March 09, 2018
Every club at Wayne State University gets to choose its own leaders, Greg Piper pointed out. Except one. Can you guess which? Try the school's Christian InterVarsity chapter.
By now, most of us aren't surprised to hear that higher education is intentionally targeting evangelicals. We've watched it happen at college campuses all across America – from Ivy Leagues like Harvard to schools like Wayne State. Usually, their stories are the same. Students dare to pick their leaders based on shared beliefs. No one would dream of asking sororities to accept men or secular groups to admit people of faith. But for some reason, it's perfectly acceptable to demand that Christians accept members who don't have a personal relationship with Jesus.
Amazingly, InterVarsity has been a part of Wayne University for the better part of a century and has never been ordered to accept non-Christians. That all changed in October when InterVarsity was told that it was violating the school's "nondiscrimination" code. Christina Garza, the chapter president at the time, asked why Greek life wasn't punished for violating the policy, since, by the school's definition, they practice sex discrimination. The coordinator for student life replied they were essentially allowed to disregard that rule.
Shortly after the controversy started, the university withdrew its recognition of the group, meaning that it no longer enjoys any of the benefits of an official club -- like free meeting space, advertising, website listings, and even campus funding. On Tuesday, the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty sued the school on InterVarsity's behalf. In the complaint, Becket argues: "It is not clear that this portion of the code applies to student organizations, since they are private organizations not run by Wayne State... 'However, Wayne State's current position is that it applies to the Chapter' but not the multitudes of other recognized clubs that 'openly place limitations on both membership and leadership,' including a new fraternity 'Wayne State was advertising.'"
Ironically, Becket went on, Wayne State is "actively violat[ing] its own policy in many of its programs" and "should focus on educating students instead of playing belief police." Less than 48 hours later, Wayne State started thinking twice about targeting Christians. Fox News announced this morning that "After a review of the situation and communicating with the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship organization, Wayne State has decided to recertify the group as an official student organization." How's that for a success story? This is what happens when we refuse to go away, when we stand and fight for our freedom. Congratulations to Becket and the courageous students of InterVarsity!
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.