The University of Colorado at Colorado Springs is being sued after demanding that a Christian organization permit “atheists or other non-Christians to lead their Bible studies” in order to be recognized on campus.
While the school officials declined to comment on the situation, the Alliance Defending Freedom stated that: “The university refused to grant Ratio Christi registered status because it only allows those who share and personally hold beliefs consistent with the group’s mission to serve as its leaders.”
“As a Christian apologetics organization, Ratio Christi seeks to defend the Christian faith and explain how the Bible applies to various current cultural, ethical, and political issues. Any student can attend its events. Any student of any faith can become a member of Ratio Christi, as long as he supports the group’s purpose. But Ratio Christi requires that those who lead the Christian organization must share its religious beliefs. As a result, the university has denied it registered status, limiting its access to funding, meeting and event space, and administrative support,” said the legal team.
The lawsuit disputes the school’s belief that it can refuse registered status to groups if they choose leaders that agree with the group’s religious outlooks.
Additionally, it notes other biased actions by the school against the Christian group, including that “non-religious groups are allowed to select members who support their purposes. And the university allows fraternities that admit only men and sororities that admit only women to continue as registered student organizations, in contradiction to the university’s policy against ‘discriminating based on sex.'”
Director of the ADF Center for Academic Freedom, ADF Senior Counsel Tyson Langhofer, said that regardless of “claiming inclusiveness and diversity as its core values, the University of Colorado is failing to foster real diversity of thought and is, instead, discriminating against a Christian group based on its beliefs.”
“Today’s university students will be tomorrow’s legislators, judges, university presidents, and voters, but at the University of Colorado, students are learning the wrong message: that government can dictate who can lead certain student groups,” he stated. “It’s vital that public universities model the First Amendment values they are supposed to be teaching to students.”
(Sarah Curlee, “Colorado School Requires that Christians Allow Atheists to Lead Bible Studies,” Crosswalk Blog Online, November 19, 2018)
[TBC: But are atheist groups also required to have Christian speakers?]