As was expected, the response to the lawsuit filed by Maranatha Christian Fellowship has been distinctly negative. I believe this is because of a general misunderstanding of the case’s facts. Maranatha has not and will never plan to bar individuals from our organization. We have no desire to discriminate. If the lawsuit is successful in declaring the Equal Opportunity Statement unconstitutional, it is likely nothing will change in the conduction of our group. Then why, you ask, did we file the suit in the first place?
Over the past two years, Christian groups at both Tufts University and Rutgers University have been removed from their respective campuses without warning. They had not committed any acts of discrimination nor explicitly broken any rules. Their only crime was reflecting Christian principles in their organization’s constitution. Whether you like it or not, Christianity mandates certain standards of its leaders. This is not simply someone’s opinion; it is based on the Bible, our sacred text. To deny a Christian organization the right to conduct itself after the manner the Bible prescribes is to deny that organization the right to be fully Christian. We do not seek the right to discriminate, as many have implied, but the right to practice our faith without fear of oppression, as is mandated by the First Amendment.
It is important to note we have not been impacted negatively by this policy in the past. We are not the “target of a massive infiltration plot by infidels.” Obviously, an unsaved person is as likely to want to join our group as I am to join the “campus animal sacrifice club” or something equally un-Christian. Still, we have chosen to challenge an unjust policy instead of resting on the status quo that has protected us so far. We will not leave a loophole that could possibly hurt us or any other organization that desires to practice its religion, politics, etc. to the fullest extent.
I close with this: We would love to see everyone in our University community come to one of our events. We have no desire to deny you access to our activities; in fact, our entire campus goal is reach out to those who disagree with us. Come to one of our dinners and you’ll find a group of loving, accepting and hospitable students. Come to one of our special speaker seminars and you’ll find interesting topics and open-minded discussion. Stop by our table and ask any question you want about Christianity, and you will be answered without judgment or condemnation.
We are unashamed of our faith and will practice it to the fullest extent. This includes loving those who disagree with us and having our leaders be people who practice this faith to the fullest extent.
Dale Larson is a chemistry senior and president of Maranatha Christian Fellowship. Send comments to [email protected]