College Christian Clubs May No Longer Require Their Leaders to be Christian
By Rev. Robert L. Rodenbush
The Chronicle of Higher Education reported that in September of 2014 California State University withdrew its official recognition from an on-campus Christian fellowship group because the group requires that the leaders of the group be Christian. Are they serious? College officials are calling these types of organizations “Exclusionary Religious Groups” and they will now be “barred from official events at which student groups recruit members” and they will likely have to pay to rent space for meetings, etc. Some private colleges have taken similar stands on this issue, including Bowdoin College, Vanderbilt and Tufts University.
Christian fellowship groups are being targeted by university officials despite the fact that these groups welcome any person who wishes to attend regardless of their religious beliefs, ethnicity or sexual orientation. Muslims, Jews and even atheists are welcome; sinners, fornicators, adulterers and homosexuals may attend. The issue at hand is whether or not these groups should be allowed to require that an individual accept the group’s statement of faith before being allowed to become an official member of the group or a leader of the group. An individual does not have to accept the group’s statement of faith to attend group functions or events; acceptance is only a prerequisite to membership or leadership in the group. It seems only logical that a member of a Christian club would be Christian and certainly that the president of the club be so. However, according to California State University this type of requirement is a violation of antidiscrimination policies.
These types of rulings are troublesome, and while for now they are only college campus policies and not laws; it is easy to see how this progression of thought can lead to legal complications and more persecution for Christians in the future. Imagine a nation where a church is not allowed to exclude a pastor’s application because he or she is not Christian, or because he or she is living a morally sinful, adulterous or homosexual lifestyle. Imagine a church not being able to require that its voting members believe and adhere to Christian doctrine. At this point, churches can uphold and require belief in a statement of faith; however, if we are educating college students today that statements of faith are exclusionary and must be eliminated to avoid discrimination will not these same people be tomorrow’s lawmakers and society’s future leaders? The enemy truly is going to and fro seeking any and every means possible no matter how illogical or outlandish to try to harass, undermine and ultimately devour the church. I Peter 5:8.