Christian Club Sues University After Being Booted for Requiring Its Leaders to Align With Beliefs

(Fox News) A Christian student group is suing the University of Iowa for discrimination after they were booted off campus for requiring student leaders to embrace Christian religious beliefs—including a clause on sexual morality.

The university stripped The Business Leaders in Christ of their status on campus after a member claimed he was denied a leadership position for being openly gay. The group, however, says the member was rejected because “he expressly stated that he rejected BLinC’s religious beliefs and would not follow them.”

“Members should conduct their careers without the greed, racism, sexual immorality and selfishness that all too often arise in business, political, and cultural institutions,” a portion of group’s statement of faith says.

University of Iowa spokesperson Anne Bassett issued a statement to Fox News accusing BLinC of violating the school’s Human Rights Policy and the Iowa Civil Rights Act.

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  • Blake Paine

    This case has already been to the Supreme Court, there is no right to be an official campus student group, and such groups may be required to obey civil rights laws.

    • TruthvLIes

      They do obey civil rights laws.

      • Blake Paine

        can’t require certain beliefs under civil rights law.

        • TruthvLIes

          They have never said they could not be a member. They said they could not be a leader.

          Comprende?

          • Blake Paine

            Bother to read the case, the opening question the SCOTUS asked in is ruling was:

            May a public law school condition its official recognition of a student group—and the attendant use of school funds and facilities—on the organization’s agreement to open eligibility for membership and leadership to all students?

            The answer was ‘yes they can’.

            This is old news.

          • cadcoke5

            In this particular case, the University of Iowa does permit organizations to limit its membership, including religious ones. They are just being selective in this particular case, as to which club to deny that..

    • cadcoke5

      Religious organizations are permitted to discriminate based on religion. That is part of their purpose. A Christian organization is even commanded to engage in such discrimination in scripture. If such a group did not those commands, they would be a social clubs that exists by ignoring their stated purpose.

      As for college clubs. If the college is of the Atheist faith, I can see how they may reasonavly require their clubs to be atheistic. Christian colleges have similar requirements.

      A public college cannot ignore the civil rights of religious groups, by requiring them to obey imagined civil rights.

      • Blake Paine

        There is no civil right to be officially recognized by the college. They are totally free to have their own student organization just colleges have always had. But the college can limit official recognition to organizations open to all students without civil rights discrimination.

        Again a question already answered by the court.

        • cadcoke5

          I don’t know about the chapter at that specific college, but generally the National Honor Society has a minimum GPA to be a member. There can be standards related to the purpose of a group. Also sports teams heavily discrimate based on physical characteristics.

          If a college permits sone groups to have standards related to their purpose, but only forbid the Christian ones from doing so, then the college is discrimatin against them.

          • Bob Johnson

            Yes, organizations can have standards and on most campuses Young Republicans can discriminate against RINOs. And schools may require that sponsored clubs cannot discriminate against members of protected classes. That means the school will not recognize some groups.

          • Blake Paine

            Don’t confuse a National group with a local student club.

            And the colleges don’t permit some and forbid others. Read the case, all official student groups must obey the same rules.

          • cadcoke5

            You mean the rules that say that a Christian group must not be permitted to be Christian? How does this not favor groups that are opposed to Christianity? And while there are some in the public education system, who feel that the government must favor the religious faith of those who reject Christianity, does that sit well with your interpretation of the “establishment” clause?

          • Blake Paine

            You mean the rules that say that a Christian group must not be permitted to be Christian?

            See? You don’t even understand the issue. All official student groups are about a subject, open to all students. Same for religious, political, or social.

            As for the rest of the word salad, sounds more like you are trying to justify your prejudices. The Christians can join and lead the Atheist student group too, this has nothing to do with the establishment clause.

          • TruthvLIes

            Yeah. Right!

            I can see it now. “I want to stand for president. I am a christian and believe in God so I will make a good president to advance the atheist cause.”

            Pull the other leg it has got bells on it.

          • Blake Paine

            Exactly! You wouldn’t get elected! Just as the atheist that ran for the Christian oriented group’s leadership wouldn’t get elected. There is no need for a ‘litmus test’ ‘loyalty oath’ type requirement that is what got this group in trouble.

            Again, if any of you were interested you would have read about the case that has already been before the Supreme Court. But you haven’t even bothered.

          • cadcoke5

            There can be a “hostile takeover”. This is especially easy at a university, where the membership turns-over every 4 years or so. A group hostile to another can simply have a larger number join, and then vote their guys in.

            But, in reality, the university does allow clubs to limit involvement based on the member’s support for the group’s purpose. They are just being selective about which groups can and which groups can’t.

          • TruthvLIes

            You are a bit naive Blake. As I have already said, a hostile takeover is easy to organise. All you have to do is make sure more of your people attend than the others and have each of your people stand for election and bingo! you get voted in and the organisation becomes an atheist one.

          • Blake Paine

            No, you’re just a bit uninformed with your naive way it could happen. Again, if you were interested you would find out how such groups operate.

            Only members in good standing can vote and organizations can and do require extensive attendance requirements to become one. A hostile takeover is a pain to organize, you would have to have a majority of ‘hostile’ voters attending for months to get voting status and still have their candidate lose because no one beliefs they are sincerely interested in the group from months long experience with them.

            You can’t just ‘pack the ballot box’ without psychotic levels of motivation.

          • TruthvLIes

            You obviously have not heard of branch stacking. It is a chosen method of political parties to stack local branches so that their candidate of choice is elected.

          • Blake Paine

            Which has nothing to do with a student club. you’re just flaying now.

          • TruthvLIes

            How do you know?

          • cadcoke5

            While they do permit any student to attend, leadership is in a different category. To permit people hostile to the purpose of the group to take leadership roles is, in essence, a way to permit a hostile take-over.

            For example, what if there is a Neo-Nazi group, that would prefer there not be a Jewish group on campus. They can simply gather enough of their members to outnumber the Jewish group’s attendance, and get all their own representatives elected as officers.

            The college’s rules are obviously being used for the purpose of getting rid of the actual Christian groups, See the filing (I posted the link and some of its text in another reply) to see as how uneven their rules are being applied.

          • cadcoke5

            The Discus system often has problems, and it seems my post with the filing didn’t make it through. I will look it up again and post it later today.

          • Blake Paine

            To permit people hostile to the purpose of the group to take leadership roles is, in essence, a way to permit a hostile take-over.

            And again you have demonstrated you haven’t a clue about these situations and have done zero research.

            They have a right to run for election, they don’t have a right to be elected. People long ago figured out ways that the ‘hostile’ can run but still won’t be elected.

            If you can’t figure out how to do that then bother to do some research reading the bylaws of official student groups at these colleges and see how its done.

            I’m not reading the thread just the replies. post the link here if you think its important.

          • cadcoke5

            I done the research in regards to the topic. And now at Discus. I have some posts being held for moderation. Perhaps the length triggered that, and/or the presence of the link.

            Your copy of the Universityscrews policy is perhaps inconsistent with the policy statements cited by BLinC. Though perhaps there is a distinction between membership and leadership in regards to the policies.

            I have not yet uncovered the evidence documents referee to by the BLinC filing. Do you have access to them?

          • Blake Paine

            They don’t approve messages with links, or take so long its not worth it.

            And that a lawyer’s brief is only half-true is because is from a lawyer. That other groups are technically in violation isn’t important if no one has ever made a complaint. I would think that this lawsuit will be more likely to make the university get their groups in compliance with University policies rather than letting the BLinC violate them.

          • cadcoke5

            Have you read the BLinC brief? It quotes a number of documents from the UofI indicating that a student organization has the right to restrict its membership to those who subscribe to the organization’s goals and beliefs.

            Even the student who filed the complaint against BLinC, when he formed an alternative club, chose to require its officers to agree with their core beliefs, which include affirming the LGBT agenda. Thus, they seek to exclude any actual Christians who accept God’s word.

          • Blake Paine

            Did you read actual university requirements?

            At best it documents that other organizations are running illegally, on paper, too. and could be required to change their bylaws and constitutions.

            And sorry, you can’t decide what a Christian is, most are LGBTQ supportive in the US.

          • cadcoke5

            The actual university seem to vary, depending upon which university document you read. But, even if the club must have membership open to anyone, that does not mean it must have leadership open to anyone.

            Also, you can’t have two sets of rules. One for the Christian groups that believe God’s word, and another for all other groups.

          • Blake Paine

            I posted the University of Iowa’s requirements, need look no where else.

            And there aren’t two sets of rules – where has someone made a complaint of treatment against university guidelines and told it was ok?

          • cadcoke5

            I finally found some of the pertinent documents on the university’s own web site. I do this since you seem to distrust the filing from the lawyers on behalf of BLinC. I wish we could share links here. But, perhaps the title is sufficient to do a search.
            Here is an excerpt from the UofI’s web page titled “Registration of Student Organizations”
            ==================================
            2. Eligibility/Registration Requirements

            a. Any group or organization which consists of and maintains at least 80 percent University students, whose purposes are consistent with the educational objectives of the University, and do not violate local, state or federal law, is eligible for registration by the University. To start a new registered student organization, the organization must consist of and maintain at least five (5) individuals as members, of which four (4) must be currently enrolled UI students.

            b. Membership. It is the policy of the University that all registered student organizations be able to exercise free choice of members on the basis of their merits as individuals without restriction in accordance with the University Policy on Human Rights. The University acknowledges the interests of students to organize and associate with like-minded students, therefore any individual who subscribes to the goals and beliefs of a student organization may participate in and become a member of the organization.

            Membership and participation in the organization must be open to all students without regard to race, creed, color, religion, national origin, age, sex, pregnancy, disability, genetic information, status as a U.S. veteran, service in the U.S. military, sexual orientation, gender identity, associational preferences, or any other classification that deprives the person of consideration as an individual. The organization will guarantee that equal opportunity and equal access to membership, programming, facilities, and benefits shall be open to all persons. ==============================

            If the word “membership” is deemed to be synonymous with “leadership”, item 2.b.seem to be in conflict with the paragraph that follows. But, normally those two words are distinct. BLinC permits those who reject their purpose to be members. Leadership is restricted to those who do.

            1.a also has the qualification, “whose purposes are consistent with the educational objectives of the University” … but the university’s policy stated elsewhere indicates they do not promote any particular form of religion. Therefore they should not be favoring religious faiths that view homosexuality as OK and banning a group that views it as sinful and against their purpose.

          • Blake Paine

            I think the problem is you are confusing the group with its members. If the voting ‘membership in good standing’ won’t elect someone who doesn’t have certain values or opinions, that’s completely legal. What they can’t to is elect someone and then after the fact require any such oath.

            They can elect who they want, but they can’t require a religious orthodoxy oath from those they have already elected.

          • cadcoke5

            How do you then interpret the university’s policy that, ” any individual who subscribes to the goals and beliefs of a student organization may participate in and become a member of the organization.”

          • TruthvLIes

            And you have demonstrated you don’t have a clue about these things. I have seen it happen so I know that it happens.

          • Blake Paine

            Cite. if it happened there will be an internet trail. Otherwise its Bigfoot.

          • TruthvLIes

            Oh dear, I forgot to dot every I and cross every T and post every meeting and comment on the internet so that everyone can see how it happens.

            The problem is that I have got a life so meeting the demands of a petty few who have nothing to do but make silly claims is not high on my agenda.

          • bman

            re: “They have a right to run for election, they don’t have a right to be elected. People long ago figured out ways that the ‘hostile’ can run but still won’t be elected.”

            It sounds like that can be circumvented by a hostile candidate who has friends join the club for the purpose of electing him.

          • Blake Paine

            Anyway, the group allowed the man to apply for a leadership role, but they did not select him because he did not agree to their code of conduct.

            And so they did it backwards, they should have asked the candidates to express their opinions about these things before the election and then not voted for him.

          • bman

            re: “And so they did it backwards, they should have asked the candidates to express their opinions about these things before the election and then not voted for him.”

            Per Becket, the group’s statement of faith requires an affirmation of faith prior to becoming a leader. The man was also interviewed by the group president regarding this before his candidacy was submitted to the executive members. During the interview the man did not make the needed affirmation but said he was conflicted as to where his faith was due to gay tendencies. Based on the interview they voted against appointment.

            The narrative then continues:

            59. When she next met with the student, Ms. Thompson [president] asked the member if he planned to follow BLinC’s Christian beliefs on sexual moral conduct.The member said he did not and that he intended to pursue same-sex relationships.

            60. Ms. Thompson expressed to the member that she
            wanted to continue to walk closely with him as a friend and fellow
            Christian, and would love for him to continue to be a member of BLinC, but that he would not be eligible for a leadership position because his decision to enter into samesex relationships was inconsistent with BLinC’s religious beliefs.

            61. Ms. Thompson emphasized to the member that her decision was not because he was gay,but because he did not agree with BLinC’s biblically based views on sexual conduct

            Thus, it appears he was given adequate opportunity to provide the needed affirmaton of faith before and after the selection process.

          • Blake Paine

            Per Becket, the group’s statement of faith requires an affirmation of faith prior to becoming a leader.

            Which they can’t require since people of all creeds and religions are eligible for membership and leadership. If they had asked the prospective candidates their opinions on this policy and then let the members in good standing vote, they could achieve the same result.

            Just like in other government related opinions, that there can be no litmus test on holding a position, doesn’t mean those with unpopular positions will be elected.

            because his decision to enter into samesex relationships was inconsistent with BLinC’s religious beliefs.

            Can’t require a member or leader to have certain beliefs, but can give the members in good standing enough information that they won’t elect someone without those beliefs.

            See the difference?

          • bman

            Which they can’t require since people of all creeds and religions are eligible for membership and leadership.

            OK, your argument seems fairly solid that the required UI Human Rights clause forbids them to have a creedal test for membership and/or leadership.

            Becket does not challenge the humans rights clause directly in its filed complaint, but it does explain why it is unreasonable for the University to disallow their affirmation of faith clause.

            As follows:

            50. This [the right to have an affirmation of faith clause] is a matter of basic institutional integrity. To remain in existence and to carry out its mission—to be “Business Leaders in Christ”—BLinC must have leaders who themselves embrace and follow BLinC’s mission. BLinC’s Bible studies, prayers, worship, and religious service would be hollow, inauthentic, and ultimately short-lived if it did not require its leaders to share its basic organizational mission and guiding purpose.”

            That is a solid logical argument that has both weight and merit, that I think any fair minded person would accept as true.

            The question, then, becomes whether the university’s humans rights clause can be attributed to an animus that is is typical of universities today because it’s policy disadvantages conservative Christian groups unnecessarily, while it advantages liberal religious groups.

            I realize you argued elsewhere that, “Christian Legal Society v. Martinez (2010),.. held that universities may require student organizations that get university-provided benefits to accept all would-be members — including ones whose beliefs are at odds with the organization’s principles” to include the leadership.

            I think a more conservative court would probably see it differently. There is a typical animus against convervatism in today’s universties that is well known, and that animus best explains why conservative Christian groups are the one’s having to go court.

            Can’t require a member or leader to have certain beliefs, but can give the members in good standing enough information that they won’t elect someone without those beliefs. See the difference?

            I appreciate you highlighting that difference, and it is apparently the only means the University allows.

            Even so, the group picture suggests they have only a small number of members. It is unclear how they could fend off a hostile takeover by far left students.

            In sum, tI think the group acted reasonably, and it did not do it backwards. I think hte problem is that school does not allow them reasonable accomadation due to the typical animus foudn in universties today.

          • bman

            Addendum to above:
            Becket argues against using the human rights policy to deregister the group.

            68. For example, the University’s policy regarding “Registration of Student Organizations” states that it is “the policy of the University that all registered student organizations be able to exercise free choice of members on the basis of their merits as individuals without restriction in accordance with the University Policy on Human Rights.” Exhibit E (emphasis added).

            69. The policy further recognizes that students have the right to “organize and associate with like-minded students” and thus that “any individual who subscribes to the goals and beliefs of a student organization may participate in and become a member of the organization.”

            @BlakeP3:disqus
            .

          • Blake Paine

            Just looked up their filing and they have no case, a student group has to be open to all students, not just those that will take a loyalty oath. By their own bylaws they make themselves a private group and can not be an official student group:

            Its “primary mission is to create a community of followers of Christ . . . to share and gain wisdom on how to practice business that is both Biblical and founded on God’s truth.” See Business Leaders in Christ,

            Its primary mission is incompatible with the College’s standards for student groups. From what I see is that there probably are other groups have not complied with the college’s requirements for student groups but that no one has complained.

            Article II – Membership

            a) Required UI Human Rights Clause must be included in all student organization constitutions and must be written EXACTLY as follows (updated 10/15/14):

            In no aspect of its programs shall there be any difference in the treatment of persons on the basis of race, creed, color, religion, national origin, age, sex, pregnancy, disability, genetic information, status as a U.S. veteran, service in the U.S. military, sexual orientation, gender identity, associational preferences, or any other classification which would deprive the person of consideration as an individual. The organization will guarantee that equal opportunity and equal access to membership, programming, facilities, and benefits shall be open to all persons. Eighty percent (80%) of this organization’s membership must be composed of UI students.

            Members in Good Standing:

            To be a member in good standing, one must have paid dues (if applicable), met GPA requirements as set forth in By-Laws (if applicable), and met meeting attendance requirements as set forth in the By-Laws (if applicable). Members in Good Standing have the right to vote as well as seek and hold an elected/appointed office or position.

            All this complaint will do is require that others clean up their bylaws.

            Oh and requiring that the group discussion stays on topic is different. The atheist at the Christian group can be kicked out for actively trashing Christianity, but not for sitting quietly and listening.

            This is like a comic-book version of the far better complaint in Christian Legal Society v Martinez. It is doomed to failure.

          • TruthvLIes

            An atheist sitting quietly and listening?? That’ll be the day. Why do you think that christian forums on the internet are full of atheists commenting and giving their views?

            Simple. They can’t sit and listen.

          • Blake Paine

            And so then they can be kicked out, just like the guy who joins the chess club and then complains its for nerds at the meeting. The groups can remove members for other than civil rights reasons.

          • TruthvLIes

            Your naivete does not seem to know any bounds.

          • TruthvLIes

            True and I have experienced that. A local combined church thing committee is stacked to prevent people from certain churches being on the committee as they don’t want anyone to rock the boat.

          • TruthvLIes

            It is a clear case of christian bashing as someone has got a bee in their bonnet about it.

            As a disabled person, I should have every right to join a sports club and participate in their teams or it is discrimination.

          • Blake Paine

            I get the feeling that you are being sarcastic but that just reveals you don’t really understand the situation.

            As a disabled person you can join any student club about football, the soccer team, etc. There are plenty of people who don’t play a sport in clubs about a sport.

          • TruthvLIes

            In your haste to put everyone right you have not read what I said. I did not say anything about joining a sports club. I said i should be allowed to join a sports club and participate in sports i.e. although I am disabled I should not be banned form playing in the football team because of it.

          • Blake Paine

            I just assumed you understood that membership doesn’t mean participation. And, of course, school sports teams aren’t student groups. You can join the chess club, doesn’t mean you are going to be on the school chess team.

  • Off Shore

    And we can see exactly how Satan will get people to participate in his schemes, agree with us or don’t play.

    Revelation 13:17 King James Version

    17 And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

  • Lydia Church

    Time to go underground, meaning just not being officially ‘recognized.’ “Join the club!!!”