Groups such as InterVarsity Christian Fellowship have been on college campuses for decades. They were at the University of Iowa for over twenty-five years. That is, until last year when they expelled the Christian students from its campus for – ready – requiring those in leadership at InterVarsity to affirm its Christian beliefs!
The case was on to court. But this time, a positive and stunning decision came down hard on the University of Iowa when a federal judge ruled that the college is responsible for all costs incurred by InterVarsity in defending its rights to be on campus. Wow.
Due to decades of intolerance by the left, conservative and Christian groups are fighting to get on or stay on college campuses all across the country. If you’re not convinced, see my article from last month about open discrimination on most college campuses.
Just last month, Duke University refused to give Young Life, another Christian student group, official recognition as a campus group because, just like InterVarsity, Young Life requires its leaders adhere to Christian teachings on sexuality.
There’s more to the story in Iowa, though: along with InterVaristy, the university kicked three other religious groups off campus as well, simply for requiring the same thing of its leaders, that they embrace the groups’ core beliefs.
Notice: secular groups never seem to be in the headlines as being expelled from campus.
According to the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, the court said this discrimination was so egregious, individuals involved would be personally responsible for money InterVarsity lost defending itself – which could even include the University’s president.
Work with me here. Isn’t it common sense that groups and organizations must have leaders who have the same faith and values as those they represent? Responding to the ruling, Greg Jao, Director of External Relations at InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/USA, stated:
“No group – religious or secular – could survive with leaders who reject its values. We’re grateful the court has stopped the University’s religious discrimination, and we look forward to continuing our ministry on campus for years to come.”
But there’s some history here. The court had already warned the University of Iowa about discriminating against religious groups in a previous case when another Christian group, Business Leaders In Christ, was kicked off campus because they denied a gay student a leadership position. He wouldn’t agree to their biblical statement of faith that includes the belief homosexual behavior is sinful.
By the way, the Christian group also requires all leaders refrain from having sex outside of marriage between a man and a woman.
In case you’re wondering, yes, the University of Iowa still allows liberal, Democrat, and secular groups to refuse leadership or membership based on their views.
Thankfully, the court was clear in its ruling against this double standard. This decision could be a precedent future groups can take to court to fight for the freedom and right to choose their own leaders just like everybody else does.
One small battle has been won but the war continues. I’m hoping, but not holding my breath to see if other American universities will follow suit and take the hostility against Christianity down a notch. Or at least just treat everyone equally even if you don’t agree with them. And that’s something we can all work on.
*originally published by Freedom Project Media
*featured image courtesy of the Becket Fund