The war against religious liberty has come to Vanderbilt University.
CBN reports that the Tennessee university is requiring “student groups on campus to comply with its policy banning discrimination against homosexuals or the transgendered, regardless of religious beliefs.”
Groups that do not comply with the new policies can lose funding and access to university facilities.
“We are committed to making our campus a welcoming environment for all of our students,” the university said in a statement Monday.
Unless, of course, your group is based in Christian beliefs that do not accept homosexuality as a valid lifestyle.
If that is the case, your group must either believe as the school dictates or be banned.
According to an article at One News Now:
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.
In a post updated Thursday, however, the school says it is “in discussion” with four religious groups:
We are still in discussions and no decisions have been made – any information to the contrary is just speculation at this point. We have 380 student organizations currently registered at Vanderbilt. Of the 36 religious student groups registered, 31 32 are in compliance. Among the other registered student organizations, 341 342 are in compliance. Currently, only eight six registered student organizations are not in compliance with the university’s nondiscrimination policy – of these eight six, only five four are religious student groups. (Note: These numbers may be updated again as the Office of the Dean of Students continues to work with the individual student groups).
“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,” Kim Colby, senior counsel with the Christian Legal Society, said.
Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association says the school’s action amounts to blatant bigotry against Christians.
“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,” he said.
One News Now adds:
“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.”
But it seems the school’s policies are about much more than discrimination against gays.
Carol M. Swain, professor of political science and of law at Vanderbilt University, wrote at The Tennessean:
According to a letter from the acting director of the Office of Religious Life, Bible studies are suspect because they “would seem to indicate that officers are expected to hold certain beliefs.’’ The letter goes on to explain: “Vanderbilt policies do not allow this expectation/qualification for officers.’’
If this policy is implemented, it will make it harder for the students to have on-campus fellowship with like-minded believers and it will make it more difficult for them to grow in or even maintain their faith while on campus. The policy sends a clear message to students: religious associations are not a valued or respected part of the university’s ideological diversity.
Swain goes on to say the policy could potentially “destroy every religious organization on campus by secularizing religion and allowing intolerant conflict.”
“Carried to its logical extension, it means that no organization can maintain integrity of beliefs,” she adds.
Meanwhile, the school has decided to recognize pagan holidays.
“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,” Fisher said.
Ironically, the school was founded by the Methodist Episcopal Church.
A post at The Right Scoop notes:
This is one of my big problems with making people who profess to be gay a protected class. When they gain a right, people who disagree lose a right. It’s completely unfair and ridiculous that a religious organization be banned simply because they don’t give membership to those who have chosen the gay lifestyle. Yet universities like Vanderbilt persist in the name of discrimination even though religious freedoms are clearly protected by the Constitution.
If Christians don’t have the right to exercise their faith, then they are being discriminated against. But apparently that discrimination upsets no one.
One is reminded of the line in Orwell’s novel, Animal Farm: “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”
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