FIRE Warns Capitol Hill About Threats to Religious Freedom on Campus

June 19, 2006

WASHINGTON, June 19, 2006—Tomorrow, Greg Lukianoff, the president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), will take part in Religious Freedom Day on Capitol Hill by speaking on a panel about religious freedom in the United States.
 
“Religious freedom is in serious trouble on many college campuses,” stated Lukianoff. “Since FIRE was founded we have seen too many students punished for expressing their religious convictions and too many religious groups denied the same rights that other campus groups enjoy.”
 
The panel discussions will also include U.N. Ambassador John Bolton, Ambassador John Hanford, Senators Norm Coleman and Sam Brownback, and others. The day of events is hosted by Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum and will be televised on C-SPAN starting at 9:30 a.m.
 
Lukianoff’s topic is “Religious Freedom and Education: Treatment of Religion on College Campuses.” He will emphasize the disturbing trend of forcing campus religious groups to adopt “nondiscrimination” policies that require them to admit members or leaders who do not share the group’s core religious principles.
 
FIRE has fought and won many cases on behalf of primarily evangelical Christian but also Muslim students’ rights to associate freely and express their religious beliefs without administrative interference. Most recently, FIRE convinced the University of Wisconsin System to approve a policy granting resident assistants the right to participate in or lead religious activities “to the same extent as other students.”
 
FIRE has also won student groups the right to freely associate and to govern themselves according to the dictates of their consciences at Princeton University, Louisiana State University, Ohio State University, Pennsylvania State University, Purdue University, Rutgers University, and Milwaukee School of Engineering.
 
“The trend of denying religious liberty on campuses will continue until colleges learn that it is intolerance—not tolerance—to deny students their basic rights of religious association and expression. With greater awareness of this problem, we hope that the mistreatment of devoutly religious students on campus can be put to an end,” concluded Lukianoff.
 
FIRE is a nonprofit educational foundation that unites civil rights and civil liberties leaders, scholars, journalists, and public intellectuals from across the political and ideological spectrum on behalf of individual rights, due process, freedom of expression, academic freedom, and rights of conscience at our nation’s colleges and universities. FIRE’s efforts to preserve religious liberty across America can be viewed at thefire.org/religiousliberty.
 
CONTACT:
Greg Lukianoff, President, FIRE: 215-717-3473; greg@thefire.org