Skip to comments.College Group Told to Eliminate 'Personal Commitment to Jesus' in Bylaws
Posted on 04/27/2012 9:23:36 PM PDT by Iam1ru1-2
A Christian student group at Vanderbilt University has been told by the school's administration that it will lose its recognized status on campus unless the group removes its requirement that its leaders have a "personal commitment to Jesus Christ," says a Christian legal association.
Despite a discussion with school officials at the beginning of the year that led members of the group to believe their bylaws were approved, the group was told last week that the university's new policy barring religious groups from selecting members and leaders based on faith requirements will disqualify the group next school year.
The Christian Legal Society told The Christian Post on Friday that the small Christian student group, which wants to stay anonymous, received an email from the administration last Tuesday that stated that the group's application to keep its recognition was deficient because the group's constitution states the following:
"Criteria for officer selection will include level and quality of past involvement, personal commitment to Jesus Christ, commitment to the organization, and demonstrated leadership ability."
CLS said that the student group was told that in order to retain recognition, it must eliminate the requirement that leaders have a "personal commitment to Jesus Christ." The private university, located in Nashville, Tenn., dictated that the following sentence be substituted instead:
"Criteria for officer selection will include level and quality of past involvement, commitment to the organization, and demonstrated leadership ability."
Although they do not want to bring attention to themselves, the issue with Christian organizations at Vanderbilt has become enough of a problem on campus that the group does want to let others know about the situation, said CLS spokesperson Kim Colby.
"When they went over their constitution on Jan. 31 they had been told that their constitution is fine. This past Tuesday, they were told it's not fine unless you take out these five words: 'a personal commitment to Jesus Christ,' requirement for your leaders," Colby told CP. "They were told they would not be recognized next year which means they cannot reserve space, or attend the student fair, or be a part of email blasts from the college."
Recently, Christian students at Vanderbilt University organized a video campaign highlighting their concern for the university's new policy that they say discriminates against Christians.
The nearly seven-minute video features several university students, alumni, and sponsors speaking on their rights to freely express their religious association, and the importance of electing religious leaders to the university's student run organizations.
The video also claims that there is a disparity in university requirements for Greek organizations and religious organizations, as the university allows Greek organization to "discriminate" for leadership and membership positions.
Students protesting the "all-comers" policy have formed the group Vanderbilt Solidarity, consisting of 11 Christian groups and supported by the Alliance Defense Fund.
The 11 Christian groups that have formed the alliance include Asian American Christian Fellowship, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Cru, Medical Christian Fellowship, Navigators, Graduate Christian Fellowship, Bridges International, Lutheran Student Fellowship, Every Nation Ministries, Beta Upsilon Chi, and Christian Legal Society, according to Inside Vandy, Vanderbilt University's student newspaper.
Colby said that some Catholic student groups have decided not to try and reinstate themselves for next year and that some groups from the alliance have decided to comply with the university's new policy.
"By mandating the elimination of a Christian group's standard of 'personal commitment to Jesus Christ,' Vanderbilt requires students to abandon their religious integrity and undermines their religious freedoms," states CLS. "Leadership is crucial to the direction of any organization.
"Eliminating the requirement of a commitment to Jesus Christ in leaders takes away the group's ability to effectively fulfill its purpose and continue its ministry," CLS officials insisted. "By forcing religious groups to choose between remaining on campus and upholding their religious convictions, the university inhibits the development of a community based on freedom and inclusivity."
University officials continue to stand by the "all-comers" policy, arguing that the policy was initiated to prevent discrimination, and is not an issue of religious freedom.
"This debate is about nondiscrimination, not religious freedom, and we stand behind our policy," Beth Fortune, vice chancellor for public affairs at the university, previously told The Washington Post.
A comment from university officials about the administration's recent action could not be obtained at press time.
I’m going to go demand to be put in charge of the Muslim group. :)
Slooooooly the frog in the water is being boil to death.
This school is a state school and exists by statute, correct? If so, a simple vote of the legislature to eliminate all funding, or the school itself, should be threatened. Which party controls the legislature?
I don’t see the point in telling a Christian group they can’t have Christian bylaws. Who but a Christian would want to join such a thing.
If this is the same case I’ve been following, I’m not sure why CLS is not naming the group— it’s already been publicly stated that it’s the local Intervarsity Christian Fellowship chapter. They’re an Evangelical Protestant parachurch group, and the officials at Vandy have been lying to them from day one.
Further info: https://www.facebook.com/VUReligiousFreedom
“This school is a state school and exists by statute, correct? “
The private university, located in Nashville, Tenn.
And has been rank liberal for many years. Too many kalifornians infested it.
The good news is this: Many Vanderbilt alumni (who are continually being dunned for more money) have made it clear that they will contribute nothing further, until and unless Vanderbilt rescinds this rancid, politically correct policy.
The admin is right, a “personal commitment to Jesus Christ” is a little weak. I suggest replacing the phrase with “a life lived for the glory of the triune God with an absolute love and devotion to Him including striving to love Him with all their heart, all their soul, all their mind and all their strength and an acknowledgement that all things exist by Christ, for Him and to Him, He has all power and authority and is their all in all”. -— Yes that is much better!
I would suggest that in order to be a member of the Christian Club, prospective members should only be required to sign a statement of agreement with the larger Westminster Confession. Chances are that none of the Liberal Professors and Administrators would ever be able to decipher the underlying theme that this would require a REAL personal commitment to Jesus Christ.
While I subscribe to the WCF and the catechisms, it would eliminate baptists, self-aware Lutherans and most Presbyterians.
This is what Vanderbilt wrote to the head of the Muslim Brotherhood Chapter:
“Your constitution says that a member must have a personal commitment to Mohammed and to jihad.
Initially, we asked that those words be removed.
Since you have threatened to cut off our heads and sell our children into slavery, we have decided that it is absolutely OK to keep that requirement in your student chapter constitution.
OK, then the Shorter Westminster Confession. :-). Something with some teeth. Something that will confound the "wise."
That would make sense if it were a "Calvinist" club. But any "Christian" Club that would require members to sign the Westminster Confession would make about 80% of Christians ineligible for membership. Catholics wouldn't sign any document that declares the Pope is the Antichrist, and that the Roman Catholic mass is a form of idolatry. That makes as much sense as having an "Computer club" that forbids members to buy non-Apple products.
Which 1s more important, religious freedom or non-discrimination?
There will always be discrimination of some sort or another. Can I join the university woman’s softball team, since there is no men’s softball team. Can I join a sorority, if I am a guy? Can I use the men’s restroom if I am a woman? Can the Catholic group be forced to accept a Hindu as its president?
Not to mention Catholics, Orthodox, Assyrian Church of the East, and various other non-Calvinist protestants. In other words, the vast majority of practicing Christians would not be allowed to join such a "Christian" club.
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