Confusion and ignorance would be one thing, but Hunt said it took him less than five minutes to find photographs online of individuals and groups in the Colorado Senate Gallery wearing plenty of ideologically charged clothing.
“Just a few weeks ago, students wearing messages advocating ‘gun control’ were allowed,” Jeff later tweeted.
“Makes you wonder if someone wearing a Planned Parenthood shirt would also be asked to leave? How about an ACLU shirt?”
I think we all know the answer to those questions.
“We have equal treatment concerns,” says Jeff, whose wife, Nicole, serves on our Daily Citizen team here at Focus on the Family.
On a related note, back in 2018, the United Supreme Court struck down a Minnesota law that prohibited t-shirts and buttons and the like in polling places.
The High Court’s 7-2 decision noted the Minnesota law was too vague, and didn’t even define what “political” meant, noting the original 1912 law was concerned about maintaining decorum. It did allow states the legal right to craft more specific limitations, assuming they were clearly spelled out.
But how can you ban apparel in a public building that simply states the legally registered name of a school?
In the end, Jeff Hunt remains undaunted and undeterred.
“We’re deeply committed to the conservative worldview,” he recently said. “There’s a little bit of despair about the direction of our state and about the direction of our country. We want to raise up Christian conservative statesmen and stateswomen. We have to be incredibly intentional about changing this culture.”
Proudly proclaiming a leading Christian institute of higher learning as unashamedly and unabashedly pro-life is a very good place to start.