Florida Brings the Hammer Down on Would-Be Rowdy Spring Breakers
DeSantis and Trump Both Dismiss the Idea of Being Each Other's 2024 Running...
MTG, Democrats Offer Two Different Views After Touring DC Jail Where J6 Defendants...
Pentagon Diversity Officer Won't Face Discipline for Anti-White Tweets
Jordan, Comer Respond to Woke DA Alvin Bragg, Accuse Him of Creating Danger...
Biden Is Unhappy With Kamala Harris's Performance as VP
Republicans Criticize Biden’s Response to Airstrikes In Iran: 'Too Little, Too Late'
These Schools Removed Cops to Appease BLM—It Didn't End Well
Greta Thunberg Sees a Great Capitalist Conspiracy Against the Climate
Xi and Vlad, a Wake-Up Call for America and the West
Bullies Rule Under Woke Discipline Policies
Europe Extends Sanctions Against Iran
The P-8 Poseidon Is Increasingly Important for the Defense of Our Nation
Suspicious Package Containing White Powder and a Threatening Note Arrives at Bragg's Offic...
Democrats and Republicans Plan Visit to Prison Where Jan. 6 Defendants Are Being...

Freedom under fire at Vanderbilt University

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.

A Vanderbilt University policy prohibiting “discrimination on its campus against anyone because of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression” is drawing national attention because of the way it’s being used to discriminate against religious groups.

For example, at least four “Christian student organizations at Vanderbilt University have been put on ‘provisional status’ for saying that the leaders of each of their respective groups are required to submit to their group's religious beliefs.” One of these groups, the Christian Legal Society, was informed via email from Vanderbilt’s Office of Religious Life that the group is not allowed to “preclude someone from a leadership position based on religious belief. Only performance-based criteria may be used.”

The email to the CLS chapter on Vanderbilt’s campus gets to the heart of the matter by demonstrating how the misapplication of the nondiscrimination policy is actually discriminatory.

In other words, the Vanderbilt policy ubiquitously put in place to prevent institutional discrimination is now being used to tell campus-recognized religious groups that can’t distinguish between practitioners of their religion and non-practitioners of their religion when choosing leaders.

If we take this ridiculous application of the nondiscrimination policies to their broadest and most obvious conclusions, we can only concur with the American Family Association for pointing out that such a policy creates a scenario where “an atheist could lead a Christian group, a man a woman's group, a Jew a Muslim group or vice versa.”

Sadly, this misapplication of a nondiscrimination policy is not without its supporters. Writing for the Tennessean, Ted Rayburn contends “Vanderbilt’s decision to prevent discriminatory practices being carried out in its name is the right thing to do.” His basis for this contention rests, in part, on the fact that the U.S. Supreme Court “last year affirmed the University of California Hastings School of the Law’s refusal to officially recognize the Christian Legal Society unless the group allowed all students to join regardless of beliefs.”

But with the Hastings decision we have to keep in mind the following factors: (1) the policy at issue in that case is different in key respects from what is at issue at Vanderbilt (‘all-comers’ versus nondiscrimination on certain grounds); (2) that the SCT was merely ruling on its constitutional permissibility, not its policy virtues; and (3) the SCT certainly was not recommending that Hastings’ extremely unusual policy was obligatory or even to be commended to other schools for implementation (a common misconception).

In the end, what is ultimately at stake here are the God-given rights to freedom of speech and religion. With these, of course, is the freedom of association, all of which are facing a frontal assault from the misapplication of policies like those we’re currently seeing at Vanderbilt University.

Join the conversation as a VIP Member


Trending on Townhall Video