The Gospel Coalition

The Story: The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear a campus religious liberty case---ADX v. Reed---experts had hoped would give Christian groups more freedom to operate at secular schools, reports WORLD.

The Background: In 2005, the Alliance Defense Fund filed a civil rights lawsuit against San Diego State University and California State University, Long Beach, on behalf of four student Christian groups---a fraternity, a sorority, and two campus ministries. The groups had a requirement that its members and officers adhere to and follow a Christian statement of faith and code of conduct. But despite allowing restrictions based on gender (e.g., sororities can exclude men) or political persuasion (e.g., the Campus Democrats can exclude Republicans from being officers), the schools refused to allow Christian groups to have a requirement that its officers be Christians.

"Throughout the years of defending its policy," says the Alliance Defense Fund, "the university did not tell the Democratic club it must be led by a Republican, or the vegetarian club that it must be led by a meat-eater, but it did tell Christian groups that they must allow themselves to be led by atheists."

The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ultimately ruled in favor of the schools. The Alliance Defense Fund had asked the Supreme Court to review the case, but on Monday the justices declined to hear the case.

What It Means: Schools outside of California, including the University of New York at Buffalo and Vanderbilt University, have used the case to justify policies requiring religious groups to open leadership positions to all students, regardless of their beliefs. As WORLD notes, InterVarsity and three other Christian groups have until mid April to submit new constitutions or be kicked off campus.

Despite the current legal status, Christian campus groups can still appeal to the lower courts. If other court ruling contradict ADX v. Reed it is likely that the Supreme Court will eventually take up the case. But in the meantime, many Christian organizations will be forced to decide whether to set aside their statements of faith or leave the campus altogether.


Comments:

Billy Mogensen

March 22, 2012 at 10:35 AM

I work with a campus ministry that's been through this. Being "kicked off campus" is a bit misleading - unless it's different than what we've experienced, it means their club or student organization status would be revoked. So they're "kicked off campus" in that sense, but it doesn't mean they can't still operate on campus (as long as it's not a private university). It's still a big deal though because when your club status is revoked, you are no longer able to advertise or reserve space on campus for free (or huge discount) - it would be a big hindrance to how campus ministries normally operate.

jason

March 21, 2012 at 12:53 PM

eh, whatever. parachurch orgs are kinda silly anyway.

Melody

March 21, 2012 at 12:51 PM

It doesn't matter. God won't be contained. It will still work to His glory.

Stan McCullars

March 21, 2012 at 12:38 PM

It's time to leave the campus. At least they don't have to go completely underground yet.

What crazy times!

Robert

March 21, 2012 at 11:56 AM

I think it's important to note that the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals did specifically address gender, sexual orientation, and ethnic discrimination as well in their decision, stating that it is inconsistent to for instance exclude heterosexuals from joining a gay group, non-Africans from joining an African ethnic group, and having separate male and female honor clubs.

http://www.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/opinions/2011/08/02/09-55299.pdf

Allen Burns

March 21, 2012 at 09:04 AM

This is amazingly duplicitous. Thanks for updating us on this and other social issues Joe, your ministry is helpful. Unfortunately, this reveals the trend our Country is taking. Proverbs 21:1 should put us on our knees.

SLIMJIM

March 21, 2012 at 06:35 PM

Wow, what sad news...I hope they hear the rebutting argument so well stated here:

"But despite allowing restrictions based on gender (e.g., sororities can exclude men) or political persuasion (e.g., the Campus Democrats can exclude Republicans from being officers), the schools refused to allow Christian groups to have a requirement that its officers be Christians.

"Throughout the years of defending its policy," says the Alliance Defense Fund, "the university did not tell the Democratic club it must be led by a Republican, or the vegetarian club that it must be led by a meat-eater, but it did tell Christian groups that they must allow themselves to be led by atheists.""

[...] Supreme Court Declines to Hear Campus Religious Liberty Case [...]

Gordon Hazell

March 21, 2012 at 03:00 PM

Okay my friend...I don't see it as seizing power. But your point is taken. Personally I just think that when we get that kind of opposition we should just continue doing what we are doing until they have us arrested. The more of us is jail the better...we can minister the gospel to the uttermost outcasts of society in there and at least in my case...normal prison ministry doesnt seem to be breaking any ground. But God has the reins. We trust him for the results.

jason

March 21, 2012 at 02:55 PM

To Gordon. i was commenting on the unloving opportunism of Vicki's comment. "Let's use this as an opportunity to infiltrate and obliterate muslim and hindu groups with our christianism." I can't too deeply criticize atheists and strangers to Christ for using such insidious tactics to try to obliterate Christian groups; but I would never approve a Christian trying to do the same to someone else. Jesus spent time among people, but he didn't join their clubs and seize power.

As for Kathy, i don't understand your question.

Gordon Hazell

March 21, 2012 at 02:40 PM

Undercover? I don't think thats what he meant. You are still as open as you would be in the christian group. Didn;t Jesus go and spend time among those who were not a part of the accepted crowd?

Kathy

March 21, 2012 at 02:39 PM

To use your logic Jason, are you implying that by atheists coming in hopes of ruling a Christian organization, that they are asking to become Christians?

Kathy

March 21, 2012 at 02:37 PM

I was thinking the exact same thing. Just because their 'constitutions' might not be able to have the clause--that doesn't stop the members from voting that way.

Kathy

March 21, 2012 at 02:36 PM

I'm sorry you feel that way Jason. Actually, the word parachurch is silly. Since THE CHURCH is not a building but people who are followers of Christ, the organizations of which you speak are part of The Church. Campus ministries have had a big part in changing lives to this point. It's up to God alone as to their future.

Kathy

March 21, 2012 at 02:34 PM

Amen. This development doesn't surprise GOD Almighty. To Him Alone Be the Glory. He has a plan.

jason

March 21, 2012 at 02:22 PM

... you're kidding, right? because nothing says "Jesus loves you" like going undercover and embedding yourself in a place you're not wanted.

Gordon Hazell

March 21, 2012 at 01:52 PM

Interesting concept.

maybe it is an opportunity afterall.

Vicki

March 21, 2012 at 01:50 PM

A christian should then be able to gain leadership roles in muslim, hindu and buddist faith groups on school campuses then. right? Maybe this is an opportunity in disguise?

Gordon Hazell

March 21, 2012 at 01:41 PM

I completely agree! Its time to stand up and be made an example. So that the world can see the disregard that it has for the Christian faith. More Christians need to be prepared to go to jail or persecuted for the faith instead of just running away!. you are absolutely right!

J. P. Martínez

March 21, 2012 at 01:37 PM

Thats right!

John Carpenter

March 21, 2012 at 01:21 PM

It seems that they'll have to operate with a kind of congregationalism and so only vote in Christians as leaders, since they can't make that an official policy.

Robert Briggs

March 21, 2012 at 01:10 PM

There is a third option that needs to be considered. Stand firm ! Why only two options ? Let the authorities make the move to put the Christians off campus. For too long in the West Christians have either capitulated or ran and we do not need to do either. Simply stand firm, business as usual until they physically with force prevent it. Do not leave the field be willing to suffer for righteousness. We have left the field too many times in America and that is why we have lost ground on our campuses. We do not need to be belligerent or unkind, we simply should continue to meet on the campus. The Covenanters met in the open air when they could not meet in their churches, the Puritans met in their churches until they were ejected. If they eject the us, fine, but do not run away or capitulate, stand and suffer if needs be. Some backbone might just be what is needed here !

Corey

March 21, 2012 at 01:08 PM

The Intolerance of Tolerance at its best.

Seminary 20 - House Party - New York - 2012

February 5, 2013 at 10:57 AM

[...] Supreme Court Declines To Hear Campus Religious Liberty Case [...]