TCU Seeks to Promote Diversity Through Atheist, Jewish, Muslim Student Groups

Texas Christian University, the largest university affiliated with the Disciples of Christ denomination, recently said that it chose to officially recognize an atheist student group because the college promotes diversity and open dialogue.

The university also has Catholic, Jewish, and Muslim student groups on its campus in Fort Worth, Texas.

"The university culture allows for diversity of thought and open dialogue," TCU spokeswoman Lisa Albert told the Christian News Network in a recent interview regarding the university's decision earlier this year to allow the Freethinking Frogs, a student-run atheist organization, to receive official university recognition.

 Albert went on to say that it is important for the university to "provide a platform … for students to engage with others of differing opinion and ultimately, make decisions for themselves."

In February, a TCU student attempted to create an on-campus organization for atheists, and in spite of mixed reactions from students and the community, the university quietly agreed to give the Freethinking Frogs official university recognition.

Official university recognition means the group may convene on campus for meetings and carry the official university name.

The purpose of the group, according to its official Facebook page, is "to organize, unite, educate, and serve students and student committees that promote the ideals of scientific and critical inquiry, democracy, secularism, and human-based ethics."

The Freethinking Frogs group at TCU is a local branch of the national Secular Student Association.

Some students on the TCU campus applauded the university's decision to accept the atheist student group, arguing that although the institution is technically Christian, many nonreligious students are in attendance.

"I know it's technically called Texas Christian University, there's a lot of running jokes that it's 'technically' Christian university," Bojan Gutic, a TCU student, told My Fox Dallas Fort Worth back in February.

"There's a lot of us, people just don't often talk about it," Gutic added.

Others, however, argued that the Christian university's decision to allow non-Christian student groups goes against logic.

"The name of the school is Texas Christian University, not Texas Atheist University. And it's a private school. Don't like it, go to another school," wrote one commenter on a February 2013 Houston Chronicle article.

The school also has an "Interfaith Initiative" which encourages students to celebrate their individual beliefs as a community.

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