Christian campus groups win in federal court

(Baptist Standard) Federal courts recently delivered victories to student faith-based groups that were kicked off state university campuses for requiring their leaders to be Christians.

Wayne State University in Detroit violated the First Amendment rights of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship by revoking its status as a religious student organization, a federal judge in Michigan said in an April 5 opinion.

On March 22, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis ruled administrators at the University of Iowa were personally liable for violating the free speech and expressive-association rights of Business Leaders in Christ.

Southern Baptist religious freedom specialist Travis Wussow said the cases “highlight just how far outside the bounds of the Constitution these university administrators were acting in both cases.”

“I’m glad that these federal courts ruled what is plainly obvious—that government officials cannot target students and discriminate against their groups because they are religious,” said Wussow, general counsel and vice president for public policy of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.

“Such double-standard viewpoint discrimination is as incoherent of a policy as it is injurious to a university community. I know firsthand how valuable a Christian campus ministry is to one’s college career and character formation.”