Phi Beta Cons

Religious Intolerance at Vandy

Should campus religious groups be allowed to require their leaders to actually — you know — hold the beliefs of the faith-based organizations they seek to lead? Carol Swain, author of the new book Be the People: A Call to Reclaim America’s Faith and Promise and professor of law and political science at Vanderbilt, has published an op-ed criticizing the university for attacking religious freedom in the name of political correctness. She writes:

Vanderbilt University’s Office of Religious Life quietly deferred its annual approval of several mostly conservative Christian organizations.

Groups affected included the Christian Legal Society, InterVarsity and the graduate chapter of Campus Crusade. These organizations face an uncertain future because of a new policy that prohibits religious organizations from requiring that their leaders share the same beliefs and goals of the organizations they seek to lead. The policy goes one step further by hamstringing Bible studies.

According to a letter from the acting director of the Office of Religious Life, Bible studies are suspect because they “would seem to indicate that officers are expected to hold certain beliefs.’’ The letter goes on to explain: “Vanderbilt policies do not allow this expectation/qualification for officers.’’

If this policy is implemented, it will make it harder for the students to have on-campus fellowship with like-minded believers and it will make it more difficult for them to grow in or even maintain their faith while on campus. The policy sends a clear message to students: religious associations are not a valued or respected part of the university’s ideological diversity.

This hastily conceived policy has the potential to destroy every religious organization on campus by secularizing religion and allowing intolerant conflict. Carried to its logical extension, it means that no organization can maintain integrity of beliefs. Christians can seek to lead Muslim organizations, Muslims can seek to lead Jewish ones, and Wiccans can seek to lead Catholic fellowships. The policy encourages people holding antithetical views to infiltrate organizations they seek to destroy.

Universities and colleges around the country are increasingly seeking to impose secular ideology upon religious organizations under the guise of political correctness.

It’s a typical ultra-P.C. story — advancing intolerance in the name of tolerance.

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