UCCS refuses to recognize Christian group, so the group sues

A Christian student organization is suing the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs for allegedly dragging its feet on giving the group official university recognition.

Christian nonprofit Alliance Defending Freedom is representing Ratio Christi in the lawsuit, which asserts that the student group has tried to become a recognized student organization at UCCS for nearly three years.

“The First Amendment dictates that the ‘marketplace of ideas’ on a public university cannot prefer some viewpoints and cannot exile or denigrate others,” Ratio Christi states in the lawsuit. “It also dictates that the government cannot force a religious organization to appoint as a leader someone who does not share that organization’s beliefs or to accept as a member someone who does not support its mission.”

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“As this student organization seeks to advance, teach, and defend Christian beliefs, it requires that its officers must share and personally hold those Christian beliefs,” the group explains. “And it requires that its members, those who influence its overall direction, generally support its mission.”

Ratio Christi describes itself as an organization that provides a safe venue to explore and discuss Christianity.

“We desire to partner in taking back the mind of the University for Christ,” the group states. “By equipping Christian students we believe many students will not only hold onto a faith that they might otherwise abandon, but they will also begin to stand up for Christianity when it comes under fire in the classroom. 

ADF said in a news release that students of any faith can attend Ratio Christi events and become a member of the group, so long as they are on board with the group’s mission. But Ratio Christi mandates that its leaders are Christian.

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The nonprofit said that, because of this restriction, UCCS has denied to register Ratio Christi, curbing its access to funds, help from administrators, and space to host events.

“Like any other student group at a public university, religious student organizations should be free to choose their leaders without the government meddling,” ADF senior counsel Travis Barham said in the news release. 

Barham argued that the UCCS should not dictate how student groups pick their leaders. He suggested that it would be absurd to have a student with opposing views as a leader of a Christian club.

UCCS did not return a request for comment in time for press.

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