One would expect that the president of an arts club would have an interest in art. Or that the leader of the College Republicans or College Democrats would themselves be a Republican or a Democrat, respectively. Or that the captain of the club golf team can play golf. But when it comes to religious clubs on college campuses, the same logic doesn’t apply.
Independent Journal reported that Bowdoin College’s Christian Fellowship will no longer be recognized after the end of this school year. No, they didn’t lose their campus privileges because they threw wild parties or hazed freshmen. Instead, they refused the college’s demands to allow anyone, regardless of their faith, to run for election as the leader of their group. And it’s not just at Bowdoin – it’s happening across the country.
Evangelical groups have also lost their status at Vanderbilt, Tufts University, the State University of New York at Buffalo, and Rollins College in Florida. Cal State’s 23 campuses are preparing to withdraw recognition this summer on all Christian groups that “are refusing to pledge not to discriminate on the basis of religion in the selection of their leaders.”
Members of the groups are holding fast. They say they would rather dissolve their group than concede their beliefs.
“It would compromise our ability to be who we are as Christians if we can’t hold our leaders to some sort of doctrinal standard,” said Zackary Suhr, 23, who has just graduated from Bowdoin, where he was a leader of the Bowdoin Christian Fellowship.
After this summer, the Bowdoin Christian Fellowship will no longer be recognized by the college. Already, the college has disabled the electronic key cards of the group’s longtime volunteer advisers.
A few weeks ago, the Bowdoin group gathered for a final dinner at the Center for Multicultural and Spiritual Life at the college, thanking not only the graduating seniors, but also Robert and Sim Gregory, who volunteered with Bowdoin for a decade but are no longer recognized as advisers.
The students, who plan to meet informally in the fall and may seek an off-campus site for worship, are bewildered by the turn of events. “We can’t discriminate on religion, and we’re a religious group!” exclaimed Olivia Cannon, 18, a Bowdoin student.
In their efforts to be politically correct, these universities have gone way overboard. The groups welcome everyone to their meetings – they just want the club to be led by a Christian, because that’s the very nature of their group. This kneejerk reaction will only hurt students, and make college administrators look foolish.
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