A previously banned Christian group has been allowed to return to the campus of Wright State University in Ohio. The group Campus Bible Fellowship had previously been registered as a student organization for more than 30 years, but their renewal was rejected recently because they refused to incorporate certain nondiscrimination statements in their constitution. The required statements would have made it impossible for them to require that voting members be Christians or that they adhere to their statement of faith.
Campus Bible Fellowship turned for help to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), which informed the campus officials of the possible legal problems with their stance. Upon receiving letters from FIRE, Wright State backed down and allowed the group to meet on campus until the end of the term in May. The campus is avoiding putting anything in writing, and they may once again try to force the group to add the nondiscrimination clauses when they need to renew their registration after May. It seems that this situation is still in flux, and we should keep this Christian group in our prayers.
According to their web site, FIRE does not engage in litigation, but fortunately there are another organizations such as the Alliance Defense Fund and the Christian Legal Society that do go to court to defend the legal rights of Christian groups. A similar requirement for campus groups at Ohio State was changed after the filing of a lawsuit by the Christian Legal Society. In fact, such requirements in many universities are illegal violations of First Amendment rights, but the policies won’t be changed unless they are challenged.
This post is in the new Rights Watch category, which I have set up to report on issues related to our religious freedoms around the world. There are many efforts to curtail the freedom of Christians to live out and share their faith, and most of those situations never make their way into mainstream media. We need to be aware of our rights, and to pray for those who are fighting efforts to silence their witness.