Alliance Defending Freedom Defends Constitutional Protections on Campus
- By Alan Sears
- Posted Jul 17, 2012
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Last week, we reported some of the actions your support has enabled Alliance Defending Freedom to take in defending our children in tax-funded schools from the onslaughts of those pressing pornography and the homosexual agenda. This week, I’d like you to see how you’re enabling our attorneys to defend religious freedom at our state universities. For example:
On June 19, our attorneys sued Texas A&M University for unconstitutionally denying funding to Christian and political student organizations while providing funds to many other student groups. As currently written, A&M policies allow the administration to discriminate against ministries you support.
Last December, for instance, Texas Aggie Conservatives invited a well-known speaker to their campus to discuss poverty, race, and social justice issues in America from a political and religious perspective. They submitted a funding request to offset some of the costs of bringing in that guest. But university officials – who regularly grant such requests from other student groups – denied this one, saying funds “cannot be approved for recognized organizations with a classification of social and political issues.”
“Universities are supposed to be the marketplace of ideas, not a place where funding earmarked for student groups only goes to the ones the university prefers,” says Alliance Defending Freedom Legal Counsel David Hacker. (Hacker is working with Allied Attorney G. Scott Fiddler, who is serving as local counsel in the lawsuit.). “ADF has successfully litigated similar cases because the Constitution requires that political and faith-based student organizations not be targeted for discrimination based upon their viewpoints.”
Happily, we didn’t have to litigate for your freedom at Virginia Tech, where, until recently, the Student Activity Fee Allocation Policies and Procedures stated that “[o]rganizations will not be provided funding to support religious worship or religious proselytizing.” This, despite the fact that all students – even those enrolled in religious clubs and organizations – had to pay student activity fees.
Alliance Defending Freedom sent the university a legal memo explaining that its policy violated the First Amendment, and the university quickly removed the restriction from its policies, so that faith-based student groups can now receive funding for religious worship and similar activities.
The memo specifically referenced a significant lawsuit Alliance Defending Freedom won last year against the University of Wisconsin, in which the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit concluded that the university could not deny student activity fee funds to a Catholic student group on the grounds that the group held to a religious viewpoint.
Each of these cases is part of a nationwide effort Alliance Defending Freedom is making – on behalf of you and the Body of Christ – to change unconstitutional policies at public universities. It’s an effort that, by God’s grace, has met with enormous success so far. Please pray that He will continue to bless our attorneys, as they work with colleges and universities across America to secure and reaffirm First Amendment protections and religious freedom for young believers.
Author: Alan Sears