Are U.S. colleges hostile to Christian students?

So, how tough is it on college campuses these days for Christian students? Pretty grim, as evidenced by lawsuits colleges keep losing -- in which they are charged with blatant religious discrimination.

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In November, 2008, shortly after California voters had voted to define marriage as between one man and one woman, Los Angeles City College student Jonathan Lopez addressed the topic in his public speaking class. He gave reasons for his support of traditional marriage as only properly between one man and one woman.

Los Angeles City College

“Reportedly, Lopez’s Professor abruptly stopped him, calling him a ‘fascist bastard’ in front of the class and then prohibited him from finishing his speech,” writes Randy Sly for the website Catholic Online.

“Later, the student approached the professor, John Matteson, to inquire as to his grade. The faculty member then allegedly told him to “ask God what your grade is.” Lopez also reported that Matteson threatened to have him expelled when he complained about theincident with school officials.”

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Again, the Christian student had to go to court. Lopez describes himself as a committed Christian who must speak out openly on issues as they relate to his deeply held faith.

“He was expressing his faith during an open-ended assignment, but when the professor disagreed with some minor things he mentioned, the professor shut him down,” attorney David J. Hacker told the Los Angeles Times.

Hacker cited a 2006 case where Missouri State University tried to discipline a Christian social-work student who refused to support child adoptions by same-sex couples.

In the wake of the Martinez decision, the Ohio state legislature actually passed a law against such policies at its state schools – discrimination based on religious beliefs.

However, the Supreme Court’s seeming endorsement inspired Vanderbilt University “to jump in with both feet,” writes Shibley. “Last fall, it announced that a new ‘all comers’ policy would soon be enforced, and after months of avoiding questions from nearly everyone under the sun, including the National Association of Evangelicals, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and 23 members of Congress, Vanderbilt finally held a ‘town hall’ discussion on its decision on January 31.

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Rob Kerby
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