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Tulane Honors Program

Thursday, January 27, 2005

The Chronicle: 1/28/2005: Choosing Their Flock

This story at the Chronicle (this link is a 5 day free link) outlines the debate going on at several schools over whether or not evangelical Christian organizations are allowed to discriminate (i.e., not allow to join their group) people who do not hold their beliefs, viz., are gay or hold what the group views as heterodox beliefs. One snippet:
Meanwhile, the two sides continue battling. Proponents of nondiscrimination policies, including college administrators and gay-rights advocates, say Christian student groups that flout the rules should forfeit the subsidies that officially recognized groups receive.
...
However, the groups and their supporters say there is a higher principle at stake. Requiring a Christian-student association to admit non-Christians or gay people, "would be like requiring a vegetarian group to admit meat eaters," asserts Jordan Lorence, a senior lawyer at the Alliance Defense Fund, which is based in Scottsdale, Ariz. "It would be like forcing the College Democrats to accept Republicans."
I know that at least one regular reader of this blog has dealt with this on Tulane's campus. What do Tulanians think about this issue?

4 Comments:

  • At Tulane, all of the USG-recognised religious organizations, although not required to, have non-discrimination clauses regarding membership. Theoretically, then, the Wesley Foundation could engineer a takeover of the BCM.

    The way USG groups are set up, a group cannot receive funding if it is politically active, religiously focused, or discriminatory. (There was an attempt last year to allow political and religious, but not discriminatory groups to receive funding.) Since Tulane is pretty laid-back and I doubt Chi Alpha is going to attempt a hostile acquisition of Hillel anytime soon (or vice versa), nor would the gay-rights group try to take over a conservative religious organization. This problem is faced at other schools. It would have been a bit more interesting had access to funding been granted. The bigger problem at other schools where these type of orgs receive funding involves fairness in granting funding or deciding who meets the categories for funding.

    At any rate, I think that all organizations should be recognized if there is a specified level of student interest. But I also think that if an organization chooses to be discriminatory in its membership (keep in mind that discrimination is a neutral term and that it is beneficial for many organizations), it should be willing to go it alone for funding. I would not join a religious organization willing to compromise its mission and doctrine for money.

    Jesus was not too confident about the prospects of serving both God and mammon.

    Just some fact and comment.

    By Blogger Evan, at 4:43 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger Cb, at 9:17 PM  

  • I tend to agree with Evan but for a different view on this see: The Professor Notes

    By Blogger Cb, at 9:20 PM  

  • I think the "Professor" hits the nail on the head. It is quite "odd" for those two clearly non-Christian characters to inquire about membership to the group in question; it seems they were looking for an argument. But they still raise a topic for discussion. The comment comparing this to forcing a vegetarian group to admit meat eaters is what got me interested; I'm president of the Green Club here at Tulane, and we have fairly frequent vegetarian pot luck dinners, which numerous omnivores attend. We're not the vegetarian society or anything, but we do hold events focused solely on this lifestyle. We don't provide meat or allow meat dishes at our dinners, but we don't turn away people who think vegetarianism is ridiculous. If angry meat eaters want to come tell us that we're crazy or stupid or unhealthy, they are welcome. But I don't think these types would last long as the small minority in a group full of confident "believers" who aren't about to change their minds, just as those two Ohio characters would probably grow weary of being a thorn in the side of an evangelical Christian group. So I say let them in and enjoy some criticism, especially since they'll probably get tired of their futility pretty quickly and leave on their own.

    By Blogger lindsay, at 4:05 PM  

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