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One News Now: “All they do is cabin speech into these small boxes on campus so that students really have very little rights to speak, which is unfortunate, and it’s downright censorship,” David Hacker of Alliance Defending Freedom submits.
One News Now: Feeling the pressure from outside and inside the school, a Christian college in Massachusetts is reviewing its policy that prohibits homosexual behavior.
Christian News Network: Bart Campolo, the son of ‘progressive’ social justice activist Tony Campolo, recently took the position of humanist chaplain at the University of Southern California just under a year after coming out to his father as an agnostic.
Alliance Defending Freedom: It came as a shock to many people recently when they learned that the California State University System was forcing InterVarsity Christian Fellowship off campus because the group refused – justifiably – to abandon its core Christian message. But while InterVarsity’s announcement was news to many, it was only the latest in a decades-long battle for Christian groups at universities nationwide – a battle that students will eventually win if they stand by their convictions.
University students threatened by officials for distributing U.S. Constitution copies outside of controversial “free speech zone”
HNGN: “Caging students in censorship zones flies in the face of the First Amendment and undermines the reason for education,” David Hacker, senior legal counsel for the Alliance Defending Freedom, told Campus Reform. “Colleges and universities are and should be the marketplace of ideas, and the Constitution protects the speech rights of everyone, not just groups or students that a few university officials personally choose.”
Canon and Culture: Tish Warren’s recent essay in Christianity Today brought many questions back up to the surface for me and many Christians who have been associated with Vanderbilt University over the past few years. Did we do everything we could to stand up for truth in a loving and compassionate way during the debates over religious association policies? What role did we play as we urged administrators to realize we are not the equivalent of segregationists and we just want to ensure our Christian organization leaders are in fact followers of Christ? What lessons can other students at other schools learn from what we went through?
Campus Reform: “Caging students in censorship zones flies in the face of the First Amendment and undermines the reason for education,” David Hacker, senior legal counsel for the Alliance Defending Freedom, told Campus Reform.
Alliance Defending Freedom: For many, going to college is a rite of passage. It is the first foray into true adulthood—away from parents. College students are encouraged to learn, to satisfy their curiosity, and to further form the beliefs, ideals, and values that will accompany them through later stages in life.
Christian News Network: A Christian college in Massachusetts has announced that it will take at least a year to review its policy prohibiting homosexual behavior in light of scrutiny from a local accreditation board.
The Christian Post: In response to my October 3rd article, “Gordon College, Don’t Sell Your Soul for Secular Accreditation,” a representative of the school reached out to me with some very positive news, assuring me that the school had no intention of changing its policy on homosexual practice.
Sycamore Trust e-mail: Hard on the heels of the Supreme Court’s refusal to review lower court decisions validating gay marriage in states including Indiana, Notre Dame announced it would “extend benefits to all legally married spouses, including same-sex spouses.”
Andrew Sullivan: They key issue here, it seems to me, is whether the college’s orthodox views about sex are being fairly implemented. If the prohibition against non-marital sex is enforced only on gay students, we have a problem. But there is no evidence that it is. And the college – which implemented its own review of this policy – seems attuned (see the last sentence) to the problems for gay students in such a setting.
The Christian Post: Legal ministry Alliance Defending Freedom counters claims that prayer during public meetings violates the Establishment Clause. According to ADF, such assertions “intentionally mis-frames the analysis.” Instead, the ADF holds that “legislative prayers serve the legitimate secular purposes of solemnizing public occasions, expressing confidence in the future, and encouraging the recognition of what is worthy of appreciation in society, and have never been understood as conveying government approval of particular religious beliefs.”
One News Now: Travis Barham, an attorney with Alliance Defending Freedom, tells OneNewsNow that the advisor misused the First Amendment in the decision to refuse the play’s content. “The First Amendment says – and the Supreme Court says this over and over again – the government is required to treat religious speech the same way it would treat other speech,” he explains.
Alliance Defending Freedom: One thing we just don’t seem to ever run out of at Alliance Defending Freedom are opportunities to stand for the freedom of students at taxpayer-funded colleges and universities to speak and live out their faith on campus.
The Chronicle of Higher Education: But according to David J. Hacker, a senior legal counsel for the Alliance Defending Freedom, which has sued on behalf of religious groups, refusing to let Christian groups require their leaders to be devout is ultimately “silly.”
One News Now: David Hacker, an attorney with Alliance Defending Freedom, says Cameron, faced with the lawsuit, has dropped its requirement that students pre-register their speeches and comply with vague speech codes.
Students for Life: Following National Pro-Life Chalk Day last week, where pro-life student groups drew positive messages with chalk at their colleges, universities and high schools across the country, students at Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti, MI found today that vandals that covered their drawings with the Nazi swastika symbol and threw water on the chalkings as well.
The Christian Post: ADF attorney Travis Barham wrote a letter to the college alleging that drama instructor Jack Landry told Justin Graves he “could not support the overtly Christian show” because the Wilmington, N.C., college is a publicly-funded institution.
The Christian Institute: Religious liberty organisation Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) has sent a letter to Cape Fear Community College (CFCC) on behalf of the student. The letter explains that: “Since at least 1981, the Supreme Court has clearly indicated that public universities cannot single out religious speech for special, detrimental treatment.”
The Federalist: The perverted habit of glorifying people like Mumia Abu-Jamal has been part of tedious campus “radicalism” for the past 45 years. Still, I can’t get too worked up over the fact that a bunch of twits at Goddard College invited a murderer to their school. For one, these sorts of incidents help me compile a list of schools for my kids to avoid.
First Things: Catholic University has cancelled a screening of the film Milk, a biopic of Harvey Milk, a San Francisco politician murdered in 1978 by an angry office-seeker. Because Milk was the first outspokenly gay elected official in California, he is a martyr to the cause of gay rights, and the film (with Sean Penn) emphasizes Milk’s struggle against homophobia.
Christianity Today: Gordon College will spend the next year studying current campus policies on same-sex behavior, the college and its regional accreditation board announced.
Stand to Reason Blog: Gordon College has been given 18 months to recant. If they do not change the standards for sexual behavior in their “life and conduct statement” (which prohibit “sexual relations outside of marriage” and “homosexual practice”), they will lose their accreditation.
Opposing Views: According to WECT, Travis Barham, an attorney with the ADF, stated in the letter: “The school has to treat secular speech and religious speech even-handedly and allow it to go forward. The fact that it might offend someone doesn’t matter because the first amendment exists to protect speech that might offend people and it exists to protect religious speech.”
Fox News: ADF attorney Travis Barham wrote a letter to the college alleging that drama instructor Jack Landry told Justin Graves he “could not support the overtly Christian show” because the Wilmington, N.C., college is a publicly-funded institution.
Campus Reform: “University officials, including drama instructors, should know by now that the First Amendment does not allow them to pick through student productions and purge the religious content,” Travis Barham, a lawyer at ADF, told Campus Reform in an interview.
WECT: The drama club advisor told Justin Graves, a student at CFCC, that their production would have to be adjusted in order to make the religious content until it was not obvious, according to Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF).
The College Fix: The Alliance Defending Freedom is representing a student whose drama club production was not allowed to be shown unless he agreed to “dumb down” its Christian message, the group said Wednesday.
The Daily Caller: Earlier this season, the university rejected the demands of anti-religion interest groups to stop Tennessee’s tradition of observing a moment of non-denominational prayer praying before kickoff. The group went so far as to refer to this tradition of pre-game prayer as “really very grating”. Such attacks on religion and prayer in the public square are not new.
Campus Reform: Sex educators will use PowerPoint presentations and puppet demonstrations to teach students how to have consensual, safe sex.
Charisma News: “Public universities and colleges are supposed to be marketplaces of ideas, where all viewpoints—including religious ones—are welcome. College officials should know that the First Amendment protects students’ religious speech, even if some people find it offensive. And it prohibits those officials from trying to purge student productions of all things religious,” said ADF Litigation Staff Counsel Travis Barham.
ADF Media: Alliance Defending Freedom sent Cape Fear Community College a letter on behalf of a student not permitted to perform his drama club production because of its Christian message. The club’s advisor said he would only allow the production if the student agreed to “dumb down” the religious content until it was not “obvious.”
ADF Media: Cameron University and one of its students have agreed to campus policy changes to settle a lawsuit filed in May on the student’s behalf by Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys. Daniel Harper complained that students were forced to pre-register their speech with college officials and comply with vague speech codes to exercise their constitutionally protected freedoms. The policy revisions clarify the freedom of expression available to university students.
Christian News Network: Following a firestorm of controversy over the issue, officials at Arkansas State University (ASU) have decided to allow members of the university’s football team to wear a cross decal on their helmets—as long as the players personally choose to affix them and pay for the stickers themselves.
Boston Business Journal: The regional body that accredits colleges and universities has given Gordon College a year to report back about a campus policy on homosexuality, one that may be in violation of accreditation standards.
Townhall: Those partnering with students to bring these challenges range from the leftist American Civil Liberties Union to the conservative Alliance Defending Freedom. This coalition’s political diversity is a testament to just how misguided these attempts to curb student speech truly are. Regardless of political viewpoint, we must foster a free and open marketplace of ideas, at our universities of all places.
Town Hall: Author’s Note: This is the sixth column in a series. The first five installments, “This is Providence,” “Pharisees and Pharaohs,” “Prayers and Preparation,” “Pride and Perjury,” and “David French Slays Goliath” can be accessed in my column archive. Some of the themes discussed in this series were also part of a speech I gave at an Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) event in July.
Townhall: This is the fifth column in a series. The first four installments, “This is Providence,” “Pharisees and Pharaohs,” “Prayers and Preparation,” and “Pride and Perjury” can be accessed in my column archive. Some of the themes discussed in this series were also part of a speech I gave at an Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) event in July.
Townhall: This is the fourth column in a series. The first three installments, “This is Providence,” “Pharisees and Pharaohs,” and “Prayers and Preparation,” can be accessed in my column archive. Some of the themes discussed in this series were also part of a speech I gave at an Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) event in July.
The Atlantic: California State University’s recent decision to strip InterVarsity Christian Fellowship chapters of their school affiliation undermines its ability to teach pluralism.
First Things: It is commonly argued that holding to a traditional sexual ethic is really an excuse to exclude gay, lesbian, and bisexual people from full participation in the group. If that were true in an uncomplicated sense, I should have lost my position in 2011 as a leader of the graduate chapter of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship at UNC Chapel Hill. During a meeting that year, I brought up my experience being sexually attracted to people of both sexes.
Index on Censorship: A group of students at the University of Georgia, represented by the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), have filed a lawsuit against the school after it adopted a policy that limits free speech to certain zones. These areas make up less than 1 percent of the campus and are open from 8am-9pm Monday through Friday for protest and other political demonstration. Protests on other parts of campus must be cleared 48 hours in advance by an administrator. ADF’s Travis Barham said in a press release, “Public universities are supposed to be the marketplace of ideas, and so they should promote and celebrate free speech, not quarantine it.”
The Christian Post: A disturbing story came and went, barely noticed a few weeks ago. InterVarsity Christian Fellowship is being unceremoniously booted off the campuses of California’s 23 state universities. This begins with a process of “derecognizing” these as legitimate campus groups.
National Review: Last week, I wrote about Arkansas State University telling its football players to either remove or alter cross decals with the initials of fallen team members from their helmets. The university’s counsel buckled to objections that ASU had violated the separation of church and state by permitting the cross to be visible, arguing that the public institution was endorsing Christianity. One suggestion included removing parts of the decal to only show the initials on a horizontal straight line.
Town Hall: Author’s Note: This is the third column in a series. The first two installments, “This is Providence,” and “Pharisees and Pharaohs,” can be accessed in my column archive. Some of the themes discussed in this series were also part of a speech I gave at an Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) event in July. The full speech can be viewed by clicking on this link.
Christian News Network: Members of the Arkansas State University (ASU) football team, also known as the Red Wolves, will be removing or altering a cross decal from their helmets following a complaint from a local attorney who alleged that the symbol is unconstitutional.
Religion News Service: Arkansas State is removing a Christian cross decal from the back of its football helmets after a complaint that it violated separation of church and state, the university said Wednesday (Sept. 10).
InterVarsity Christian Fellowship forced to ‘reinvent’ college campus ministry due to CSU non-discrimination policy
The Christian Post: A newly enforced nondiscrimination policy issued by the California State University system that requires InterVarsity Christian Fellowship to allow non-Christians to be chapter leaders has forced the nationwide organization to develop a new style of campus ministry, IVCF officials said Tuesday.
Huffington Post (AP): Women’s colleges are revisiting policies around enrolling transgender students as institutions of higher learning — single-sex, coed and those with religious affiliations — demonstrate varying degrees of acceptance for changing norms.
Christian News Network: A community college in Maryland has been leveled with a second lawsuit for allegedly rejecting a student because of his Christian faith.
Aleteia: Notre Dame may not be fully resisting the contraception mandate in the Affordable Care Act, after all. According to the National Catholic Register , the flagship Catholic university has decided to cover artificial contraception and abortion-inducing drugs for its students this school year.
Christian News Network: Student groups in the California State University system that identify as Christian are being labeled discriminatory for requiring leaders to be Christian and are beginning to be stripped of official recognition.
Public Discourse: To effect a real change in behavior, colleges must not only change the messages they send—they must establish new patterns for college life.
Mission Network News: Do you ever wonder what it would be like to be a missionary in a closed country? Well, that situation is actually not too far from your front door.
Religion News Service: A well-established international Christian student group is being denied recognition at almost two dozen California college campuses because it requires leaders to adhere to Christian beliefs.
The Christian Post: David Hacker, senior legal counsel with ADF, told The Christian Post that a response from the university was expected within the next couple of weeks.
The College Fix: The “marketplace of ideas” on campus “depends on free debate between students—debate that is spontaneous, ubiquitous, and often anonymous—and is carried out through spoken word, flyers, signs, and displays,” David Hacker, director of the Alliance Defending Freedom’s university project,said in a press release.
Townhall: This is the second column in a series. The last installment, “This is Providence,” can be accessed in my column archive. Some of the themes discussed in this series were also part of a speech I gave at an Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) event in July. The full speech can be viewed by clicking this link.
Kevin Theriot discusses free speech at the University of South Alabama with Todd Sylvester and David Renshaw (audio)
The Cardinal Newman Society: ADF senior legal counsel David Hacker stated: Free speech should not be censored or limited to a ridiculously small area on campus, nor should students need permission to exercise their constitutionally protected freedom of speech. The First Amendment protects speech for all students in the outdoor areas of campus, regardless of their religious or political beliefs.
The Federalist: A recent article recounts Tish Harrison Warren’s interactions with Vanderbilt University officials as they systematically revoked the ability of campus groups with defined mission statements to exist on campus. The college refuses to recognize or allow on campus any organizations that require members or leaders to agree with specified ideas. So, for example, the Democrat students organization must allow Republicans run for its offices, and environmental groups had to open posts to climate-change critics.
The Daily Caller: The students teamed up with the Alliance Defending Freedom to sue the University of Michigan, resulting in a $14,000 settlement and an improved speech policy.
One News Now: The problem is that pro-life groups are being treated differently than others on the campus because of the viewpoint they express – so says David Hacker, senior counsel at Alliance Defending Freedom.
Personal Liberty Digest: Alliance Defending Freedom filed an amended complaint Friday in a pro-life student organization’s lawsuit against the University of South Alabama.
Mere Orthodoxy: Tish Harrison Warren, whose writing I admire a great deal, has an excellent piece over at Christianity Today on Vanderbilt University’s lamentable decision to prohibit campus groups from setting their own standards for student leadership. Harrison Warren was part of Intervarsity’s leadership during that season, and so had a seat on the front row.
Christianity Today: In May 2011, Vanderbilt’s director of religious life told me that the group I’d helped lead for two years, Graduate Christian Fellowship—a chapter of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship—was on probation. We had to drop the requirement that student leaders affirm our doctrinal and purpose statement, or we would lose our status as a registered student organization.
Life News: “Free, spontaneous discourse on college campuses is supposed to be a hallmark of higher education rather than the exception to the rule,” added ADF Senior Counsel Kevin Theriot. “We hope that the University of South Alabama will revise its policy so that its students can exercise their constitutionally protected freedoms.”
One News Now: “We’ve filed ten cases this past year,” says ADF Attorney David Hacker. “We’ve had a very significant win in the faculty academic freedom context.”