Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Campus ministry chided for 'discrimination' among leadership

USA (MNN) ― The Gospel has offended enough people that InterVarsity Christian Fellowship has been threatened with suspension from another college campus.

Over this past school year, Vanderbilt University leadership decided to place on provisional status InterVarsity's Graduate Christian Fellowship and three other campus Christian groups for non-compliance with Vanderbilt's anti-discrimination policy.

The anti-discrimination policy, as it currently stands, would prohibit a Christian organization from using any religious criteria when selecting leaders. InterVarsity believes such a policy not only flies in the face of common sense, but is contrary to the spirit of the Freedom of Religion protections in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Senior Vice President and Director of Collegiate Ministries for InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/USA Jim Lundgren has sent a letter to InterVarsity's Vanderbilt University chapter alumni and others asking for prayer in support of religious freedom at Vanderbilt.

"We love the university environment, and we welcome all students and faculty into our chapter activities at Vanderbilt," Lundgren said in the letter. "However, it is essential that InterVarsity student leaders be committed Christians who understand their faith as they seek to lead their peers. No organization of any kind can survive without leaders committed to its basic beliefs."

Lundgren is asking for prayers that Vanderbilt will change its position and allow religious organizations to choose leaders who believe in the principles and beliefs of those organizations.

A Town Hall meeting will be held on the Vanderbilt campus on tonight. University officials will explain how the anti-discrimination policy will be applied to student groups at that time.

For more background on the Vanderbilt situation, click here where you can check out statements by Vanderbilt's leadership, a response from an InterVarsity Campus Staff Member at Vanderbilt, and an open letter to Vanderbilt Chancellor Nicholas Zeppos from the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. 

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