“There is a new and growing threat to religious freedom: the application of so-called “non-discrimination” rules to religious student organizations. More and more college and university administrators are accusing Christian student groups of discriminating based on religion or sexual orientation merely by maintaining their religious character.
Religious student organizations form when individuals who share the same religious commitments come together to pursue a common objective related to those commitments. Individuals who embrace the historic tenets of the Christian faith band together to evangelize, to educate, and to serve, and their love of Christ motivates and shapes their efforts.
Christian student organizations preserve their character by choosing other Christians to help pursue their mission. A group dedicated to following Jesus cannot be expected to elevate leaders who reject His person and work – yet some school officials call this “religious discrimination.” Additionally, a group striving to reveal Christ’s character cannot be expected to include as official members those who defy God’s moral law – yet some school officials call this “sexual orientation discrimination.”
College and university administrators are now telling Christian student groups that they must allow non-Christians and unrepentant, sexually active homosexuals to join and even lead their organizations. If the Christian groups refuse, the administrators accuse them of discrimination and remove their “recognized” status.
Below is a list of a few ways in which a religious student organization may encounter a problem with a college or university as a result of a school non-discrimination policy.
1. Student Files Complaint Against the Student Organization. A student may file a complaint with a college or university in which he or she claims a religious student organization is engaging in religious or sexual orientation discrimination. The student typically asks the school to “de-recognize” the group.
2. Student Organization Required to Sign a Non-Discrimination Policy. A college or university may grant a religious student organization recognized status only if the group will sign a statement indicating it agrees to abide by the school’s non-discrimination policy.
3. Student Organization Bound by a Non-Discrimination Policy. Although a college or university may not condition recognized status on a religious student organization’s written agreement to abide by a non-discrimination policy, the school may still have a non-discrimination policy to which a religious student organization is bound.”
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