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Christian Groups Encounter Hostility at Colleges With New Policies

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By Stoyan Zaimov, Christian Post Reporter
November 29, 2011|2:50 pm

Christian groups in the United States are facing the possibility of no longer being allowed to participate in an official school union, as administrators are adopting policies that prohibit them from specifically choosing their members.

Religious organizations who want prospective members and leaders to hold fast to a statement of faith may not be allowed to continue using school recourses to host their events.

College officials will not allow any “discrimination” against students, and will demand that organizations are open to anyone who wishes to join, regardless if they agree with the mission of the group or not.

A particular incident is taking place at Vanderbilt University in Nashville where four Christian groups are appealing against a decision to put that policy into effect, according to the Baptist Press.

The Christian Legal Society, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Graduate Christian Fellowship and Beta Upsilon Chi have all united to fight this ruling, but have admitted that there is little hope that the decision will be reversed.

Fears include this incident becoming a national trend, with 15 Intervarsity Christian group chapters having to drop out of the college system because of the nondiscrimination policies.

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It is possible that the issue might reach as high as the U.S. Supreme Court, but unless exceptions are made for religious groups from these new rules, faith organizations with restrictions will have to be relegated to the outskirts of college life.

Beth Fortune, the vice chancellor for public affairs at Vanderbilt, explained in a statement why administrators insist that college groups need to abide by these rules.

"In order to be a registered student organization -- which means using the Vanderbilt name, having the opportunity to apply for funding from student activity fees and access to university resources -- opportunities for membership and leadership must be accessible to all,” said Fortune.

David Cartman, a senior counsel of Alliance Defense Fund, a conservative nonprofit organization, shared with the Baptist Press that Christians were increasingly experiencing discrimination at college campuses.

"Rather than being wide open to all viewpoints, including some you may disagree with, [administrators] want you to agree with liberal orthodoxy just to maintain equal status on campus," contended Cartman.

 

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