Banishing the Bible from Campus

Colleges are treating evangelical and Orthodox Jewish students like outcasts and bigots for their views on gays and sex

How would the American Jewish community react if, at a prestigious college someplace, the Hillel society were thrown off campus?

Picture the scene: Hillel includes Reform, Conservative, and Orthodox groups. The Orthodox group --following the Orthodox interpretation of Halakah, Jewish law--refuses to allow mixed seating at services and refuses to allow women to lead services. Worse yet, it refuses to allow a leader of a male homosexual group on campus to lead services or run for Hillel president, claiming that homosexuality is absolutely forbidden by the Torah and having a homosexual student as an officer of Hillel would violate the basic principles of the group. The student senate meets, sees that these positions violate campus nondiscrimination codes, and throws the Jewish group out. Henceforth, it may not use any campus facility for services or meetings, or use the campus post office or e-mail to distribute notices, and it loses any campus funding it may have had.

Far-fetched? Not at all, for similar things are happening to Christian groups on many campuses. Evangelical organizations that will not permit homosexual activists to run for leadership positions are charged with discrimination, found guilty, and thrown off the campus. Most recently, this happened at Tufts University in Massachusetts, where last spring the Tufts Christian Fellowship (TCF) was railroaded out of town. The unseemly and unjust haste with which this was done also violated campus codes of conduct, so the decision was reversed on procedural grounds. But in late October, TCF was finally convicted of discrimination and placed on probation. The same issues have arisen at Middlebury, Whitman, and Williams colleges, and many others.


What was TCF's crime? Sticking to a biblical view, it refused to allow a campus homosexual leader to run for president of the club, stating that this would clearly violate basic precepts the group stands for. If a religious group wants to maintain centuries-old traditions, is this bigotry? Does the current drive for gay rights trump everything, including religion?

This is not an issue of right versus wrong, despite what the student government at Tufts believed; rather, it is right versus right. During the civil rights movement in the 1960s, our nation faced many claims from racists that all they wanted was the right to free association, to order their private lives themselves, to be left alone.

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