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Discriminating Anti-Discrimination Policies

So Much for Diversity on Campus



When checking out colleges, students will look at cost, location, majors offered, etc. But how about whether the university discriminates against Christians? Stay tuned to BreakPoint.

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Eric Metaxas

I’m a father, and I’m amazed that my daughter is already a teenager. As any concerned and loving parent would be, I want her fast-approaching college years to be rich with learning, growth, and discovery. But she will also need a refuge for faith and fellowship, especially if she attends a secular school.

I went to Yale, and I have some idea of the pressure that Christian students face on campus. Is it too much to ask that my daughter have the option of attending a nurturing Christian group on campus? According to today’s guardians of tolerance and political correctness, apparently it is!

Just a couple of years ago I told you about a disturbing trend on college campuses, fueled by a disastrously wrong-headed 2010 Supreme Court decision, to, in effect, “de-recognize” Christian groups that refuse to allow non-Christians and practicing homosexuals as leaders.

Proponents say that, in the name of anti-discrimination, colleges must discriminate against daily_commentary_06_19_14Christian groups that seek to maintain their identity and mission—even though these groups welcome anyone to join. Such is the ironic state of “tolerance” in 21st-century America.

As I said at that time, this is like “a college chapter of the People for the Ethical Treatment for Animals … being led by someone whose favorite food is nice rare steak and who wears fur coats whenever she can.”

Okay, so where are we now? Well, the good news is that the New York Times—yes, the Times—has just published a very balanced look at the issue. Christians actually got to tell their side of the story. The bad news, however, is that increasing numbers of colleges and university systems are using anti-discrimination policies to thwart Christian groups. The Times reports, “At Cal State, the nation’s largest university system with nearly 450,000 students on 23 campuses, the chancellor is preparing this summer to withdraw official recognition from evangelical groups that are refusing to pledge not to discriminate on the basis of religion in the selection of their leaders.”

Further, at Vanderbilt, “tolerance” has caused more than a dozen Christian groups to lose their official standing. “One Christian group balked,” the Times reports, “after a university official asked the students to cut the words ‘personal commitment to Jesus Christ’ from their list of qualifications for leadership.”

Friends, if a Christian group can’t assure that its leaders believe in Jesus Christ, what’s the use of having a Christian group at all? In the name of tolerance and diversity, we’re getting less of both, and at our universities, believe it or not!

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The president of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, Alec Hill, said “It’s absurd. “The genius of American culture is that we allow voluntary, self-identified organizations to form, and that’s what our student groups are.” So much for society’s “little platoons”!

Now it’s true that these universities technically aren’t kicking the Christian groups off campus, though they’re making it much harder for them to meet, advertise, or use the school name. And some schools, such as the University of Florida and the University of Texas, have chosen to exempt religious groups from these absurd nondiscrimination policies.

But if you’re planning to send your child to college anytime soon, be sure to find out what the school’s policy is. And check with your alma mater: Put in a word for religious freedom! I know I will.

Further Reading and Information

BP-Takeaction_061914Discriminating Anti-Discrimination Policies: So Much for Diversity on Campus

As Eric pointed out, Christian students and groups are facing discrimination at college campuses across the nation.  Read about one student’s journey as a Christian navigating a secular school in Kelly Monroe Kullberg’s Finding God at Harvard. Another great resource is How to Stay Christian in College by J. Budziszewski. Get your copies at the online bookstore.

For further information and reading on this topic, check out the resources below.


Resources:

Colleges and Evangelicals Collide on Bias Policy
Michael Paulson | New York Times | June 9, 2014

Unmasking Discrimination
Eric Metaxas | BreakPoint.org | April 19, 2012

Finding God at Harvard
Kelly Monroe Kullberg | IVP Books | October 1997

How to Stay Christian in College
J. Budziszewski | Think Books | April 2004

Websites:

Intervarsity Christian Fellowship


Comments:

Are you aware of FIRE?
There's a group out there called FIRE - the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education - who works to stop with this sort of discrimination. Often, if something like this is brought to their attention, they'll go whatever process is necessary, possible, and legal to get it taken care of. They'll also raise a lot of public angst against the offending institutions in the process.
Thanks for the encouragement
This hit home for me because Jesus found me with His Church through an officially recognized religious group on a secular university's campus.

I investigated my alma mater's policy and found contradictory language. Groups are allowed to select leaders and members based on set beliefs so long as they do not discriminate against the federally protected classes.

I am thankful for the favor university officials have and continue to show to the Christian student organizations that seek to peaceably exist living quiet lives. I pray for continued favor and benefit with university officials and professors in addition to wisdom for winsome living for the community humbly under redeeming Christ's help.




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