Thanks to my friend Benson Hines for bringing this case to my attention. Several years ago I heard about a campus ministry in California involved in a legal battle because an openly gay student attempted to run for president of a campus-based Christian club. Of course, the existing club members declined to allow him to run.
Obviously this young man’s beliefs didn’t mesh with that of the club and he had no business running for president, but now the club had a big problem: they’d accepted the state funds offered to all campus organizations (by the university) to finance activities for the year. Since state funds had been accepted, it was argued that state anti-discrimination laws applied, and I heard the organization was forced to dissolve on that campus. The reason: sexual discrimination. They’d refused to let a student run for office in the club based upon his sexual orientation, and he pressed charges and won the case.
Apparently this type of thing has happened more than once, and in order to avoid it I recommend Christian orgs refuse to accept state funds in the first place. State funds = possible legal problems.
Of course I’m happy for gay students or people who aren’t Christians to be my friend or to check out a meeting of an on-campus Christian club. The clubs exist in order to help people learn more about Christianity (namely, people who aren’t already Christians). It’s not like anyone is going to belittle you or be mean. In fact, you’ll find just the opposite – friends. I have many good buddies who don’t believe the same things I do and we get along just fine. Just because we have some differences doesn’t mean we can’t be friends, right?
But does it really make sense for someone who fundamentally opposes key doctrines of orthodox Christianity to be allowed to run for a leadership position in an orthodox Christian club?
What about this: would it make sense for a staunch Republican to be allowed to run for president of The College Democrats? How about a white dude running for president of the Black Student Union? Both of those scenarios are equally as ridiculous.
Whose beliefs are really being discriminated against here?