OK to discriminate against Christians, says law, Vandy

December 1, 2011

Four Christian groups at Vanderbilt University are "under a serious threat" from the legal and cultural climates and may soon be booted from the campus because of a new university policy that says they must accept anyone and everyone into their organizations.

Vanderbilt adopted the policy after an on-campus Christian group expelled a member because of his homosexual relations (see earlier story). Robert Sibley of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) warns that an upcoming U.S. Supreme Court case could do further damage "by specifically setting out the principle that religious groups can be discriminated against when it comes to being told that they can’t require certain beliefs of their members."

He contends Christian groups on college campuses more and more are in the crosshairs of their opponents.

"They have been for probably the past generation, but I think the law is starting to move in that direction as well now," Sibley laments. "And so people who are involved with Christian groups who have beliefs that require that the other people in their groups share their beliefs, I think they are under a serious threat from the legal climate and the cultural climate on today’s college campuses."

The FIRE spokesman reports that the threatened Vanderbilt organizations have been negotiating with school officials, but their efforts have so far been unsuccessful.

Schools: Vanderbilt University Cases: Vanderbilt University: Refusal to Approve Constitutions of Student Groups that Require Leaders to Share Beliefs