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Steve Lunetta: Faith-based discrimination at CSU sites

Posted: April 9, 2013 12:25 p.m.
Updated: April 9, 2013 12:25 p.m.
 

Have you ever been driving in a car and find yourself drowsy? We’ve all done it.

The eyes begin to droop and we are suddenly jolted awake by the sound and vibration of our car tires running over the raised lane markers in the road.

As we quickly regain our wits, get our car back in the center of our lane, and try to grasp what just happened, we tell ourselves that we will never drive drowsy again.

Most of the time, the repercussions are merely a good scare. Sometimes the results are far more tragic.

This is what happens when we are lulled asleep and don’t pay attention.

Something similar is currently happening on Cal State campuses throughout California. We have not been paying attention and another liberty is being threatened: certain faith-based student organizations are being “de-recognized” by the administrators of Cal State.

One of these happens to be the group that I was part of at UC Riverside, Inter Varsity Christian Fellowship. I recently got an email that said many chapters were being de-recognized because IV requires its student leaders to sign a statement of faith as one of the criteria to being a leader.

Mind you, anyone can join IV. If you are a one-eyed lesbian hemophiliac Chilean anarchist atheist, IV will welcome you with open arms. There is no restriction on the membership.

However, the leadership must be Christian. This only seems like common sense. Would a Muslim group on campus allow a non-Muslim to become a leader? Of course not.

It seems only logical that the leader of a faith-based organization be an adherent to that faith.

De-recognition has many ramifications on a college campus. A de-recognized group may not use meeting rooms and other facilities on the campus — this is a biggie.

Without meeting rooms, the organization is forced off campus.

Other sanctions include loss of ability to advertise, recruit, set up a table, use bulletin boards, use university banking services, and fundraise. Basically, this kills the organization on campus.

Where did this come from? It seems that the CSU system has a policy (CSU Excecutive Order 1068) which outlines rules for campus organizations. This arcane document vaguely refers back to the California Education Code Title 5 and other CSU executive orders which exclude discrimination on the basis of religion.

Some at Cal State are using this as a pretext for actively waging a discrimination campaign of their own directed straight at Christian organizations.

This is not surprising, however. Campus faith-based organizations, and Christian ones particularly, have long been the target of ultra-liberal administrators in university systems.

As Greg Lukianoff so eloquently described in his work “Unlearning Liberty: Campus Censorship and the End of American Debate,” campus intolerance is often focused on Christians: “from my first day..., I was shocked to realize how badly Christian groups are often treated.”

He continues: “Between 2002 and 2009, dozens of colleges across the country threatened or de-recognized Christian groups because of their refusal to say they would not ‘discriminate’ on the basis of belief.”

What drives Cal State (and other schools) to do this? One possibility is that the liberal CSU administration hates Christians. A 2007 study from the Institute for Jewish Community Research found that “faculty hold most unfavorable feelings towards evangelicals.”

The study goes on to say that only 30 percent of staff had warm/favorable feelings toward Christians while 53 percent said that they have cool/unfavorable feelings toward evangelical Christians.

How can we allow this to occur? Administrators at Cal State actively discriminate against Christian groups (and all faith-based groups, for that matter) and the press is silent? No one lifts a finger to stop this outrage?

You can bet that if this was happening to a Muslim group — and it probably will shortly — that the media would be screaming about it to the heavens.

The Cal State Board of Trustees is chaired by a guy named Bob Linscheid. The CSU chancellor is Timothy P. White.

You can write to them care of (c/o) the Trustee Secretariat, 401 Golden Shore Suite 620, Long Beach CA 90802.

If you care about liberty and freedom, please pick up a pen and send these nice folks a letter. Or, better yet, cut out this column and forward it to them along with a few notes of your own.

Let’s bombard the Cal State trustees and tell them that religious discrimination by them will not be tolerated. Let’s not fall asleep on this one. There is too much at stake.

Steve Lunetta is a resident of Santa Clarita and was a student leader in InterVarsity. He can be reached at slunetta63@yahoo.com.

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