It’s a disturbing trend taking place on university campuses around the nation. Thanks to a 2010 Supreme Court decision, state universities are now allowed to restrict “belief organizations from requiring belief.”
The way this is playing out in real life is that Christian clubs are no longer allowed to require their members and leaders to be Christian.
Yes, you read that correctly. Pretty much defeats the purpose of having the club, doesn’t it?
And yet, in the name of inclusiveness, some state universities (like the California State University system) are choosing to impose this nonsensical restriction, and private schools like Vanderbilt University are following suit.
What’s really happening, however, is far from putting out a welcome mat. In reality, this policy is all about exclusion.
Christians are punished for adhering to their biblical views
Christian groups like the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Christian Legal Society can’t simply turn their backs on their deeply held faith beliefs. They’re refusing to adhere to the demands and are being punished as a result.
Let’s take InterVarsity Christian Fellowship as an example. It was recently derecognized by the nation’s largest university system, so it will now lose out on the many benefits of being an officially recognized campus group. Those benefits include free access to things like campus meeting space and college advertising outlets, which are essential to club growth. Officials call the shift “considerably more costly.”
That’s a lot of exclusion for a policy billed as one that facilitates everyone’s participation.
Slippery slope of discrimination against Christians
Let’s take a moment to examine where this type of thinking can ultimately lead.
If a government entity, like a state university, can force its politically correct view on groups receiving “public funds,” how much of a leap will it be for state and federal governments to revoke tax exemptions for non-profit organizations who also “believe” and teach politically “incorrect” points of view?
Answer: not much of a leap at all.
As soon as you start punishing a certain way of thought or belief, it’s a fast slippery slope to more penalties and viewpoint discrimination. For example, there’s strong evidence that middle and high school Christian clubs will also be affected.
Get involved and make a difference
How can you help? If you have a relationship with or are an alumnus or alumna of the colleges mentioned in this blog, consider writing to the college and letting them know it’s important to you that they protect the religious-freedoms of Christian students and their clubs. Encourage others to do the same.
I’ll leave you now with a student-created resource, “Christ on Campus.” In it, Focus Leadership Institute graduates Hannah Riad and Dylan Benac offer perspective on the current discrimination happening against Christian-student clubs, as well as suggestions on how Christians can navigate these situations. This is a resource offered through Focus on the Family’s students’ rights initiative—DayofDialogue.com, a website offering free speech tools and events for students who want to share a Biblical viewpoint in a loving manner on campus.