I'm a father, and I'm amazed that my daughter is already a teenager. As any concerned and loving parent would be, I want her fast-approaching college years to be rich with learning, growth, and discovery. But she will also need a refuge for faith and fellowship, especially if she attends a secular school.
I went to Yale, and I have some idea of the pressure that Christian students face on campus. Is it too much to ask that my daughter have the option of attending a nurturing Christian group on campus? According to today's guardians of tolerance and political correctness, apparently it is!
Just a couple of years ago I told you about a disturbing trend on college campuses, fueled by a disastrously wrong-headed 2010 Supreme Court decision, to, in effect, "de-recognize" Christian groups that refuse to allow non-Christians and practicing homosexuals as leaders.
Proponents say that, in the name of anti-discrimination, colleges must discriminate against Christian groups that seek to maintain their identity and mission—even though these groups welcome anyone to join. Such is the ironic state of "tolerance" in 21st-century America.
As I said at that time, this is like "a college chapter of the People for the Ethical Treatment for Animals … being led by someone whose favorite food is nice rare steak and who wears fur coats whenever she can."
Okay, so where are we now? Well, the good news is that the New York Times—yes, the Times—has just published a very balanced look at the issue. Christians actually got to tell their side of the story. The bad news, however, is that increasing numbers of colleges and university systems are using anti-discrimination policies to thwart Christian groups. The Times reports, "At 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."
Further, at Vanderbilt, "tolerance" has caused more than a dozen Christian groups to lose their official standing. "One Christian group balked," the Times reports, "after a university official asked the students to cut the words 'personal commitment to Jesus Christ' from their list of qualifications for leadership."
Friends, if a Christian group can't assure that its leaders believe in Jesus Christ, what's the use of having a Christian group at all? In the name of tolerance and diversity, we're getting less of both, and at our universities, believe it or not!
The president of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, Alec Hill, said "It's absurd. "The genius of American culture is that we allow voluntary, self-identified organizations to form, and that's what our student groups are." So much for society's "little platoons"!
Now it's true that these universities technically aren't kicking the Christian groups off campus, though they're making it much harder for them to meet, advertise, or use the school name. And some schools, such as the University of Florida and the University of Texas, have chosen to exempt religious groups from these absurd nondiscrimination policies.
But if you're planning to send your child to college anytime soon, be sure to find out what the school's policy is. And check with your alma mater: Put in a word for religious freedom! I know I will.
Eric Metaxas is currently the voice of Breakpoint, a radio commentary (www.breakpoint.org) that is broadcast on 400 stations with an audience of eight million.