Tish Harrison Warren has written a very compelling article at Christianity Today on her experience as a campus ministry worker at Vanderbilt University. Several years ago, Vanderbilt University kicked several Christian student groups off of campus for failing to comply with the university’s revised anti-discrimination policy.
Along with Bowdoin College in Maine and possibly soon the entire Cal State school system, with some 450,000 students, Vanderbilt has joined a growing trend that is seeking to revise their criteria for allowing religious groups to affiliate with university campuses, allowing space for on-campus meetings, as well as sometimes permitting the partial use of student activities fees to fund some aspects of their programs. The conservative Christian groups at Vanderbilt sought to challenge what they considered to be an intrusive form of control by the university. Vanderbilt insisted that leadership in student religious groups should not be limited to those adhering to an organization’s statement of faith. This put the Christian groups on that campus in a real bind, having to choose between the principle of honoring their creedal commitments against working with the anti-discriminatory policies of the university.
It is a dilemma worth thinking about deeply.