Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Federal Court: University Of Iowa Illegally Discriminated Against Christian Student Groups

Court documents revealed the public university kept a ‘watch list’ of student groups on probation. All of the groups on the list were religious.

On Wednesday, a federal court ruled that the University of Iowa had illegally targeted religious groups for requiring their leaders to follow their faith. As such, Business Leaders in Christ (BLC), a Christian student group on the University of Iowa’s campus, secured a permanent place on campus.

At the hearing February 1, it was clear the university had not only kicked BLC off campus because of their expression of faith, but had targeted and blacklisted 31 other student groups— only religious ones. The court ruled that the university must stop its unequal treatment of religious student organizations in the name of “anti-discrimination.”

Under the university’s policy, “religious registered student organizations are not permitted to require their leaders to agree with and live by the organization’s religious beliefs.” This blatant government animus against religious groups on taxpayer-funded college campuses is a direct violation of students’ First Amendment rights and demonstrates significant disdain for religious people, who have every right to gather and express their faith on a public campus.

Many names on the blacklist include mainstream groups of various faiths, most of which operate in colleges and universities nationwide, such as: Chabad Jewish Student Association, Athletes in Action, Campus Bible Fellowship, Christian Legal Society, CRU, Muslim Students Association, and InterVarsity Graduate Christian Fellowship.

Before the ruling, the University of Iowa claimed they had not been discriminatory at all:

However, it was clear from court filings that the university intended to kick all the religious groups off campus if courts gave them a favorable ruling. How ironic that while in trial defending themselves from the evidence showing the university had discriminated against BLC and other student groups because of their religious beliefs, the watch list demonstrates the university has been doing exactly the same thing. Thankfully, the federal court saw right through this.

In a statement, Eric Baxter, vice president and senior counsel at Becket, a nonprofit law firm representing BLC, said, “The university wanted a license to discriminate, and Judge Rose said no way. This ruling is a win for basic fairness, but it is also an eloquent plea for civility in how governments treat Americans in all their diversity. As a governmental body bound by the First Amendment, the university should have never tried to get into the game of playing favorites in the first place, and it is high time for it to stop now.”


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am an Atheist, but I strongly support the right of people to live their religions as long as they are not interfering in the rights of others.