Your religion mustn’t affect your life!

Vanderbilt is doubling down on its insistence that Christian groups on campus must admit non-Christians.  What’s interesting is hearing the university try to justify that.  Robert Shibley of the civil liberty group FIRE quotes Vanderbilt’s provost explaining the policy to a gathering of students, answering a question from someone in the Christian Legal Society:

VANDERBILT LAW STUDENT AND CLS MEMBER PALMER WILLIAMS: I am a little confused by the fact that under your policy, I can gather with a group of my friends, or a group of like-minded people, I can state my beliefs, but as soon as I go as far as writing down what we believe in, and then try to live by those beliefs as a community on campus, then I’m not allowed to do that.

VICE CHANCELLOR [RICHARD] MCCARTY: What I’m going to challenge you to do, [is] to be open to a member that doesn’t share your faith beliefs who could be a wonderful member of CLS, maybe even a leader. But we’re not saying you have to vote for that person. We’re simply saying that person, who maybe does not profess allegiance to Jesus Christ as his or her Lord and Savior, should be allowed to run for office in CLS. Maybe it’s not chair or president, maybe it’s a person who is amazing at social outreach. It would still be consistent with your goals of serving the underserved with legal advice and legal services, but maybe isn’t Christian but they endorse what you’re trying to do. Give that person a chance. . . . Now let me give you another example, and this would affect all of you. I’m Catholic. What if my faith beliefs guided all of the decisions I make from day to day?

[At this point, the crowd applauds the idea that people should live according to their faith.]

No they shouldn’t! No they shouldn’t! No they shouldn’t! No they shouldn’t! [Disagreement from crowd.] Well, I know you do, but I’m telling you that as a Catholic I am very comfortable using my best judgment as a person to make decisions. As a Catholic, if I held that life begins at conception, I’d have a very big problem with our hospital. Right? Would I not? . . . I would, but I don’t. . . . We don’t want to have personal religious views intrude on good decisionmaking on this campus. They can guide your personal conduct, but I’m not going to let my faith life intrude. I’ll do the best I can at making good decisions, but I’m not going to impose my beliefs on others, not going to do it.

Comments Mr. Shibley:  “Yes, you just heard the vice chancellor of Vanderbilt University tell students that they shouldn’t let their religious views intrude on their decisionmaking. That their religious beliefs should not guide their day-to-day actions. That people who reject faith in Jesus Christ should be given a chance as leaders of a Christian group (he later adds that Muslim groups must retain leaders who have lost faith in Allah). And to top it off, he uses the fact that as a Catholic, he has no problem with the abortions performed in Vanderbilt’s hospital as an example of what is expected.”

via The Fallout from Christian Legal Society – Robert Shibley – National Review Online.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Pete

    Newspeak

  • Pete

    Newspeak

  • SKPeterson

    I’m not sure VUMC performs abortions. They are involved in embryonic stem cell research: http://www.vcscb.org/

  • SKPeterson

    I’m not sure VUMC performs abortions. They are involved in embryonic stem cell research: http://www.vcscb.org/

  • Michael B.

    “Vanderbilt is doubling down on its insistence that Christian groups on campus must admit non-Christians.”

    I’m very opposed to any group being forced to admit members. I would go so far as to say that racist golf clubs should be able to deny membership to blacks if they wish. Having said that, the second a group accepts government or university funding, they give up this right. Don’t expect to get university funding, use university resources, and not expect to play by the university’s rules.

  • Michael B.

    “Vanderbilt is doubling down on its insistence that Christian groups on campus must admit non-Christians.”

    I’m very opposed to any group being forced to admit members. I would go so far as to say that racist golf clubs should be able to deny membership to blacks if they wish. Having said that, the second a group accepts government or university funding, they give up this right. Don’t expect to get university funding, use university resources, and not expect to play by the university’s rules.

  • Dan Kempin

    This is comical, or would be if it were not a real life conversation.

    You can believe what you believe, as long as you don’t actually, really, BELIEVE it.

  • Dan Kempin

    This is comical, or would be if it were not a real life conversation.

    You can believe what you believe, as long as you don’t actually, really, BELIEVE it.

  • helen

    Michael B @ 3
    Don’t expect to get university funding, use university resources, and not expect to play by the university’s rules.

    The “university’s resources which should be available to CLS in this case are paid for by the students. Do you think then, that these students will be excused from paying “activity fees” which support all campus organizations and pay for meeting spaces provided, etc., if they are not allowed to use the facilities?

    If they are not excused, you are saying that they have to pay for the anti-Christian clubs/administrative rules which are trying to put them out of existence! Where is the “tolerance” here for Christian groups?

    Substitute an orthodox Jewish club… and see how far you’d get telling them that they had to accept an atheist in office. The trouble with Christians is that they don’t have the equivalent of ACLU!

    ABC… Anybody But Christian… is an attitude which exists on too many university campuses.

  • helen

    Michael B @ 3
    Don’t expect to get university funding, use university resources, and not expect to play by the university’s rules.

    The “university’s resources which should be available to CLS in this case are paid for by the students. Do you think then, that these students will be excused from paying “activity fees” which support all campus organizations and pay for meeting spaces provided, etc., if they are not allowed to use the facilities?

    If they are not excused, you are saying that they have to pay for the anti-Christian clubs/administrative rules which are trying to put them out of existence! Where is the “tolerance” here for Christian groups?

    Substitute an orthodox Jewish club… and see how far you’d get telling them that they had to accept an atheist in office. The trouble with Christians is that they don’t have the equivalent of ACLU!

    ABC… Anybody But Christian… is an attitude which exists on too many university campuses.

  • kenneth

    To suggest that Islam would allow an atheist into their membership is quite incredible. The first act would be to offer your head and then with a cry, Alha Akbar, then a dull chop of the sword.

    According to their own book Islamist’s cannot believe otherwise than to believe against the evidence of that it’s faith is truthful and they are directed to kill apostates and the kapher or unbelieving others.

    If such nonsense continues to be pushed by irresponsible “leaders” tolerance will have become newsspeak ineed!

  • kenneth

    To suggest that Islam would allow an atheist into their membership is quite incredible. The first act would be to offer your head and then with a cry, Alha Akbar, then a dull chop of the sword.

    According to their own book Islamist’s cannot believe otherwise than to believe against the evidence of that it’s faith is truthful and they are directed to kill apostates and the kapher or unbelieving others.

    If such nonsense continues to be pushed by irresponsible “leaders” tolerance will have become newsspeak ineed!

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Vanderbilt is doubling down on its insistence that Christian groups on campus must admit non-Christians.”

    Is free association no longer a right?

    I mean, can we say if we get welfare, we no longer have the right to free speech?

    Why is it that groups that take government money shouldn’t lose their right to free speech, but do lose their right to free association?

    Is the right to free association the stepchild of the Bill of Rights or is it really a right?

    Or are only certain groups permitted free association?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Vanderbilt is doubling down on its insistence that Christian groups on campus must admit non-Christians.”

    Is free association no longer a right?

    I mean, can we say if we get welfare, we no longer have the right to free speech?

    Why is it that groups that take government money shouldn’t lose their right to free speech, but do lose their right to free association?

    Is the right to free association the stepchild of the Bill of Rights or is it really a right?

    Or are only certain groups permitted free association?

  • http://www.facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    Vanderbilt’s policy seems pretty intolerant to me. What they’re really saying is that religious organizations aren’t welcome on campus.

    Who’d a-thunk that such champions of tolerance could be so intolerant themselves?

  • http://www.facebook.com/mesamike Mike Westfall

    Vanderbilt’s policy seems pretty intolerant to me. What they’re really saying is that religious organizations aren’t welcome on campus.

    Who’d a-thunk that such champions of tolerance could be so intolerant themselves?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Wondering about students and academic opportunity, I googled enrollment christian colleges. I found an interesting but old list of articles:

    http://www.cccu.org/news/pressroom/cccu_in_the_news

    One article in particular caught my eye.
    Excerpt:

    Enrollment skyrocketed from 135,000 in 1990 to 230,000 in 2004 at the 102 campuses that belong to the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. Thats an increase of 70 percent. Enrollment at nonreligious private colleges grew only 28 percent, while enrollment at public universities increased by 13 percent over the same period.

    So, while we all have to pay for public colleges, some are paying extra to go to Christian colleges.

    I am assuming that the 13% increase in public enrollment is a much large number of students in absolute number than 70% increase in enrollment at those Christian colleges.

    I checked Concordia Wisconsin. They have doubled enrollment in the past 15 years. Lutheran Reporter records record enrollment.

    Does anyone know more about this trend?

    Back onto the immediate topic. I find it annoying that Vanderbilt founded the university and had it run by the Methodists, but now the Christians can’t even have a club in a school built by Christians. It seems there is a pattern. Christians build some school, like Harvard, then secularists come in and take over. Why don’t secularists do their own thing? Secularist love to discriminate against Christians, which is not allowed by the Constitution, but fuss and whine when Christians practice their religion, which is allowed. Free speech and free exercise of religion are protected. Secularists think they have the right to interfere with or stifle speech and free exercise of religion on their allegedly implied separation of church and state doctrine and from there deny religionists and others the rights clearly stated. If we think it is bad now, imagine how bad it would be if didn’t have the Bill of Rights.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Wondering about students and academic opportunity, I googled enrollment christian colleges. I found an interesting but old list of articles:

    http://www.cccu.org/news/pressroom/cccu_in_the_news

    One article in particular caught my eye.
    Excerpt:

    Enrollment skyrocketed from 135,000 in 1990 to 230,000 in 2004 at the 102 campuses that belong to the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities. Thats an increase of 70 percent. Enrollment at nonreligious private colleges grew only 28 percent, while enrollment at public universities increased by 13 percent over the same period.

    So, while we all have to pay for public colleges, some are paying extra to go to Christian colleges.

    I am assuming that the 13% increase in public enrollment is a much large number of students in absolute number than 70% increase in enrollment at those Christian colleges.

    I checked Concordia Wisconsin. They have doubled enrollment in the past 15 years. Lutheran Reporter records record enrollment.

    Does anyone know more about this trend?

    Back onto the immediate topic. I find it annoying that Vanderbilt founded the university and had it run by the Methodists, but now the Christians can’t even have a club in a school built by Christians. It seems there is a pattern. Christians build some school, like Harvard, then secularists come in and take over. Why don’t secularists do their own thing? Secularist love to discriminate against Christians, which is not allowed by the Constitution, but fuss and whine when Christians practice their religion, which is allowed. Free speech and free exercise of religion are protected. Secularists think they have the right to interfere with or stifle speech and free exercise of religion on their allegedly implied separation of church and state doctrine and from there deny religionists and others the rights clearly stated. If we think it is bad now, imagine how bad it would be if didn’t have the Bill of Rights.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Who’d a-thunk that such champions of tolerance could be so intolerant themselves?”

    They want people to tolerate them. They have no interest in tolerating anyone who disagrees with them.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Who’d a-thunk that such champions of tolerance could be so intolerant themselves?”

    They want people to tolerate them. They have no interest in tolerating anyone who disagrees with them.

  • Tyler

    Dr. Veith, this happend a couple years back at my local university. The University of Montana made the same demand of the CLS. The CLS sued in response claiming a violation of their First Amendment right of assembly. The entire episode has been quite interesting.

    http://www.foxnews.com/us/2010/04/19/court-hear-arguments-campus-christian-group/

    In sum, this argument sums down to the question: Can individuals “discriminate” (in the sense that they keep people out, not deny rights) to promote an idea? or belief? This was partially decided in the SCOTUS decision Boy Scouts v. Dale. There the Court decided that having homosexual leaders violated the message the Boy Scouts were promoting. The problem with college clubs is that they receive money from the fees charged to students for “activities.” This makes the school “wary” of breaching what has now become the “establishment of religion” aspect of Constitutional law where even the allowing of something to occur is feared to be “establishment” of religion on the campus.

    This debate is of significant importance. There are a couple routes that can be taken. First, groups can go completely private and not even use campus space. This is what PHC has done with its funding schema. Or, the second route is for conservatives to begin joining liberal organizations. The goal would be to make the organization completely dysfunctional in an effort to show how the idea of “freedom of assembly” ensures that any group can organize and promote their ideas.

    Just a couple thoughts…

  • Tyler

    Dr. Veith, this happend a couple years back at my local university. The University of Montana made the same demand of the CLS. The CLS sued in response claiming a violation of their First Amendment right of assembly. The entire episode has been quite interesting.

    http://www.foxnews.com/us/2010/04/19/court-hear-arguments-campus-christian-group/

    In sum, this argument sums down to the question: Can individuals “discriminate” (in the sense that they keep people out, not deny rights) to promote an idea? or belief? This was partially decided in the SCOTUS decision Boy Scouts v. Dale. There the Court decided that having homosexual leaders violated the message the Boy Scouts were promoting. The problem with college clubs is that they receive money from the fees charged to students for “activities.” This makes the school “wary” of breaching what has now become the “establishment of religion” aspect of Constitutional law where even the allowing of something to occur is feared to be “establishment” of religion on the campus.

    This debate is of significant importance. There are a couple routes that can be taken. First, groups can go completely private and not even use campus space. This is what PHC has done with its funding schema. Or, the second route is for conservatives to begin joining liberal organizations. The goal would be to make the organization completely dysfunctional in an effort to show how the idea of “freedom of assembly” ensures that any group can organize and promote their ideas.

    Just a couple thoughts…

  • Tom Hering

    If the club is getting money from a fund that all students pay into, why shouldn’t the club be required to accept all students?

  • Tom Hering

    If the club is getting money from a fund that all students pay into, why shouldn’t the club be required to accept all students?

  • Kimberly

    I must not be as sophisticated as the Vice Chancellor because I thought part of being a Christian is to “be transformed by the renewal of your mind” and to “not be conformed to the world”. Silly me! I can be a Christian, it just can’t mean anything or affect anything I say, think or do–at least with other people!

  • Kimberly

    I must not be as sophisticated as the Vice Chancellor because I thought part of being a Christian is to “be transformed by the renewal of your mind” and to “not be conformed to the world”. Silly me! I can be a Christian, it just can’t mean anything or affect anything I say, think or do–at least with other people!

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    I like the all private idea, but I can’t get on board with a public institution barring groups from using their space. Public institutions do not have any space that the public has not paid for. Any group, regardless how small a minority they may represent should have equal access.

    How about students pay less in fees and the University doesn’t fund groups. Rather, individual groups just get their funding from their members or sponsors? Oh, wait, then the University can’t control them.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    I like the all private idea, but I can’t get on board with a public institution barring groups from using their space. Public institutions do not have any space that the public has not paid for. Any group, regardless how small a minority they may represent should have equal access.

    How about students pay less in fees and the University doesn’t fund groups. Rather, individual groups just get their funding from their members or sponsors? Oh, wait, then the University can’t control them.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “I can be a Christian, it just can’t mean anything or affect anything I say, think or do”

    Especially “think”

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “I can be a Christian, it just can’t mean anything or affect anything I say, think or do”

    Especially “think”

  • Jon

    Because, apparently, being a Christian and having Chrisitan ideas leads to making bad decisions if you don’t keep it to yourself.

    The persecution of Christianity continues.

  • Jon

    Because, apparently, being a Christian and having Chrisitan ideas leads to making bad decisions if you don’t keep it to yourself.

    The persecution of Christianity continues.

  • Tom Hering

    “The persecution of Christianity continues.”

    Really? We have lots of examples of gays, muslims, and atheiests trying to take over Christian organizations on college campuses?

  • Tom Hering

    “The persecution of Christianity continues.”

    Really? We have lots of examples of gays, muslims, and atheiests trying to take over Christian organizations on college campuses?

  • Jonathan

    In a world in which the least disagreement causes Christians to indignantly separate and establish new sects, it’d be interesting to see the basis for membership in CLS. Is its statement of faith one that Missouri Lutherans, fundamentalist Baptists, CavChappy mega-church members, and Catholics could all agree on? I would think not.

    So is membership based on loose acceptance of the Apostles’ Creed? If the group insists that members or leaders must be Christian, how broadly does it define the term?

  • Jonathan

    In a world in which the least disagreement causes Christians to indignantly separate and establish new sects, it’d be interesting to see the basis for membership in CLS. Is its statement of faith one that Missouri Lutherans, fundamentalist Baptists, CavChappy mega-church members, and Catholics could all agree on? I would think not.

    So is membership based on loose acceptance of the Apostles’ Creed? If the group insists that members or leaders must be Christian, how broadly does it define the term?

  • DonS

    Tom asks @ 12: “If the club is getting money from a fund that all students pay into, why shouldn’t the club be required to accept all students?”

    That is not the issue. All students are welcome in CLS and the other clubs on campus. However, the University’s non-discrimination policy insists that all students be accepted into leadership. That is the rub, of course, for obviously compelling reasons.

    Logic and common sense dictates that clubs based on principles, such as faith-based clubs, should be allowed to require its leadership to agree with its mission statement. The equal access argument is bogus, because all students have an equal opportunity to form the club of their choice and apply for funding.

  • DonS

    Tom asks @ 12: “If the club is getting money from a fund that all students pay into, why shouldn’t the club be required to accept all students?”

    That is not the issue. All students are welcome in CLS and the other clubs on campus. However, the University’s non-discrimination policy insists that all students be accepted into leadership. That is the rub, of course, for obviously compelling reasons.

    Logic and common sense dictates that clubs based on principles, such as faith-based clubs, should be allowed to require its leadership to agree with its mission statement. The equal access argument is bogus, because all students have an equal opportunity to form the club of their choice and apply for funding.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Tom @ 17: – It is election time (for you guys)! All the Culture war issues, real or imagined, must be played up to high heaven, or the world as we know it will perish! It is our last chance!! They are already building the concentration camps, don’t ya know? My cousin’s uncle’s friend from Appalachia, knows this guy who has actually seen them – one night when he was, well, nevah mind what he was doin’! And you can read it all there in Beck & McCarthy!!

    Then wait another Electioniad (from olympiad), before it all happens again.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Tom @ 17: – It is election time (for you guys)! All the Culture war issues, real or imagined, must be played up to high heaven, or the world as we know it will perish! It is our last chance!! They are already building the concentration camps, don’t ya know? My cousin’s uncle’s friend from Appalachia, knows this guy who has actually seen them – one night when he was, well, nevah mind what he was doin’! And you can read it all there in Beck & McCarthy!!

    Then wait another Electioniad (from olympiad), before it all happens again.

  • Joe

    Don makes a good point re: access to the club versus membership in the club. All students can join CLS. I do think that is important. Maybe not dispositive but certainly important.

    But in my mind the easiest and most christian way to avoid letting Ceaser’s command trump God’s demand is to withdraw as a recognized student organization. I don’t mean disband; I mean give up the gov’t funding. Enjoy the freedom that comes with not suckling at the gov’t teat!

  • Joe

    Don makes a good point re: access to the club versus membership in the club. All students can join CLS. I do think that is important. Maybe not dispositive but certainly important.

    But in my mind the easiest and most christian way to avoid letting Ceaser’s command trump God’s demand is to withdraw as a recognized student organization. I don’t mean disband; I mean give up the gov’t funding. Enjoy the freedom that comes with not suckling at the gov’t teat!

  • Joe

    Whoops – should be “God’s command” and really, I use that in the general sense. I am not sure God made a command about membership in the Christian Legal Society.

  • Joe

    Whoops – should be “God’s command” and really, I use that in the general sense. I am not sure God made a command about membership in the Christian Legal Society.

  • DonS

    Joe @ 21: In this case, it’s not government funding, it’s access to on-campus facilities and student activity fee funding that the university mandates. Not being able to meet, as a campus club, on campus, is a serious impediment to your ability to be effective. Moreover, if you already have to pay $200 or 300 in forced activity fees per semester, and then you have no access to them, are you as poor students, able to pull more money out of your pockets to fund your club?

    Might I ask when you think it is appropriate to stand up for your rights? It seems like your answer would be “practically never”.

  • DonS

    Joe @ 21: In this case, it’s not government funding, it’s access to on-campus facilities and student activity fee funding that the university mandates. Not being able to meet, as a campus club, on campus, is a serious impediment to your ability to be effective. Moreover, if you already have to pay $200 or 300 in forced activity fees per semester, and then you have no access to them, are you as poor students, able to pull more money out of your pockets to fund your club?

    Might I ask when you think it is appropriate to stand up for your rights? It seems like your answer would be “practically never”.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    An important point here is why Christian groups are being target here. The atheist student who wants to lead the Christian group could just as well skip on down to the Muslim or Jewish student group and see if they would welcome him as a leader. They wouldn’t, and then he could sue. But what kind of reaction would he get taking aim at such targets? I am guessing the discussion would be very different. He would be “insensitive” not a “victim of discrimination” by those mean Christian kids.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    An important point here is why Christian groups are being target here. The atheist student who wants to lead the Christian group could just as well skip on down to the Muslim or Jewish student group and see if they would welcome him as a leader. They wouldn’t, and then he could sue. But what kind of reaction would he get taking aim at such targets? I am guessing the discussion would be very different. He would be “insensitive” not a “victim of discrimination” by those mean Christian kids.

  • Tom Hering

    “… the University’s non-discrimination policy insists that all students be accepted into leadership.”

    No, it insists that all students be allowed to run for leadership. But how many CSL members are going to vote for a gay, muslim, or atheist leader? I know, I know – the gays, muslims, and atheists will pack the membership first! Because they’re so darn eager to take over Christian organizations! For the reason that … well for some reason that no one can explain. Beyond persecution paranoia.

  • Tom Hering

    “… the University’s non-discrimination policy insists that all students be accepted into leadership.”

    No, it insists that all students be allowed to run for leadership. But how many CSL members are going to vote for a gay, muslim, or atheist leader? I know, I know – the gays, muslims, and atheists will pack the membership first! Because they’re so darn eager to take over Christian organizations! For the reason that … well for some reason that no one can explain. Beyond persecution paranoia.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Tom @ 25 – exactly. But the Culture wars paradigm runs on paranoia – it is its lifeblood.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Tom @ 25 – exactly. But the Culture wars paradigm runs on paranoia – it is its lifeblood.

  • DonS

    Tom @ 25: Yes — I should have used “qualify for” instead of “accepted into”. My point, of course, was to clarify that these groups already accept all students into membership, but the non-discrimination policy also requires them to delete their requirements that leaders agree with the mission statements of the clubs, so that all members can stand for election.

    To your point that it’s OK, because Christians won’t vote non-Christians into leadership, well is that really the point? First, if you already accept all students into membership, meaning they can vote, then I’m not sure you’re right in your speculation that a non-Christian couldn’t win the election. But, second, in any event, the very idea that someone could qualify for leadership whose philosophy is the very antithesis of the entire mission of your organization is ridiculous. Should your church eliminate its written qualifications for pastor, resting in the knowledge that the deciders will never appoint someone not qualified for the ministry under both biblical and Lutheran standards?

  • DonS

    Tom @ 25: Yes — I should have used “qualify for” instead of “accepted into”. My point, of course, was to clarify that these groups already accept all students into membership, but the non-discrimination policy also requires them to delete their requirements that leaders agree with the mission statements of the clubs, so that all members can stand for election.

    To your point that it’s OK, because Christians won’t vote non-Christians into leadership, well is that really the point? First, if you already accept all students into membership, meaning they can vote, then I’m not sure you’re right in your speculation that a non-Christian couldn’t win the election. But, second, in any event, the very idea that someone could qualify for leadership whose philosophy is the very antithesis of the entire mission of your organization is ridiculous. Should your church eliminate its written qualifications for pastor, resting in the knowledge that the deciders will never appoint someone not qualified for the ministry under both biblical and Lutheran standards?

  • Jon

    Then it won’t be enough that they are just allowed to run. Next they will mandate a percentage that have to run. Then have to win.

    Must counter those bad decision making Christians!

  • Jon

    Then it won’t be enough that they are just allowed to run. Next they will mandate a percentage that have to run. Then have to win.

    Must counter those bad decision making Christians!

  • DonS

    Same to you, Klasie. Those pastoral standards are so old-fashioned. And so “culture war”.

  • DonS

    Same to you, Klasie. Those pastoral standards are so old-fashioned. And so “culture war”.

  • Tom Hering

    Don, the requirement CLS seeks to protect is that candidates for leadership sign a statement of faith in order to run. This, obviously, is meant to keep non-Christian students from running in the first place. But why not instead require that leaders sign the statement upon election? And kick them out with an emergency vote if they won’t? Equal access has been allowed. Problem solved.

    Though I still haven’t seen any evidence of non-Christians seeking to become leaders of Christian organizations.

  • Tom Hering

    Don, the requirement CLS seeks to protect is that candidates for leadership sign a statement of faith in order to run. This, obviously, is meant to keep non-Christian students from running in the first place. But why not instead require that leaders sign the statement upon election? And kick them out with an emergency vote if they won’t? Equal access has been allowed. Problem solved.

    Though I still haven’t seen any evidence of non-Christians seeking to become leaders of Christian organizations.

  • DonS

    Tom @ 30:

    But why not instead require that leaders sign the statement upon election? And kick them out with an emergency vote if they won’t? Equal access has been allowed. Problem solved.

    How do you figure, Tom? Letting them run without letting them serve is a distinction without a difference. I don’t think Vanderbilt would be satisfied with that as being in compliance with their policy, and I don’t see the point in disrupting the organization and embarrassing the elected member with that kind of procedure.

  • DonS

    Tom @ 30:

    But why not instead require that leaders sign the statement upon election? And kick them out with an emergency vote if they won’t? Equal access has been allowed. Problem solved.

    How do you figure, Tom? Letting them run without letting them serve is a distinction without a difference. I don’t think Vanderbilt would be satisfied with that as being in compliance with their policy, and I don’t see the point in disrupting the organization and embarrassing the elected member with that kind of procedure.

  • Tom Hering

    Your concerned about the non-Christian who’s seeking to take over leadership being embarrassed? Why, that’s so … so … sensitive of you, Don! Not that there’s anything wrong with that. :-D

  • Tom Hering

    Your concerned about the non-Christian who’s seeking to take over leadership being embarrassed? Why, that’s so … so … sensitive of you, Don! Not that there’s anything wrong with that. :-D

  • DonS

    Um, yes, Tom @ 32. Liberals don’t have the corner on compassion, contrary to popular misconception ;-)

  • DonS

    Um, yes, Tom @ 32. Liberals don’t have the corner on compassion, contrary to popular misconception ;-)

  • P.C.

    Tom Hering@17, 25, and 30,

    “The persecution of Christianity continues.” “Really? We have lots of examples of gays, muslims, and atheiests trying to take over Christian organizations on college campuses?”

    Yes we do! Marquette University took the same unChristian action against Intervarsity Christian Fellowship (IVCF) as Vanderbilt is doing against their campus Christian student organizations. IVCF removed a homosexual student from a leadership position, not from the organization itself, because this individual did not live by the tenets of Christian behavior which the club’s constitution required of its leadership.

    Since then, Marquette has come to its senses (perhaps their Christian conscience kicked in) and has reversed their decision. Next year, all religious clubs will be under Campus Ministry and not be subject to Marquette’s unconstitutional rules of clubs/student organizations not being able to have freedom of association.

  • P.C.

    Tom Hering@17, 25, and 30,

    “The persecution of Christianity continues.” “Really? We have lots of examples of gays, muslims, and atheiests trying to take over Christian organizations on college campuses?”

    Yes we do! Marquette University took the same unChristian action against Intervarsity Christian Fellowship (IVCF) as Vanderbilt is doing against their campus Christian student organizations. IVCF removed a homosexual student from a leadership position, not from the organization itself, because this individual did not live by the tenets of Christian behavior which the club’s constitution required of its leadership.

    Since then, Marquette has come to its senses (perhaps their Christian conscience kicked in) and has reversed their decision. Next year, all religious clubs will be under Campus Ministry and not be subject to Marquette’s unconstitutional rules of clubs/student organizations not being able to have freedom of association.

  • Joe

    Don – The answer is when it becomes impossible to obey God without actually violating a law that you must comply with (not a private school’s internal policy). Like here, when their is a way to opt-out you just opt-out of the system and run your club anyway you like. Just like the right to free speech does not guarantee you a receptive audience, the free exercise clause does not guarantee that you will be able to force a private institution to let you exercise your religion on their property. Sometimes exercising your rights comes at a price. And as long as its not the gov’t extracting that price, you’ve got no complaint.

    This is Vanderbilt and its not gov’t money. So, its not an issue of “rights.” Or are you suggesting a private school needs to comply with the First Amendment’s restriction on the GOV’T's ability it meddle in things religious?

  • Joe

    Don – The answer is when it becomes impossible to obey God without actually violating a law that you must comply with (not a private school’s internal policy). Like here, when their is a way to opt-out you just opt-out of the system and run your club anyway you like. Just like the right to free speech does not guarantee you a receptive audience, the free exercise clause does not guarantee that you will be able to force a private institution to let you exercise your religion on their property. Sometimes exercising your rights comes at a price. And as long as its not the gov’t extracting that price, you’ve got no complaint.

    This is Vanderbilt and its not gov’t money. So, its not an issue of “rights.” Or are you suggesting a private school needs to comply with the First Amendment’s restriction on the GOV’T's ability it meddle in things religious?

  • Tom Hering

    P.C. @ 34, I’m not familiar with the case, but I’ll give it to you anyways. So that’s one (1).

    I’m guessing there’s no danger that 21st-century American supplements to Foxe’s Book of Martyrs are going to make the volume too heavy to carry around.

  • Tom Hering

    P.C. @ 34, I’m not familiar with the case, but I’ll give it to you anyways. So that’s one (1).

    I’m guessing there’s no danger that 21st-century American supplements to Foxe’s Book of Martyrs are going to make the volume too heavy to carry around.

  • DonS

    Joe @ 35: The reason why I asked the question is because you gave the same answer recently when the issue WAS a law, i.e. the final regulations issued by the HHS regarding a mandate to provide employees with free benefits in violation of the conscience and tenets of the organization. What is the principle underlying your antipathy to using the democratic and legal process to fight unjust governmental or institutional action? I don’t get it. It’s not a biblical issue, because the Bible certainly doesn’t prohibit us from challenging injustice using legal means, and even illegal means if necessary in order to obey God, but you seem insistent on asserting it, even if by acting so passively we risk losing everything our forefathers fought for in this country. Just wondering.

    Your option to simply “opt out” and go away is untenable, if you want a viable campus club. I made this point above, but you ignored it. It’s not just funding, it’s meeting space that is at issue here.

    As for the specifics, I never said that the rights I was talking about were constitutional rights or even statutory rights. I was speaking more generally to our human and associational rights, which though not always legally enforceable can be used persuasively to change the behavior of a private institution. The Christian students in this current circumstance have not taken legal action to date — they are trying to persuade the administration to change its stance on policy grounds. Do you oppose the notion that, in a place of public accommodation, such as a private university, especially one that claims to be a marketplace of ideas and tolerant of all points of view, it is a better policy to accommodate students who want to form a faith-based club and meet on campus? I’m just trying to understand why you think it is wrong for them to fight for recognition and understanding by an administration that claims to exist to further tolerance and understanding.

    As to the legal issues, you’re probably wrong anyway. As an attorney, you well know that institutions that accept public funding and function as public accommodations are not unfettered in their ability to ignore discrimination laws. Much of the money on that campus IS government money, bringing with it a responsibility for the university to act constitutionally.

  • DonS

    Joe @ 35: The reason why I asked the question is because you gave the same answer recently when the issue WAS a law, i.e. the final regulations issued by the HHS regarding a mandate to provide employees with free benefits in violation of the conscience and tenets of the organization. What is the principle underlying your antipathy to using the democratic and legal process to fight unjust governmental or institutional action? I don’t get it. It’s not a biblical issue, because the Bible certainly doesn’t prohibit us from challenging injustice using legal means, and even illegal means if necessary in order to obey God, but you seem insistent on asserting it, even if by acting so passively we risk losing everything our forefathers fought for in this country. Just wondering.

    Your option to simply “opt out” and go away is untenable, if you want a viable campus club. I made this point above, but you ignored it. It’s not just funding, it’s meeting space that is at issue here.

    As for the specifics, I never said that the rights I was talking about were constitutional rights or even statutory rights. I was speaking more generally to our human and associational rights, which though not always legally enforceable can be used persuasively to change the behavior of a private institution. The Christian students in this current circumstance have not taken legal action to date — they are trying to persuade the administration to change its stance on policy grounds. Do you oppose the notion that, in a place of public accommodation, such as a private university, especially one that claims to be a marketplace of ideas and tolerant of all points of view, it is a better policy to accommodate students who want to form a faith-based club and meet on campus? I’m just trying to understand why you think it is wrong for them to fight for recognition and understanding by an administration that claims to exist to further tolerance and understanding.

    As to the legal issues, you’re probably wrong anyway. As an attorney, you well know that institutions that accept public funding and function as public accommodations are not unfettered in their ability to ignore discrimination laws. Much of the money on that campus IS government money, bringing with it a responsibility for the university to act constitutionally.

  • Steve Billingsley

    Wow, look beyond the legal hair-splitting and money-issues and take a step back and ask – why does Vanderbilt or any other university feel this is a vital issue? Why do officials like the provost feel the need to twist themselves into pretzels making such ridiculous statements? What is even the point? Are Jews lining up to join and lead Christian groups? Are homosexuals begging to be let into Muslim groups? I understand that tolerance and non-discrimination are important, but to me this is similar to Hosanna-Tabor and the HHS contraception ruling in this way – why does the federal government (and institutions receiving federal dollars) feel the pressing need to jump into this sphere? What harm is there in allowing Christian groups (or Muslim groups, or atheist groups or whatever) to define for themselves what constitutes leadership qualifications even if they are using institutional facilities? Why does that even matter to them? As long as these groups are not actively harming others (ganging up to beat up on those disagree, literally or figuratively) why do they care? I was not in agreement with some of the groups that met at the college I attended and I knew my fees were benefiting those groups but I didn’t get bent out of shape about it. Can’t the public square (in all of its forms – including this form) make room for differing points of view? Or do we need to enforce conformity? Does tolerance mean that I can’t tolerate the view of those that I think are intolerant? When does it cross the line from fair play into absurdity?

  • Steve Billingsley

    Wow, look beyond the legal hair-splitting and money-issues and take a step back and ask – why does Vanderbilt or any other university feel this is a vital issue? Why do officials like the provost feel the need to twist themselves into pretzels making such ridiculous statements? What is even the point? Are Jews lining up to join and lead Christian groups? Are homosexuals begging to be let into Muslim groups? I understand that tolerance and non-discrimination are important, but to me this is similar to Hosanna-Tabor and the HHS contraception ruling in this way – why does the federal government (and institutions receiving federal dollars) feel the pressing need to jump into this sphere? What harm is there in allowing Christian groups (or Muslim groups, or atheist groups or whatever) to define for themselves what constitutes leadership qualifications even if they are using institutional facilities? Why does that even matter to them? As long as these groups are not actively harming others (ganging up to beat up on those disagree, literally or figuratively) why do they care? I was not in agreement with some of the groups that met at the college I attended and I knew my fees were benefiting those groups but I didn’t get bent out of shape about it. Can’t the public square (in all of its forms – including this form) make room for differing points of view? Or do we need to enforce conformity? Does tolerance mean that I can’t tolerate the view of those that I think are intolerant? When does it cross the line from fair play into absurdity?

  • DonS

    Steve @ 38: Exactly! As long as anyone can form a club, open its membership to any student, and apply for activity fee funding, why does the university feel the need to micromanage the requirements?

    But, of course they do because to them “tolerance” means destroying any organization with principles on the basis that it is “intolerant”, so they can’t help but interfere. And when they do, and when the organizations who have existed on these campuses for decades naturally fight back, the organizations, not the universities, are labeled “culture warriors”, and some, even those ostensibly on the side of the organizations, counsel that those organizations should just meekly pack up and move out.

    As if that will appease the true culture warriors.

  • DonS

    Steve @ 38: Exactly! As long as anyone can form a club, open its membership to any student, and apply for activity fee funding, why does the university feel the need to micromanage the requirements?

    But, of course they do because to them “tolerance” means destroying any organization with principles on the basis that it is “intolerant”, so they can’t help but interfere. And when they do, and when the organizations who have existed on these campuses for decades naturally fight back, the organizations, not the universities, are labeled “culture warriors”, and some, even those ostensibly on the side of the organizations, counsel that those organizations should just meekly pack up and move out.

    As if that will appease the true culture warriors.

  • Tom Hering

    “… why does Vanderbilt or any other university feel this is a vital issue?”

    Because, in this economy, they’re more dependent than ever on attracting foreign students? And a reputation for non-discrimination is a big selling point? (I’m guessing.)

  • Tom Hering

    “… why does Vanderbilt or any other university feel this is a vital issue?”

    Because, in this economy, they’re more dependent than ever on attracting foreign students? And a reputation for non-discrimination is a big selling point? (I’m guessing.)

  • Steve Billingsley

    Tom @ 40
    But that doesn’t make a lot of sense. What would make more of a difference in attracting foreign students is accommodating their traditions (providing worship or ceremonial facilities, social service support or kosher or halal food). I just don’t see a bunch of Muslim students saying to themselves (I am not going to that school because they won’t let me run for President of the local chapter of Intervarsity Fellowship or the Jewish Student Union).

  • Steve Billingsley

    Tom @ 40
    But that doesn’t make a lot of sense. What would make more of a difference in attracting foreign students is accommodating their traditions (providing worship or ceremonial facilities, social service support or kosher or halal food). I just don’t see a bunch of Muslim students saying to themselves (I am not going to that school because they won’t let me run for President of the local chapter of Intervarsity Fellowship or the Jewish Student Union).

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    DonS @ 29 – why “pastoral standards”?

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    DonS @ 29 – why “pastoral standards”?

  • P.C.

    Tom @36,

    “I’m guessing there’s no danger that 21st-century American supplements to Foxe’s Book of Martyrs are going to make the volume too heavy to carry around.”

    No, but include all those who have been persecuted and martyred for their Christian faith, recorded and unrecorded, and those that will be until the Last Day, and Foxe’s Book of Martyrs is nothing more than an introduction.

  • P.C.

    Tom @36,

    “I’m guessing there’s no danger that 21st-century American supplements to Foxe’s Book of Martyrs are going to make the volume too heavy to carry around.”

    No, but include all those who have been persecuted and martyred for their Christian faith, recorded and unrecorded, and those that will be until the Last Day, and Foxe’s Book of Martyrs is nothing more than an introduction.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “This is Vanderbilt and its not gov’t money.”

    In order for them to make that claim, they cannot have their students getting any government financial aid. There was a case on this point.

    Grove City College v. Bell, the Supreme Court required every college or university to fulfill federal requirements – past and future requirements – if its students received federal aid.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hillsdale_College

    The history non discrimination policy of Hillsdale College is pretty interesting.

    The bottom line is that the government requires unethical discrimination, so the college refused to comply and that means students cannot get government financial aid.

    Vanderbilt complies with the federal government’s requirements to discriminate and plenty of other unethical and possibly illegal regulations because they want the $$$$.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “This is Vanderbilt and its not gov’t money.”

    In order for them to make that claim, they cannot have their students getting any government financial aid. There was a case on this point.

    Grove City College v. Bell, the Supreme Court required every college or university to fulfill federal requirements – past and future requirements – if its students received federal aid.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hillsdale_College

    The history non discrimination policy of Hillsdale College is pretty interesting.

    The bottom line is that the government requires unethical discrimination, so the college refused to comply and that means students cannot get government financial aid.

    Vanderbilt complies with the federal government’s requirements to discriminate and plenty of other unethical and possibly illegal regulations because they want the $$$$.

  • DonS

    Klasie @ 42: I was making a joke. You seemed to be affirming, with your “culture war” comment, that Tom was right in labeling as silly Christians who objected to being forced to qualify leaders who are not Christians. Apparently on the basis that the Christian membership wouldn’t elect non-Christian leaders even if they ran.

    In response, I applied my comment to Tom also to you. Why does your church have pastoral standards, if they are so darn unimportant, and not worth worrying about? I mean, the congregation and denomination hierarchy wouldn’t install an inappropriate pastor, would they?

    By the way, you seem to be caught up in this “culture wars” meme. Do you at all think that label applies to those, such as Vanderbilt University, who are changing the rules for these long-standing organizations because of cultural pressures? Or is it only appropriate to label those trying to defend their historical position as “culture warriors”? Just wondering.

  • DonS

    Klasie @ 42: I was making a joke. You seemed to be affirming, with your “culture war” comment, that Tom was right in labeling as silly Christians who objected to being forced to qualify leaders who are not Christians. Apparently on the basis that the Christian membership wouldn’t elect non-Christian leaders even if they ran.

    In response, I applied my comment to Tom also to you. Why does your church have pastoral standards, if they are so darn unimportant, and not worth worrying about? I mean, the congregation and denomination hierarchy wouldn’t install an inappropriate pastor, would they?

    By the way, you seem to be caught up in this “culture wars” meme. Do you at all think that label applies to those, such as Vanderbilt University, who are changing the rules for these long-standing organizations because of cultural pressures? Or is it only appropriate to label those trying to defend their historical position as “culture warriors”? Just wondering.

  • http://theravenslanding.blogspot.com/ Abigail C

    If religious beliefs aren’t supposed to influence what we do, what are they for then?

  • http://theravenslanding.blogspot.com/ Abigail C

    If religious beliefs aren’t supposed to influence what we do, what are they for then?

  • Jonathan

    Here’s the CLS statement of faith:

    “Trusting in Jesus Christ as my Savior, I believe in:
    One God, eternally existent in three persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
    God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.
    The Deity of our Lord, Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, conceived of the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary; His vicarious death for our sins through which we receive eternal life; His bodily resurrection and personal return.
    The presence and power of the Holy Spirit in the work of regeneration.
    The Bible as the inspired Word of God.”

    How many Christians could sign this? Nothing about the sacraments, salvation by faith, and a tautology about the “Bible” as the “Word of God.” One could argue it tries to be Trinitarian, but the deity of the Holy Spirit, confessed plainly by the Church since Nicea, is not mentioned.

    One could argue that CLS excludes a whole swath of thoughtful Christians.

  • Jonathan

    Here’s the CLS statement of faith:

    “Trusting in Jesus Christ as my Savior, I believe in:
    One God, eternally existent in three persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
    God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.
    The Deity of our Lord, Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, conceived of the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary; His vicarious death for our sins through which we receive eternal life; His bodily resurrection and personal return.
    The presence and power of the Holy Spirit in the work of regeneration.
    The Bible as the inspired Word of God.”

    How many Christians could sign this? Nothing about the sacraments, salvation by faith, and a tautology about the “Bible” as the “Word of God.” One could argue it tries to be Trinitarian, but the deity of the Holy Spirit, confessed plainly by the Church since Nicea, is not mentioned.

    One could argue that CLS excludes a whole swath of thoughtful Christians.

  • P. C.

    sg,

    And that is why Grove City College (my youngest daughter graduated from there) is such a great place to matriculate…it takes no government funds whatsoever. Marquette, (where my oldest daughter twice graduated, and is too a great university), is just like Vanderbilt, as previously mentioned, all caught up and entangled in a myriad of government regulation, discrimination, and political correctness because they took the federal cash.

    Once private institutions embrace the Feds financial handouts, it is just a matter of time before they are thrown into fiscal slavery.

  • P. C.

    sg,

    And that is why Grove City College (my youngest daughter graduated from there) is such a great place to matriculate…it takes no government funds whatsoever. Marquette, (where my oldest daughter twice graduated, and is too a great university), is just like Vanderbilt, as previously mentioned, all caught up and entangled in a myriad of government regulation, discrimination, and political correctness because they took the federal cash.

    Once private institutions embrace the Feds financial handouts, it is just a matter of time before they are thrown into fiscal slavery.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    DonS – my point is that the response to Vanderbilt ought not to be “you persecute me, waaaahh!” , as some here want to make it. People also ought to realise the reality of the society they live in – and act accordingly. That is not to say that I agree with the leadership at Vanderbilt – the whole thing seems a bit silly. But the tendency to equate overt political correctness with persecution deserves scorn.

    As to the “culture wars” thing: Of late, the tendency in Christian circles to get caught up in the us vs evil them, them being “them evil lberals, Obama, and a whole gamut of feds, baby killers, gun takers, communists/socialists, Moslems, and who knows what”. And many of these arguments get downright silly. The traditional term for the uncritical acceptance of the us/them dichtomy is the “Culture Wars”. Of course, there is a “left-wing” version or phantasm of these Culture Wars as well. And it is important to keep it going. Why? Because it means big $$ for many: Just as Limbaugh, Beck, James Dobson, Doug Wilson, to name a few on the right. I know they have their left wing versions as well, but I’m not that familiar with those.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    DonS – my point is that the response to Vanderbilt ought not to be “you persecute me, waaaahh!” , as some here want to make it. People also ought to realise the reality of the society they live in – and act accordingly. That is not to say that I agree with the leadership at Vanderbilt – the whole thing seems a bit silly. But the tendency to equate overt political correctness with persecution deserves scorn.

    As to the “culture wars” thing: Of late, the tendency in Christian circles to get caught up in the us vs evil them, them being “them evil lberals, Obama, and a whole gamut of feds, baby killers, gun takers, communists/socialists, Moslems, and who knows what”. And many of these arguments get downright silly. The traditional term for the uncritical acceptance of the us/them dichtomy is the “Culture Wars”. Of course, there is a “left-wing” version or phantasm of these Culture Wars as well. And it is important to keep it going. Why? Because it means big $$ for many: Just as Limbaugh, Beck, James Dobson, Doug Wilson, to name a few on the right. I know they have their left wing versions as well, but I’m not that familiar with those.

  • DonS

    Jonathan @ 47: Why can you not sign that statement? With what do you disagree? It doesn’t claim to be a complete doctrinal statement, but just a set of common principles that all Christians share. The CLS is a parachurch organization, founded to serve the Body of Christ as a whole, not a specific denomination or church. Do you not share those common principles?

    Isn’t “Trusting in Jesus Christ as my Savior” salvation by faith?

  • DonS

    Jonathan @ 47: Why can you not sign that statement? With what do you disagree? It doesn’t claim to be a complete doctrinal statement, but just a set of common principles that all Christians share. The CLS is a parachurch organization, founded to serve the Body of Christ as a whole, not a specific denomination or church. Do you not share those common principles?

    Isn’t “Trusting in Jesus Christ as my Savior” salvation by faith?

  • Grace

    The Christian church has always been persecuted, that is one of the fundamental reasons why our ancestors sailed from Europe to America.

    Freedom of religion also encompasses the freedom to worship and fellowship with those of like mind. That would include anyone in a leadership position, or those who wish to ‘JOIN’ a church or religious group, the choice of such membership is dependent on the agreed upon beliefs of an individual wishing to join.

    We are like no other country on earth. We the United States have protected our right to worship, be it in our homes, church or groups outside these areas, as we wish. As the years have passed, universities and other institutions have chiseled away at these fundamental rights.

    Using the excuses which Vice Chancellor Richard McCarty stated: “What I’m going to challenge you to do, [is] to be open to a member that doesn’t share your faith beliefs who could be a wonderful member of CLS, maybe even a leader. But we’re not saying you have to vote for that person. We’re simply saying that person, who maybe does not profess allegiance to Jesus Christ as his or her Lord and Savior, should be allowed to run for office in CLS. Maybe it’s not chair or president, maybe it’s a person who is amazing at social outreach.”

    What would “social outreach” mean from an individual who didn’t agree with what the Christian group stood for, that’s not “outreach” it’s nonsense. This coming from a Vice Chancellor? The other question is: WHY would such a person who doesn’t believe in Jesus Christ as Savior group want to join, unless it is to cause dissention?

    Next – as this Vice Chancellor remarks: ” As a Catholic, if I held that life begins at conception, I’d have a very big problem with our hospital. Right? Would I not? . . . I would, but I don’t. . . . We don’t want to have personal religious views intrude on good decisionmaking on this campus. They can guide your personal conduct, but I’m not going to let my faith life intrude.”

    If ones personal beliefs in Christ are clouded by truths straight from the Word of God, only to be accepted and coddled by a university, you’re religious beliefs are of no effect, they are meaningless, they are nothing but cowardly pretense.

    It is our strong unbending beliefs in the teachings of Jesus Christ which set up apart from the rest. It’s these rights, given to us in the Constitution which we must stand for, not buckle under, as so many have of late.

    Abortion is one of the most hideous. Our country, through Obama has driven the SOCIALIST BUGGY right down the road to unrealized dismantling of long standing, capitalism and free enterprise, not the ‘bail outs’ of every corporation who has miss-handled their massive funds.

    Obama now throws support to the unthinkable: religious organizations must supply their employees with abortion bills, etc. AGAINST their Biblical beliefs. Where does it end? It doesn’t, unless we stand up against this travesty.

    It matters little what the rest of the world agrees with, regarding our religious freedom. We don’t need their approval, nor did our forefathers. Our land which our grandfathers, fathers, uncles, brothers, nephews and women fought and died to protect our rights still stand. We the American people have helped millions around the world with our tax money, time and effort. So many of them have turned on the American people and our anti-SOCIALISM beliefs, as though they have a vote.

  • Grace

    The Christian church has always been persecuted, that is one of the fundamental reasons why our ancestors sailed from Europe to America.

    Freedom of religion also encompasses the freedom to worship and fellowship with those of like mind. That would include anyone in a leadership position, or those who wish to ‘JOIN’ a church or religious group, the choice of such membership is dependent on the agreed upon beliefs of an individual wishing to join.

    We are like no other country on earth. We the United States have protected our right to worship, be it in our homes, church or groups outside these areas, as we wish. As the years have passed, universities and other institutions have chiseled away at these fundamental rights.

    Using the excuses which Vice Chancellor Richard McCarty stated: “What I’m going to challenge you to do, [is] to be open to a member that doesn’t share your faith beliefs who could be a wonderful member of CLS, maybe even a leader. But we’re not saying you have to vote for that person. We’re simply saying that person, who maybe does not profess allegiance to Jesus Christ as his or her Lord and Savior, should be allowed to run for office in CLS. Maybe it’s not chair or president, maybe it’s a person who is amazing at social outreach.”

    What would “social outreach” mean from an individual who didn’t agree with what the Christian group stood for, that’s not “outreach” it’s nonsense. This coming from a Vice Chancellor? The other question is: WHY would such a person who doesn’t believe in Jesus Christ as Savior group want to join, unless it is to cause dissention?

    Next – as this Vice Chancellor remarks: ” As a Catholic, if I held that life begins at conception, I’d have a very big problem with our hospital. Right? Would I not? . . . I would, but I don’t. . . . We don’t want to have personal religious views intrude on good decisionmaking on this campus. They can guide your personal conduct, but I’m not going to let my faith life intrude.”

    If ones personal beliefs in Christ are clouded by truths straight from the Word of God, only to be accepted and coddled by a university, you’re religious beliefs are of no effect, they are meaningless, they are nothing but cowardly pretense.

    It is our strong unbending beliefs in the teachings of Jesus Christ which set up apart from the rest. It’s these rights, given to us in the Constitution which we must stand for, not buckle under, as so many have of late.

    Abortion is one of the most hideous. Our country, through Obama has driven the SOCIALIST BUGGY right down the road to unrealized dismantling of long standing, capitalism and free enterprise, not the ‘bail outs’ of every corporation who has miss-handled their massive funds.

    Obama now throws support to the unthinkable: religious organizations must supply their employees with abortion bills, etc. AGAINST their Biblical beliefs. Where does it end? It doesn’t, unless we stand up against this travesty.

    It matters little what the rest of the world agrees with, regarding our religious freedom. We don’t need their approval, nor did our forefathers. Our land which our grandfathers, fathers, uncles, brothers, nephews and women fought and died to protect our rights still stand. We the American people have helped millions around the world with our tax money, time and effort. So many of them have turned on the American people and our anti-SOCIALISM beliefs, as though they have a vote.

  • DonS

    Klasie @ 49: “my point is that the response to Vanderbilt ought not to be “you persecute me, waaaahh!” , as some here want to make it. ”

    Who, Klasie? Who wants to make it that? These students haven’t asserted that they are being persecuted. They have engaged the administration in an orderly discussion explaining why the Vanderbilt “nondiscrimination” policy is anything but nondiscrimination, since it effectively rules out from campus life any organization holding to objective faith values. That’s not whining or “whaaa”, as you call it, that is debate. In the tradition of a free society, at least historically, and certainly an appropriate debate to have at an institution of higher learning, which is supposed to be a cauldron of ideas. All ideas, including those based on objective Truth.

    People also ought to realise the reality of the society they live in – and act accordingly.

    Huh? “Act accordingly”? What does that mean? Lay down like sheep and let your rights and freedoms be trampled without debate? I don’t get that at all.

    Your second paragraph — sure there is exploitation on both sides. But whatever principle you are espousing there certainly doesn’t mitigate against these students asserting their legitimate rights to freely assemble in a place of public accommodation under leadership that actually believes in the ideals of the assembled group.

  • DonS

    Klasie @ 49: “my point is that the response to Vanderbilt ought not to be “you persecute me, waaaahh!” , as some here want to make it. ”

    Who, Klasie? Who wants to make it that? These students haven’t asserted that they are being persecuted. They have engaged the administration in an orderly discussion explaining why the Vanderbilt “nondiscrimination” policy is anything but nondiscrimination, since it effectively rules out from campus life any organization holding to objective faith values. That’s not whining or “whaaa”, as you call it, that is debate. In the tradition of a free society, at least historically, and certainly an appropriate debate to have at an institution of higher learning, which is supposed to be a cauldron of ideas. All ideas, including those based on objective Truth.

    People also ought to realise the reality of the society they live in – and act accordingly.

    Huh? “Act accordingly”? What does that mean? Lay down like sheep and let your rights and freedoms be trampled without debate? I don’t get that at all.

    Your second paragraph — sure there is exploitation on both sides. But whatever principle you are espousing there certainly doesn’t mitigate against these students asserting their legitimate rights to freely assemble in a place of public accommodation under leadership that actually believes in the ideals of the assembled group.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Grace – “we are like nop other country on earth”.

    Grace – my kids can pray in school – public school. In my son’s elementary school, a public school, they say the Lord’s Prayer every morning. Can the children in your school district do that?

    We have Catholic school divisions that get the same amount of money from government than the public school division.

    The government in SK recently announced expanding funding to private, faith-based schools.

    Our goverment (federal) recently announced the office for Religious Freedoms, primarily to support the advancement of religious freedom in countries where it is not so – like Egypt, where the Copts are persecuted. My own MP is particularly active in that regard.

    What sayest thou?

    No country is perfect, but really??

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Grace – “we are like nop other country on earth”.

    Grace – my kids can pray in school – public school. In my son’s elementary school, a public school, they say the Lord’s Prayer every morning. Can the children in your school district do that?

    We have Catholic school divisions that get the same amount of money from government than the public school division.

    The government in SK recently announced expanding funding to private, faith-based schools.

    Our goverment (federal) recently announced the office for Religious Freedoms, primarily to support the advancement of religious freedom in countries where it is not so – like Egypt, where the Copts are persecuted. My own MP is particularly active in that regard.

    What sayest thou?

    No country is perfect, but really??

  • P.C.

    Grace@51 and DonS @52,

    You both hit the nail squarely on the head. Well said.

  • P.C.

    Grace@51 and DonS @52,

    You both hit the nail squarely on the head. Well said.

  • kenneth

    Klaise

    I wonder if I might ask a question. Permit me even as I confess I’m quite ignorant. Yet how can the Culture Wars be any less than the “real thing”? Right is right after all though the tactics might be very much like the socialists. Shoudn’t we pursue culture relevant questions regarding large questions like truth and from whence does justice come?

    Did I misunderstand your first post? It seems as though you have given salvation up as most relevant and gone into petty politics as much as that is needed at times. I love the Cuture Wars, Bring it on Yoda!

  • kenneth

    Klaise

    I wonder if I might ask a question. Permit me even as I confess I’m quite ignorant. Yet how can the Culture Wars be any less than the “real thing”? Right is right after all though the tactics might be very much like the socialists. Shoudn’t we pursue culture relevant questions regarding large questions like truth and from whence does justice come?

    Did I misunderstand your first post? It seems as though you have given salvation up as most relevant and gone into petty politics as much as that is needed at times. I love the Cuture Wars, Bring it on Yoda!

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Kenneth – the Culture Wars miss the point entirely. The culture wars is not the mission of the Church. Actually, the culture wars is to “Talibanize” the Church, to turn the Good news of the Gospel into Civil Moral law.The Culture Wars is a distraction, and it is no accident that those most active in the Culture Wars are 9/10 those with questionable theology (pelagian/semi-pelagian/baptistic etc).

    I am not sure how you get to “abandon salvation”. That comment leaves me mystified. If anything, I’d charge those that see Culture Wars as their prime mission as having done that.

    The way we influence the world around us is by fulfilling our vocations faithfully. Now that does include our vocations as citizens. But I doubt if there is an activist vocation :)

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Kenneth – the Culture Wars miss the point entirely. The culture wars is not the mission of the Church. Actually, the culture wars is to “Talibanize” the Church, to turn the Good news of the Gospel into Civil Moral law.The Culture Wars is a distraction, and it is no accident that those most active in the Culture Wars are 9/10 those with questionable theology (pelagian/semi-pelagian/baptistic etc).

    I am not sure how you get to “abandon salvation”. That comment leaves me mystified. If anything, I’d charge those that see Culture Wars as their prime mission as having done that.

    The way we influence the world around us is by fulfilling our vocations faithfully. Now that does include our vocations as citizens. But I doubt if there is an activist vocation :)

  • Michael B.

    +1 to Tom Hering @36

    “I’m guessing there’s no danger that 21st-century American supplements to Foxe’s Book of Martyrs are going to make the volume too heavy to carry around.”

  • Michael B.

    +1 to Tom Hering @36

    “I’m guessing there’s no danger that 21st-century American supplements to Foxe’s Book of Martyrs are going to make the volume too heavy to carry around.”

  • Michael B.

    “Why is it that groups that take government money shouldn’t lose their right to free speech, but do lose their right to free association?”

    Any group can still freely associate. However, you aren’t necessarily free to use a university’s property or funds for your group’s purposes. Free speech is likewise limited when using other people’s property.

  • Michael B.

    “Why is it that groups that take government money shouldn’t lose their right to free speech, but do lose their right to free association?”

    Any group can still freely associate. However, you aren’t necessarily free to use a university’s property or funds for your group’s purposes. Free speech is likewise limited when using other people’s property.

  • Grace

    It is clear that we must stand against the wiles of the devil, that includes standing up for what’s right in government too. There is “spiritual wickedness in high places.” Read verse 12 over carefully . We aren’t to hunker down in our churches to see what’s going to happen next. We are to preach the Word of GOD, we are to stand against the “darkness of this world” and that means those things which are evil in government – getting out the vote for those who stand against the killing of the unborn, to mention just one.

    Those who want to infiltrate our churches and Christian organizations and groups, have no right to membership, no matter where it is.

    10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.

    11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

    12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

    13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

    14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
    Ephesians 6

    We are to take persecution, but there is nothing in the Scriptures that say we are to do nothing when evil arises, the Scripture tells us to “stand against the wiles of the devil.”

  • Grace

    It is clear that we must stand against the wiles of the devil, that includes standing up for what’s right in government too. There is “spiritual wickedness in high places.” Read verse 12 over carefully . We aren’t to hunker down in our churches to see what’s going to happen next. We are to preach the Word of GOD, we are to stand against the “darkness of this world” and that means those things which are evil in government – getting out the vote for those who stand against the killing of the unborn, to mention just one.

    Those who want to infiltrate our churches and Christian organizations and groups, have no right to membership, no matter where it is.

    10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.

    11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

    12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

    13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

    14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
    Ephesians 6

    We are to take persecution, but there is nothing in the Scriptures that say we are to do nothing when evil arises, the Scripture tells us to “stand against the wiles of the devil.”

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Kenneth – the Culture Wars miss the point entirely. The culture wars is not the mission of the Church. Actually, the culture wars is to “Talibanize” the Church, to turn the Good news of the Gospel into Civil Moral law.The Culture Wars is a distraction, and it is no accident that those most active in the Culture Wars are 9/10 those with questionable theology (pelagian/semi-pelagian/baptistic etc).

    Hmm, I really don’t see the culture wars as having anything to do with the Gospel. The culture wars are 100% law. Plain old right vs. wrong. For example Lawrence vs. Texas. That issue was pure law, no Gospel. Sodomy is wrong. Government is obliged to legislate against and punish those who violate the law.

    The left is the side that wants to legislate the Gospel. They want to inappropriately use the power of the sword to show mercy when that is not the function of government.

    The government is to bear the sword.

    The Church offers the good news of God’s grace.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Kenneth – the Culture Wars miss the point entirely. The culture wars is not the mission of the Church. Actually, the culture wars is to “Talibanize” the Church, to turn the Good news of the Gospel into Civil Moral law.The Culture Wars is a distraction, and it is no accident that those most active in the Culture Wars are 9/10 those with questionable theology (pelagian/semi-pelagian/baptistic etc).

    Hmm, I really don’t see the culture wars as having anything to do with the Gospel. The culture wars are 100% law. Plain old right vs. wrong. For example Lawrence vs. Texas. That issue was pure law, no Gospel. Sodomy is wrong. Government is obliged to legislate against and punish those who violate the law.

    The left is the side that wants to legislate the Gospel. They want to inappropriately use the power of the sword to show mercy when that is not the function of government.

    The government is to bear the sword.

    The Church offers the good news of God’s grace.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Consider the murderer awaiting his execution.

    The government supplies the sword and executioner to execute the criminal.

    The Church supplies the Pastor to hear his confession and absolve him.

    Misguided folks want the government to absolve him by being lenient and give him more opportunities to further abuse the community rather than properly administer the function of government and execute him.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Consider the murderer awaiting his execution.

    The government supplies the sword and executioner to execute the criminal.

    The Church supplies the Pastor to hear his confession and absolve him.

    Misguided folks want the government to absolve him by being lenient and give him more opportunities to further abuse the community rather than properly administer the function of government and execute him.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    sg -@ 60 – I think we agree that culture wars Gospel.

    sg @ 61 – of course, the measure of punishment, execution or not, is also a civil debate. But only the measure. Not the fact. But what constitutes a crime, and what not, is also a civil debate.

    For instance: Previously, you could get sent to Australia ;) for stealing a loaf of bread. Now the punishment is different. Then there are different laws – like how fast you might drive on the highway. And what is an appropriate response to exceeding the speed limits. All with varying responses. All civil debates.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    sg -@ 60 – I think we agree that culture wars Gospel.

    sg @ 61 – of course, the measure of punishment, execution or not, is also a civil debate. But only the measure. Not the fact. But what constitutes a crime, and what not, is also a civil debate.

    For instance: Previously, you could get sent to Australia ;) for stealing a loaf of bread. Now the punishment is different. Then there are different laws – like how fast you might drive on the highway. And what is an appropriate response to exceeding the speed limits. All with varying responses. All civil debates.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    @ 38

    I understand that tolerance and non-discrimination are important,

    The problem that it runs only one way. The university has no problem discriminating against CLS, by forcing them to tolerate those who wish to undermine their mission. The university demands tolerance from others. It does not tolerate those who don’t agree with them.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    @ 38

    I understand that tolerance and non-discrimination are important,

    The problem that it runs only one way. The university has no problem discriminating against CLS, by forcing them to tolerate those who wish to undermine their mission. The university demands tolerance from others. It does not tolerate those who don’t agree with them.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    @ 62

    No, we don’t agree.

    The Taliban that you mentioned was all law. If some pelagian (as you call them) sect of Christians suceeded in Talibanizing our government, all of it would be law. As you say, it is civil debate. The two sides of the debate generally don’t agree on what is right and what is wrong, aka morality. Both sides want their morality to inform the definitions of right and wrong. The culture wars are 100% law.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    @ 62

    No, we don’t agree.

    The Taliban that you mentioned was all law. If some pelagian (as you call them) sect of Christians suceeded in Talibanizing our government, all of it would be law. As you say, it is civil debate. The two sides of the debate generally don’t agree on what is right and what is wrong, aka morality. Both sides want their morality to inform the definitions of right and wrong. The culture wars are 100% law.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    SG @ 64- I’m saying that the culture wars are law – I see now that in my comment at 62 I somehow managed to drop the word ‘aren’t’ in the first sentence. Does that make more sense now? Sorry!

    Anyway, my examples agreed with you, as you indicate.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    SG @ 64- I’m saying that the culture wars are law – I see now that in my comment at 62 I somehow managed to drop the word ‘aren’t’ in the first sentence. Does that make more sense now? Sorry!

    Anyway, my examples agreed with you, as you indicate.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    @65

    Let that be a lesson to you, Klasie.

    Drop one little “aren’t” and cue a howl of protest from the sg peanut gallery. :D

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    @65

    Let that be a lesson to you, Klasie.

    Drop one little “aren’t” and cue a howl of protest from the sg peanut gallery. :D

  • rey

    “The Culture Wars is a distraction, and it is no accident that those most active in the Culture Wars are 9/10 those with questionable theology (pelagian/semi-pelagian/baptistic etc).”

    Glad to hear for once a hell-bound faith-onlyist piece of garbage admitting that they hate morality and want nothing to do with it. See, oh yea ‘Pelagians’ that your true enemy in the culture wars is not atheists or anyone other than faith-onlyist Christians! They are the ones pushing gay marriage down your throats! The Calvinists. The Lutherans. The Baptists. Those who have made a covenant with hell saying “we will fill you with our children; only hold back the Pelagians and allow us to do so.”

  • rey

    “The Culture Wars is a distraction, and it is no accident that those most active in the Culture Wars are 9/10 those with questionable theology (pelagian/semi-pelagian/baptistic etc).”

    Glad to hear for once a hell-bound faith-onlyist piece of garbage admitting that they hate morality and want nothing to do with it. See, oh yea ‘Pelagians’ that your true enemy in the culture wars is not atheists or anyone other than faith-onlyist Christians! They are the ones pushing gay marriage down your throats! The Calvinists. The Lutherans. The Baptists. Those who have made a covenant with hell saying “we will fill you with our children; only hold back the Pelagians and allow us to do so.”

  • DonS

    The Tennessee legislature is challenging Vanderbilt’s religious discrimination policies, threatening to take action against the University with respect to state subsidy funding unless Vanderbilt either: 1) stops discriminating against religious student organizations, or 2) truly applies its supposed “all comers” policy to all organizations, including fraternal organizations, rather than in the current discriminatory manner.

    Here is more information, including sizable excerpts from the legislature’s letter: http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/296544/battle-vanderbilt-tennessee-legislature-steps-david-french

  • DonS

    The Tennessee legislature is challenging Vanderbilt’s religious discrimination policies, threatening to take action against the University with respect to state subsidy funding unless Vanderbilt either: 1) stops discriminating against religious student organizations, or 2) truly applies its supposed “all comers” policy to all organizations, including fraternal organizations, rather than in the current discriminatory manner.

    Here is more information, including sizable excerpts from the legislature’s letter: http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/296544/battle-vanderbilt-tennessee-legislature-steps-david-french

  • rey

    Good. About time fraternities came to an end anyway. If the Calvinists no longer have an easy way to get free booze, so be it.

  • rey

    Good. About time fraternities came to an end anyway. If the Calvinists no longer have an easy way to get free booze, so be it.

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