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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Vandy bans religious clubs for bible study

Guess why?

Thats right. Vanderbilt University is in the process of getting rid of religious clubs because they require their leader to lead a bible study course....

members and advisers of some of the groups said they were being unfairly singled out for expecting their officers to hold certain beliefs. The Vanderbilt chapter of the Christian Legal Society has rewritten its bylaws to include language that supports the university’s diversity policies. But when Vanderbilt asked the club to remove a requirement that the group president lead Bible studies, the club drew the line.

“Our group will no longer be able to exist,” said law student Justin Gunter, one of the chapter’s leaders.

“Vanderbilt has launched an assault on religious groups on campus,” ...

...National attention
The controversy, which has started to draw national attention, comes about a year after a gay Vanderbilt student complained about being dismissed from Beta Upsilon Chi, a Christian fraternity. Vanderbilt said it then worked to ensure that more than 300 student organizations were complying with the nondiscrimination policy.

“As a higher education institution, Vanderbilt encourages and supports diversity of thought and opinion among our students, faculty and staff — this is one of the cornerstones of an academic environment,” the statement said. “We also recognize that student organizations help enrich the out-of-classroom experience for our campus community and want to be certain that all of our students have an opportunity to participate in the student organizations that interest them.”

The Christian Legal Society’s bylaws require its officers to “lead Bible studies, prayer and worship at chapter meetings.” The university’s Office of Religious Life pointed out that the requirement means officers are expected to hold certain beliefs — contrary to Vanderbilt policy.

In a letter last week to Vanderbilt Chancellor Nicholas Zeppos, the Philadelphia-based Foundation for Individual Rights in Education said the university’s Office of Religious Life had objected to “the Biblical passage of Romans 1:21-32” in the Christian Legal Society’s constitution. That passage says, in part, that God punished men and women by “(giving) them over to shameful lusts” as punishment for worshiping false idols and failing to glorify God.

“Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones,” one part of the passage reads in the New International Version of the Bible. “In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.”

The foundation, which supports the Christian Legal Society’s cause, wrote to Zeppos that the group had submitted a new constitution but was still running into resistance from the administration.

“The message here is clear: Vanderbilt believes that its institutional ideological beliefs should take precedence over students’ own beliefs or consciences, particularly when it comes to its students’ attitudes towards sexual activity,” wrote Robert L. Shibley, FIRE’s senior vice president.

The legal society’s “community life statement” lists several behaviors that members promise not to engage in, including “sexual relations other than within a marriage between one man and one woman.”


  1. 2 words: private university.

    I think that instead of bending a group to your will, provide equal space and promotion to the opposing groups. But none of that matters as the statement of 'private university' is in effect.

  2. This certainly diminishes the tendency to use the word "intelligence" with regard to descriptions of the Vanderbilt environment.


  3. Interesting that FIRE has already dealt with this same issue (college administration forcing requirements of student organization officers - not the admitted members) with both private (Tufts) and public (UNC Chapel Hill and Rutgers) universities. None went to trial. The college backed down each time.

    Now, it's another "private" university, so the state can't tell them what to do, according to the sodomite sympathizers.

    Isn't this the exact opposite of their position just a few months back on the Metro Nashville vendor contracts? It seemed completely reasonable for them to dictate discrimination policies to private business back then.

    I guess it just depends on whom is being discriminated against.


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