Note: Campus Crusade for Christ now calls itself “Cru.” Due to his deep disdain for political correctness, the author refuses to refer to Campus Crusade by its new name.
First of all, I would like to thank you for joining my Facebook fan page and for weighing in on my recent article “The Campus Crusade for Comfort.” It is understandable that you would wish to defend your organization, which I criticized rather bluntly in my article. However, your accusation that my article was “un-Christ-like” and was written in a spirit that undermines “Christian unity” requires a response. Since you chose to proffer your criticism in a public forum, I’ll respond by using my weekly column.
I became a public commentator in 2002 when I penned my first-ever column under the title “The Campus Crusade Against Christ.” The theme of that column was anti-Christian bias on my own campus, UNC-Wilmington. I later wrote about similar bias on other campuses and eventually started to give speeches all around the country. At one of those early speeches, I encountered a university policy, which gave me an opportunity to stand in unity with Campus Crusade.
The policy in question was one that forced members of Christian organizations to pay mandatory student activity fees into a biased system. The fees were then put in a fund to pay only for events sponsored by secular student groups. In other words, the policy forbade “religious” groups from drawing on the fund in order to sponsor “religious” activities. I found out about the policy in 2006. That was six years after the U.S. Supreme Court banned the practice of denying mandatory student fees to religious groups. The details I found should interest you because it involved an incident with your organization, Campus Crusade.
Unbelievably, the public university that denied Campus Crusade money because they were “religious” also told them that they could make themselves eligible if they would agree not to pray or sing hymns at an event for which they were seeking funding. It was a case ripe for adjudication. Along with others, I tried to get Campus Crusade to sue but they refused to do so. For Campus Crusade, getting funding for the next weenie roast was more important than standing up for religious freedom.
The worst thing about Campus Crusade’s immoral capitulation was that it adversely affected other religious organizations. Had Campus Crusade fought, they could have nullified a policy that adversely affected other Christians. In other words, they had an opportunity to show unity but did not.
Subsequently, at the very school where Campus Crusade traded its religious freedom for student government funding, there was a lawsuit over a campus speech code. One of the plaintiffs was a fine Christian woman who fought to overturn a speech code that was being used to suppress conservative speech and which also posed a grave threat to religious organizations.
After she sued, homosexual groups erupted in anger - falsely claiming that she was defending “hate speech” by opposing the speech code. They defamed her, physically threatened her, and verbally abused her –all in the name of tolerance and diversity.
This time, Campus Crusade did not remain neutral. They weighed in. But, unbelievably, they weighed in against the Christian woman and in favor of those defending the speech codes. Later, Campus Crusade changed its name to appear more tolerant and less “offensive.” Clearly, they had placed “inoffensiveness” above religious freedom on their list of priorities.
Right after these unfortunate events unfolded I became embroiled in my own First Amendment lawsuit. In part, because I stood in unity with Christians and defended them against illegal policies, I was denied a promotion at my school.
With the support of numerous Christian organizations, I eventually won the seven-year legal battle. Two Christian legal firms paid my legal bills and countless other Christian ministry and policy groups publicly backed me. But one Christian organization remained conspicuously silent. Of course, I am speaking of your organization, the Crusade formerly named after Christ.
For seven long years I heard not a single word of public support from a single member of Campus Crusade. When I won the case, I was deluged with calls and emails and handwritten letters from Christian leaders all across America.
But I heard not a word from Campus Crusade for months in the wake of the verdict.
Then, in mid-July, the final terms of my settlement were reached. It was reported in the local news that I would get a raise and a check for back pay while may attorneys would get a sum of $615,000. On August 1, 2014, I received the check from the State of North Carolina. On August 2, just 24 hours later, one of the local directors for Campus Crusade wrote me the following:
“Hey Mike. I hope your summer is going well. Would you be interested in having coffee with me next week so I could talk to you about joining my ministry support team?”
After I received that audacious email, I searched through my archives and read every single email correspondence I had received from that director over the course of seven years. There was no offer of prayer support in any of those emails. Nor was there any mention of the legal ordeal I was going through. He simply ignored the suit until the terms of the settlement became public.
In other words, your ministry and its leaders were never interested in unity. They never offered support in public or even in private. They only sought to profit financially from those who win battles Campus Crusade chooses to avoid.
Such victories preserve my right to criticize hypocrisy on our nation’s campuses. I do not accept your suggestion that campus ministries are immune from such criticism. In fact, it would be un-Christ-like to give the Pharisees a pass.