Duke student senate denies Christian org recognition over traditional beliefs

The Christian student group, Young Life, does not plan on appealing the decision.

Duke University’s student government senate blocked a Christian group from being officially recognized after learning about a policy which prohibits LGBT individuals from holding leadership positions.

Duke University’s student government senate voted to deny recognition to a Christian group on Wednesday because of its leadership team requirements, which do not allow LGBT members to be on the leadership team.

Members of the student senate raised concerns about Young Life’s policy, according to The Duke Chronicle. The senate also talked about how this could discourage people who are LGBT from joining the club.

Rachel Baber, a Young-Life leader for Durham-Chapel Hill, said that the organization does have an “anti-discrimination clause” and will not stop LGBT people from joining the organization, according to the report.

[RELATED: DOJ slams U. of Iowa in Christian student group’s lawsuit]

The group’s sexual misconduct policy says that “we do not in any way wish to exclude persons who engage in sexual misconduct or who practice a homosexual lifestyle from being recipients of ministry of God’s grace and mercy as expressed in Jesus Christ,” according to the Chronicle. “We do, however, believe that such persons are not to serve as staff or volunteers in the mission and work of Young Life.” 

But one senator argued that Young Life could not be chartered because its national policies do not follow Duke University policies on nondiscrimination.

Tommy Hessel, a student senator, argued that if the Young Life group changed its policies to conform with the university nondiscrimination policy, it might get recognized, according to the report.

However, Jeff Bennett, a student at the Duke Divinity School and Young Life member, said that the organization cannot make policies that contradict those of its national organization.

[RELATED: Michigan school SUED after ‘discriminating against religious groups’]

Young Life’s mission is “introducing adolescents to Jesus Christ and helping them grow in their faith,” according to the group’s website.

Baber told Campus Reform that Young Life does not plan on appealing the student government’s decision.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @asabes10