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Christian Student Group Sues University Claiming They Were Punished for Requiring Leadership to Believe in God

Christian Student Group Sues University Claiming They Were Punished for Requiring Leadership to Believe in God

“The lawsuit said that secular groups are allowed to have leadership policies similar to Ratio Christi’s.”

This has come up at other schools a few times over the years. Why is this an issue? Shouldn’t students in a group like this expect leadership that aligns with their values?

The College Fix reports:

Texas university punished Christian student group that requires leaders to believe in God: lawsuit

A Christian student group has filed a lawsuit against the University of Houston- Clear Lake after it denied it privileges due to a leadership policy.

Ratio Christi is open to all students, but it requires its membership to be Christians, a policy that led university officials to deny it Registered Student Organization status.

The denial means Ratio Christi “cannot reserve space, invite speakers, or access the pool of funds they paid into that is reserved for student organizations, speakers, and events,” according to a news release from Alliance Defending Freedom, the nonprofit legal group representing the students.

“Ratio Christi is a student organization at UHCL comprising students who share a mutual faith in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior,” the federal lawsuit filed on October 25 said. “Its identity is distinctly Christian, as is its purpose to share and defend the Christian faith,” ADF attorneys said.

Its executive officers must “profess a personal relationship with Jesus Christ” and “agree to live consistently with their Christian faith.”

The lawsuit said that secular groups are allowed to have leadership policies similar to Ratio Christi’s. For example, the Vietnamese student association has limited leadership roles to Vietnamese students. A military veterans’ student group on campus requires leaders to have served in the armed forces, the lawsuit said.

“Those are just some of the examples of UHCL student organizations that limit their leadership positions, membership, or membership rights to select students,” ADF wrote in its suit. “Other examples include sororities, which limit membership to women, and political student organizations, which limit membership based on political ideology.”


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We can’t have equity until imams are as qualified to run Hillel as rabbis.

    paracelsus in reply to henrybowman. | November 1, 2021 at 11:44 am

    and viceversa

    Milhouse in reply to henrybowman. | November 1, 2021 at 4:43 pm

    Hillel isn’t a religious organization and isn’t run by rabbis. It doesn’t demand any sort of beliefs from its members or leadership. So yes, imams are just as qualified to be Hillel leaders as anyone else. Some branches are so secular that they’d probably be happier with an imam than with an orthodox rabbi.

Basic establishment clause violation. You wouldn’t be making a peep if it was the Muslim Students Association insisting its leadership be Wahhabi Muslim.

You can have publicly funded schools or you can have religious discrimination, but you can’t have both.

    Milhouse in reply to daniel_ream. | November 1, 2021 at 4:30 pm

    No, it isn’t. Registered Student Organizations are exactly that: student organizations, not university organizations. Their speech is their own, not that of the university. That’s why they’re allowed to have a Christian (or a Moslem) organization in the first place. This isn’t at all about the establishment clause, it’s about the university’s insistence that private student organizations, which are not subject to anti-discrimination laws, must nevertheless comply with those laws and allow people who violate their founding principles, not only to be members but to hold executive office. That is perverse. Nothing in the constitution or in any law requires it; it’s the university’s own policy. And that policy actually violates the law by not allowing registration to truly religious organizations on the same basis that it does to secular ones.

I think the University would be on safer ground if they didn’t allow secular organizations to limit their membership–the fact that the University applied a different and stricter standard to a Christian organization renders this unenforceable. I’m just wondering which student or professor complained about this, or which University administrator thought it was a good idea to discriminate against the group like this.