A Christian group that serves all 23 campuses in the California State University (CSU) system will be operating without official recognition this year.
InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, which describes its purpose as “to establish and advance at colleges and universities witnessing communities of students and faculty who follow Jesus as Savior and Lord” will no longer be recognized on campus because the require leaders to have Christian beliefs.
The loss of recognition comes as a result of an Executive Order issued by former CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed, which reads in part,
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“No campus shall recognize any fraternity, sorority, living group, honor society, or other student organization that discriminates on the basis of race, religion, national origin, ethnicity, color, age, gender, marital status, citizenship, sexual orientation, or disability.”
Reed retired at the end of 2012. His successor Timothy White granted religious groups a one-year exemption for the 2013-14 school year. But the CSU Chancellor’s office said no further exemption can be made, according to the InterVarsity website.
InterVarsity rebuffs the regulation on its website, citing that the policy gives exemptions for sororities and fraternities from gender discrimination, and feels it should be given comparable treatment.
“While we applaud inclusivity, we believe that faith-based communities like ours can only be led by people who clearly affirm historic Christian doctrine. The policy affects 23 chapters within the California State University system. The policy exempts sororities and fraternities from gender discrimination; we believe there should be a similar provision for creedal communities.”
Christianity Today writer Ed Stetzer admits that the move does not ban Christians and allows them to share their faith, but on a subpar level.
“But, now, what we once called ‘equal access’ has taken another hit–people of faith do not have equal access to the university community, like the environmentalist club, the LGBT organization, or the chess club.
Stetzer continues by explaining that “derecognition” is a new racism spreading on college campuses.
“It appears, increasingly, that Evangelical (and Catholic and Mormon believes are the new “racism” to be excluded from the free exchange of ideas at institutions of higher learning. For the safety and academic well-being of university students, Evangelicals must be organizationally separated (by derecognition) away from the scholastic populace.”
California is not the only place where this is happening. Stetzer cites Tish Warren’s experience of derecognition at Tennessee’s Vanderbilt University, where her chapter of InterVaristy went on probation in May 2011 and eventually lost full campus status, as she writes.
“After we lost our registered status, our organization was excluded from new student activity fairs…Because we were no longer allowed to use Vanderbilt’s name, we struggled to convey that we were a community of Vanderbilt students who met near campus.”
H/T The Blaze
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