Chris Woodward and Jody Brown - OneNewsNow A prominent American university has decided five on-campus Christian groups are in violation of the school's non-discrimination policy and has placed the groups on "provisional status" -- a move described by one conservative group as nothing short of religious bigotry.
Officials at Vanderbilt University told the groups they were in violation of non-discrimination policy for requiring their leaders to share the beliefs, goals, and values of their respective group. Should the groups not adhere to university policy, they risk being shut down.
One of the groups threatened with being shut down is the Christian Legal Society. The others are the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Graduate Christian Fellowship, the fraternity Beta Upsilon Chi, and the sorority Sigma Phi Lambda. Each group's constitution includes a clause restricting leadership positions to individuals who share the group's core religious beliefs.
Kim Colby, senior counsel with the Christian Legal Society, appeared today on American Family Radio.
"What they're doing is really pretty outrageous -- and to tell a religious group that it can't expect its leaders to lead its Bible studies is really disrespecting religion," she stated. "So we're hoping that Vanderbilt hears from a lot of its alumni, and hears that this really isn't the way they want their university to be perceived in the public eye as the university that's insensitive to its religious students."
Safe to discriminate against Christians American Family Association (AFA) says the action by Vanderbilt involving the Christian groups is a flagrant example of religious bigotry.
"Christians seem to be the only group now that institutions of higher learning feel that they can safely discriminate against -- and it's just shameful," says Bryan Fischer, AFA's director of issues analysis.
Fischer points out that Vanderbilt was established by the Methodist Episcopal Church. "And this is just an indication of how far this university has strayed from its moorings," he states. "They've started to recognize Wiccan holidays -- so at the same time they're driving Christians off campus, they're welcoming witches and warlocks to their campus
The AFA spokesman says it is "ridiculous" to forbid student organizations to decide the standards that their own leaders must meet.
"They will not let leaders of the Christian Legal Society be required to lead Bible studies, but I'm guessing they are probably protecting the right of the Wiccan groups on campus to make sure that their leaders are adept at leading Satanic rituals. That's just how bizarre this thing is."
But Fischer does not appear to be too surprised, describing the school's action as another indication of "the lie of the left."
"They claim to be the voices of tolerance, the paragons of tolerance," he says, "but they are the most intolerant batch of bigots on the face of the land."
AFA has dispatched an Action Alert to its supporters, encouraging them to contact Vanderbilt Chancellor Nicholas Zeppos and urge him to stop the religious discrimination against Christian groups on the campus.
"We've been assured that if people communicate with the dean of students at Vanderbilt that every email is going to be received, that every email is going to be considered by the dean of students," Fischer concludes. "So if ordinary Americans make their voice heard in this circumstance, we might be able to make a difference."