California 'derecognized' Christian ministry for requiring leaders be Christian
California's State University school system has “derecognized” the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship (IVCF) on discriminatory grounds for requiring that group leaders be Christian.
The California State University (CSU) system, the largest university system in America with 450,000 students, has refused to grant an exemption from a 2012 anti-discrimination policy that requires all recognized student groups open leadership roles to all students.
“[W]hile we applaud inclusivity, we believe that faith-based communities like ours can only be led by people who clearly affirm historic Christian doctrine.”
“This new CSU policy does not allow us to require that our leaders be Christian,” InterVarsity said in an article addressing California State University System policy conflict with InterVarsity's Doctrinal Basis.
“[W]hile we applaud inclusivity, we believe that faith-based communities like ours can only be led by people who clearly affirm historic Christian doctrine,” the organization wrote.
The anti-discrimination policy has precluded IVCF’s 23 chapters from recruiting during student activity fairs and from utilizing free access to rooms reserved for recognized student groups.
CSU’s policy states that “[s]tudent organizations shall deliver to the vice president for student affairs or his/her designee a statement signed by the president or similar officer of the local student organization attesting that the organization has no rules or policies that discriminate on the basis of race, religion, national origin, ethnicity, color, age, gender, marital status, citizenship, sexual orientation, or disability.”
“Following the same logic, any group that insists on requiring its leaders to follow an agreed upon set of guiding beliefs is no longer kosher (irony intended) at California’s state universities,” wrote Christianity Today’s Ed Stetzer.
“This will impact many other faith-based organizations with actual, well, faith-based beliefs. Presumably, even People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals would have to allow Oscar Meyer to lead their campus chapters.”
The CSU system has previously granted exemptions for sororities and fraternities that discriminate on the basis of gender, an exemption that has IVCF requesting “similar provision[s] for creedal communities.”
As Christianity Today reports, InterVarsity has previously been “derecognized” by Tufts University, Rutgers, SUNY Buffalo, Bowdoin College, and the University of North Carolina for defying anti-discrimination policies.
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @CalebBonham