What happened while you were away

Check out what the University and Maranatha did over summer vacation.

You should take a close look at the new Student Organization Manual with regards to religious student organizations: “Religious student organizations may require their voting membership and officers to adhere to the organization’s statement of faith and its rules of conduct.”

Religious student organizations that receive fees and use University facilities now have the option of creed-based discrimination in their voting membership. This is because of a settlement between the University and Maranatha Christian Fellowship. This does not apply to non “religious” groups. Communists can still run for president of College Republicans.

Maranatha claims it filed the lawsuit because it felt a group’s officers should agree with the group’s purpose. Things are, of course, easier when this is so. That being said, is it feasible that a person who is in conflict with a group’s purposes will be elected to office? If it were to happen, shouldn’t that group be changing its purposes to reflect the electoral mandate?

Furthermore, groups are allowed to exclude those who disagree from voting membership as well. Maranatha has not said why it felt it was necessary to include voting membership as well as officers as out-of-bounds to those who disagree. Apparently, a group’s doctrine can take precedence over its members.

This lawsuit had nothing to do with free speech. Maranatha claims to be a “very diverse organization,” that “80 percent (of its members) are former adulterers or were involved in casual sex.” This is a worthless statistic to be sure (equating adulterers with those involved in casual sex is an insult). It is curious that such a diverse group would equate discriminatory practices against those holding other religious or theological views with free speech.

The purpose of funding and facility use is to create diverse opportunities for all students, not just those of an Evangelical Protestant faith. Welcome back to the University, where all 32,000 students can pay for student groups they probably can’t join.

Campus Atheists and Secular Humanists is open to all, and has had many religious voting members in the past. We will remain open to all. It’s sad religious bigotry appears to be endorsed by the University and Maranatha.

Mike Jones is the Campus Atheist and Secular Humanists Publishing and Editing Committee manager. Please send comments to [email protected]