Southern Illinois University

Southern Illinois University has this *crazy* rule that says campus groups cannot discriminate against potential members. An African-American group cannot say no to a white person joining, a feminist group cannot say no to a male joining… you get the idea.

But when a Christian group says no to a gay student joining, that’s ok. They are exempt from the rules.

An article about the issue appeared in the Chicago Tribune.

For the record, SIU said no to the club’s recognition, but the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals forced them to reinstate the group as the pending lawsuit is still being resolved.

What is this group? According to SIU’s website:

“The Christian Legal Society is a national network of law students and lawyers who integrate faith, law, service and ethics. We address current issues, strive for spiritual growth and accountability, seek to reach out to the community, and strive to follow Jesus Christ in all things.”

Clearly, that is code for “No gays.”

It’s sad that groups like this believe that one’s sexual orientation is more important than the idea that someone wants to be closer to Christ. It seems to go again the ultimate goal of the group.

The group claims they’re not discriminating again the student’s orientation but rather on his religious beliefs. Because as we all know, no gay people are allowed to be Christian…

They also say that they would exclude anyone who has sex outside of marriage as well as those who support that practice. I have no idea how they would find this information out… but I would imagine this rule is not enforced as passionately as the no-gay rule is.

It’s one thing to have your beliefs on pre-marital sex or homosexuality. But you would hope that a “Christian Legal Society” of all groups would be eager to talk about those issues and debate them instead of avoiding the whole situation as if their minds were already made up.

At least you never see atheist groups doing something like this.

[tags]Christian Legal Society, Southern, Illinois, University, SIU, gay[/tags]

  • Siamang

    I support this group’s first Amendment right to choose its own membership.

    I however think what they did with this right is despicable.

    The college campus may further be within its rights to expel the group, as they have a first amendment right to choose which organizations belong as an official campus group.

  • Julie marie

    I find it despicable that any one would use the teachings of Jesus to exclude. I long for the day when groups who do this lose credibility in the eyes of fellow believers.

    In preparation for our move to the deep south, my husband and I were setting up appts to look at houses to rent. I rejected one that was in our price range based on the owners comment “well this is a fine christian neighborhood and I want to keep it that way.” Now…for those of you who don’t know me, I am a christian. sometimes I’m fine, and sometimes I’m not…but this man’s comment was a red flag to me. What I heard is “we don’t want no body who aint our own kind livin’ heah.”

    In one of those truth is stranger than fiction twists, my husband contacted the same man, and made an appt. to view the house. We fought the urge to turn around and leave when we drove down the street — past rusting washing machines in the front yards and sagging chain link fences. The owner talked exclusively to my husband, completely unaware that I was the one with the credit history and the veto power, until it came to the newest upgrade to the house…just for the little lady, a dishwasher. Which opened into the dining room, for even greater convienience. keeping that guffaw down hurt. Chris and I figured what the heck, skip rinsing the dishes, just let the dog lick ‘em and then pop em in the dishwasher.

    anyways, the point of my rambling story is this: its easy to dismiss ignorance when it occurs lower down the socioeconomic ladder. this man and his small ideas and small world didn’t pose any real threat to me; the worst thing that happened was I almost choked on my laughter. but when a professional group does the same thing, that concerns me more. and when they do it in the name of the Lord, that infuriates me.

  • David

    I count myself a Christian as well, and I am appalled that such a group could be so hypocritical. Anytime any person sets up a hierarchy of “sins,” they have forfeited their right to speak on behalf of Christianity. I would guess some of them lie on occasion, maybe even yell at their parents, probably harbor bitterness against someone else, etc. But of course these are sins they can keep private. There’s a word for such people: pharisees.

  • Eliza

    The description of the group includes: “We address current issues, strive for spiritual growth and accountability, seek to reach out to the community, and strive to follow Jesus Christ in all things.”

    I’d like to see the place in the Bible where Jesus said he didn’t want to be around gay people. I would SO like to learn the citation for that…because it doesn’t exist.

    I’d like to know how excluding some people – even if they seem to be “sinners” of one sort (not, as David said, of other allowable sorts) – is reaching out to the community or striving to follow Jesus Christ in all things.

    I’d like to know why, if other groups on this campus cannot restrict their membership one iota, why this group can. (I can’t open the Chicago Tribune article, have to be registered w/ them.) Seems to me not unreasonable for campus groups to have explicit criteria for membership, & expect that members would meet those criteria…and anyone who felt excluded could appeal to Administration on an individual basis, or certainly could start his/her own group. Why treat these folks with kid gloves?

  • Mike C

    I think what this Christian group was totally wrong and the opposite of what Jesus himself would have done.

    On the other hand, like Siamang, I support their right to define their own membership requirements. I think it’s rather goofy for the University to tell all the other campus groups that they have to let any and everyone join. Should the African-American group be forced to let a white supremicist join? (Please note, I’m not intending any comparison between gays and white supremicists… just making a situational analogy.)

    However, if those are the rules that apply to all the other groups then they should apply to the Christian group too. The rules should be consistent across the board. Either every group is allowed to pick and choose their members or none of them can. No special exceptions.

    Just my .02


  • Hemant

    Mike– I agree with your principle but not the analogy. A white supremicist would be purposely trying to circumvent the group and its goals. A gay person in a Christian group still is Christian and really *wants* to be a part of the group. Which is why I have a problem with the SIU group dismissing him.

    – Hemant

  • Doreen

    Just sickening. So, they exclude Gays and fornicators. What about liars, fat people (gluttony, dontcha now), people who eat shrimp (Leviticus, dontcha know), and sorority/frat girls/boys who get plastered every other night?

    Quite a slippery slope.