North Carolina passes bill that protects religious student organizations
- The bill will allow student organizations more autonomy in choosing their leaders.
- The measure prevents university administrators from withholding use of school facilities, funding, or denying recognition to political or religious groups.
The North Carolina House passed a measure last week to prohibit university administrators from denying facilities, funding, or recognition to political or religious groups on the basis that they are exclusionary.
The bill came in response to Christian groups that have been stripped of their student organization status because they did not allow students with other beliefs to become leaders in their organization.
The bill, which has now been passed by both chambers of the North Carolina legislature, awaits Governor Pat McCrory's (R) signature.
“Our society is engaged in an ongoing cultural battle,” said Rep. Bert Jones (R), the bill’s primary sponsor. “There is a war on God...Unfortunately these efforts have been extended to our campuses.”
The bill’s opponents claim that it gives student groups too much authority in allowing discrimination against those who do not adhere to their views. Rep. Alma Adams (D) stated that this bill would allow multiple lawsuits to come against the universities.
However, Rep. Jones argues that it is the state’s right to reaffirm the rights of students on campus.
“We need to make clear that just because a student decides to attend our public schools and universities … that does not somehow mean that the student forfeits his rights to the university. This bill also recognizes that there is an important difference between education and indoctrination coercion,” Jones said.
The bill passed the North Carolina House of Representatives by a vote of 78-37 last Wednesday. All 37 votes against the bill were cast by Democrats.
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