Christians on Campus: Our Right to Exist
By John Stonestreet
Our nation’s universities have long prided themselves on serving as forums for open and free exchange of ideas. But a growing trend in schools throughout our nation is threatening to put an end to that legacy, at least for evangelical Christians. Let me explain.
Earlier this year, Chuck Colson and my co-host, Eric Metaxas, told you about events at Vanderbilt University, where they recently adopted “anti-discrimination” regulations. These would require student groups to allow anyone—regardless of beliefs or behavior—to obtain group membership and seek leadership positions. As Eric pointed out in April, this amounts to an attack on these groups’ right to exist.
To borrow his example, such regulations would theoretically force a university chapter of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), to allow steak connoisseurs and fur enthusiasts into their ranks and leadership. This may not sound like such a big deal, until you realize that even a small cohort of these “fur-draped carnivores” could tip the membership scales and vote the group into extinction.
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Well, PETA likely doesn’t have much to fear from these regulations—but Christian groups do. Increasingly, they’re being singled out with policies which David French, senior counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice, calls “absurd.”
“[This] level of mandated openness…actually diminishes diversity,” he says. “It’s utterly antithetical to free expression.”
And it’s not just happening at Vanderbilt. Schools nationwide like Brown, Colby, Amherst, Williams, Bowdoin, and the Universities of Maine and North Carolina have all pursued similar policies.
Now the latest, Tufts University in Massachusetts, is getting national press coverage as a kind of epicenter for the controversy.
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