The New York Times reported that for more than 40 years small Christian groups that hold weekly Bible studies and prayer meetings have been welcomed on the campus of Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine. But beginning this fall, “The Bowdoin Christian Fellowship will no longer be recognized by the college,” reported the Times, noting that in “a collision between religious freedom and anti-discrimination policies, the student group, and its advisers, have refused to agree to the college’s demand that any student, regardless of his or her religious beliefs, should be able to run for election as a leader of any group, including the Christian association.”
The move at Bowdoin is part of a trend at both secular and marginally religious universities to try to force Christian groups to be “inclusive” of individuals who embrace attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors that run counter to Scripture and classic Christian tenets. To their credit, most conservative Christian groups have resisted the pressure — which has resulted in many of them losing official recognition at the colleges and universities where they have been welcomed for years.
Most recently, reported the New York Times, at California State University (Cal State), “the nation’s largest university system with nearly 450,000 students on 23 campuses, the chancellor is preparing this summer to withdraw official recognition from evangelical groups that are refusing to pledge not to discriminate on the basis of religion in the selection of their leaders.”
Similarly, at Vanderbilt in Nashville, Tennessee, “more than a dozen groups, most of them evangelical but one of them Catholic, have already lost their official standing over the same issue,” continued the Times, recalling that “one Christian group balked after a university official asked the students to cut the words 'personal commitment to Jesus Christ' from their list of qualifications for leadership.”
The Times reported that while “Jewish, Muslim, Catholic, and mainline Protestant groups have agreed, saying they do not discriminate and do not anticipate that the new policies will cause problems,” conservative evangelical groups — the type the Times said make many liberal academics “uncomfortable” — have resisted.
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