5 Things You Should Know about Religious Freedom on Campus

When Christian students arrive on the campus of a public college or university, they discover it is not the free marketplace of ideas and tolerance as advertised.  Instead, the climate on many campuses is aggressively hostile to both faith and freedom.

Some schools are requiring that students violate their deeply held religious beliefs.  When the students fail to comply, they are punished with poor grades – or in extreme cases –  denied the degrees they have earned.

According to a student, a dean at the Georgia Institute of Technology tried to justify this antagonistic climate by telling her that Christians entering college “have been indoctrinated for the first 18 years of their lives by their parents and by their churches, and we only have four years to undo the damage.”

Religious freedom is clearly guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.  But Christian students on campuses across the country are being harassed, bullied, and silenced.  Christian student groups and campus ministries are being discriminated against, and even told that they cannot determine who can be a member or a leader.

Take the shocking case of Julea Ward

This Christian woman was kicked out of a graduate program in counseling simply because she held true to her Bible-based beliefs.  A nearly straight-A student with two master’s degrees already, Julea was just a few credits shy of her master’s in counseling at Eastern Michigan University.

As part of her training, she was assigned to counsel clients while a professor observed her techniques.  When she discovered she was scheduled to counsel an individual about a homosexual relationship, Julea recognized this as a “values-conflict” situation.

She knew she could not express approval of the homosexual behavior and remain true to her beliefs.  So, Julea consulted with her professor and the client was transferred to another counselor.

But because of her simple request, Julea was subjected to a grueling disciplinary process where she was pressured to abandon her convictions.

Julea held to her biblical beliefs, and a few days later she received a letter notifying her she had been expelled from the program. No degree, and all her time and money gone.

Alliance Defending Freedom came to Julea’s defense and challenged the school’s actions in federal court.  We won an important victory on her behalf in the U.S. Court of Appeals.

Unfortunately, Julea Ward is not a rare exception.  Violations of religious liberty happen continually on campuses in the United States.

5 Ways Colleges and Universities Attack Religious Freedom

You’ll be shocked at the unconstitutional tactics colleges and universities use to silence and intimidate Christians.  On campuses all across America, school officials:

·     Silence and Marginalize Christians – Repressive speech codes are designed to shut up anyone — especially Christians — whose views run contrary to the dominant secular view on campus.  A favorite tactic for schools across the country is to limit Christian student speech to certain days, times, or areas.  At the University of Houston, school officials forced students to restrict their free speech to a small, out-of-the-way area.

·     Attack Christians for “discrimination” – Schools use this tactic to undermine the ability of student religious groups to select members or leaders based on shared beliefs.  University of Florida officials refused to recognize the Christian fraternity Beta Upsilon Chi because it limited its membership to Christian men!

·     Force Christians to participate in objectionable activities – A Missouri State University student was ordered to write a letter to the state legislature expressing support for adoption by same-sex couples.  When she politely refused, her professor filed a serious academic charge against her and she faced the threat of having her degree withheld.

·     Deny funds and meeting space to Christian groups – The University of South Carolina denied student activity funds — available to all other groups — to a Christian student group just because it was a “religious organization.”

·     Punish Christian students and teachers – A young professor was a rising star in the University of North Carolina-Wilmington’s criminology and sociology department — until he began to speak out publicly about his Christian faith and conservative views.  The university then targeted him with numerous intrusive investigations and denied him promotion to full professor, even though he excelled in every area of evaluation.

Have you or your children experienced anti-Christian hostility on campus?  Join the conversation and share your experience.

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Learn more about how Alliance Defending Freedom is fighting for the rights of Christian students on university and college campuses, and how your tax-deductible year-end gift will provide vital resources needed to fight more legal battles in 2013.

Author: Alliance Defending Freedom