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If you haven’t kept up to speed on what’s going on at Vanderbilt University, see this summary from Albert Mohler’s longer article:

Vanderbilt’s administration decided to push secularism to the extreme — launching a virtual vendetta against religious organizations on campus. Officials of the university informed religious groups that had been recognized student organizations that they would have to comply with an absolute non-discrimination policy. This means that religious organizations (primarily Christian) must now allow any Vanderbilt student to be a candidate for a leadership office, regardless of religious beliefs or sexual orientation. In other words, a Christian student group would be forced to allow the candidacy of an atheist. A group of Christians who believe in the Bible’s standard of sexual morality would be required to allow the candidacy of a homosexual member. There can be absolutely no discrimination, the university insists, even if that means that Christian organizations are no longer actually Christian.

In reality, that is the aim. The university is embarrassed again — this time by the mere presence of Christian organizations on its campus. It will deal with that embarrassment by eliminating the right of Christian organizations to operate on Christian principles. It will impose its own Stalinist definition of tolerance and freedom and deny the right of Christian students to participate in recognized campus organizations that can remain authentically Christian.

The provost of the university recently defended the policy, stating that student organizations may elect their own leaders, but may not disqualify any candidate based on, among other things, religious beliefs or sexual orientation.

See also David French’s post at, “Vanderbilt University Insults Our Intelligence.” An excerpt:

The reality, of course, is that Vanderbilt is trying to force the orthodox Christian viewpoint off campus. The “nondiscrimination” rhetoric is mere subterfuge. How can we know this? Because even as it works mightily to make sure that atheists can run Christian organizations, it is working just as mightily to protect the place and prerogatives of Vanderbilt’s powerful fraternities and sororities — organizations that explicitly discriminate, have never been open to “all comers,” and cause more real heartache each semester for rejected students than any religious organization has ever inflicted in its entire history on campus. Vanderbilt’s embattled religious organizations welcome all students with open arms; Vanderbilt’s fraternities and sororities routinely reject their fellow students based on little more than appearance, family heritage, or personality quirks.

This is an important week on campus, as the Board of Trustees gathers and the students have planned several events of prayer, awareness, and hospitality. They’ve also produced this helpful video:

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6 thoughts on “Religious Freedom under Attack at Vanderbilt University”

  1. Alex Philip says:

    I am saddened and frustrated by this. I am also curious how other religious groups are responding to this ruling. I assume that the same implications of this ruling would land in the laps of Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist and the secular humanists/ free thought societies at Vanderbilt.

  2. What would happen if a large majority of a particular belief were to take over a minority group on campus? Let’s say that the majority of students believe that homosexuality is wrong. What if they were to join a pro homosexual group and put people in leadership who believed that homosexuality is an aberrant behavior? What would protect a minority group from being invaded and controlled by a hostile group? This policy obviously is not logical and can’t work.

  3. Bill says:

    One of the ironies is that this week their magazine for athletics fundraising was bragging on several athletes that went on a spring break mission trip with FCA, one of the displaced ministries.

  4. David Shane says:

    Perhaps in the interest of not-discriminating, the university should give all students a degree, regardless of academic achievement.

    We’ve got to stop talking about “discrimination” without additional modifying words. Most distinctions we make in life, most discrimination we do, is perfectly reasonable. But the wrong word can confuse our thinking.

  5. June says:

    “What if they were to join a pro homosexual group and put people in leadership who believed that homosexuality is an aberrant behavior? What would protect a minority group from being invaded and controlled by a hostile group?”

    Am I the only one to read this and wonder why someone would invest their time in doing this? What would they possibly stand to gain of control in a group that they had no real stake in? Seems slightly paranoid…

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Justin Taylor, PhD

Justin Taylor is executive vice president of book publishing and book publisher for Crossway and blogs at Between Two Worlds. You can follow him on Twitter.

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