Some Christians are just too nice for their own good. Take Ed Stetzer, a writer for Christianity Today, for instance.
When all 23 California State Universities “derecognized” (bureaucratese has replaced Latin as the language of “scholars,” apparently) the group InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, he wrote that it wasn’t persecution.
God bless you, Ed. Let me take it from here.
The reason the CSU system has “derecognized” (I just can’t stop putting quotes around that, even if it is in Oxford Dictionary) IVCF is because those silly Christians wanted to require their student leaders to be Christians.
Imagine that. No atheist, lesbian, Muslim, vegan or any other brand of non-Christian allowed to lead the Christian club. What snobs.
Stetzer wrote, “Following the same logic, any group that insists on requiring its leaders to follow an agreed upon set of guiding beliefs is no longer kosher (irony intended) at California’s state universities. This will impact many other faith-based organizations with actual, well, faith-based beliefs. Presumably, even People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals would have to allow Oscar Meyer to lead their campus chapters.”
Imagine the fireworks if a slate of conservative young Christians sued to take over the board of some campus LGBT group, or the atheist club.
Stetzer added, “Now, it’s not persecution. Christians are not banned. People can share their faith. But, now, what we once called ‘equal access’ has taken another hit — people of faith do not have equal access to the university community, like the environmentalist club, the LGBT organization, or the chess club. The university system has decided that speech with beliefs that undergird it — and shape how it is organized — has to be derecognized.”
This is where Ed and I part ways on this topic. It is persecution. Christians aren’t having their heads cut off like in Iraq, but it’s still a persecution, California cowardly liberal style, and we should recognize that and call out the CSU trustees for their act of open, state-sponsored (taxpayer funded) discrimination.
“Derecognition” is not a trivial thing for a student organization. It’s a financial hit worth tens of thousands of dollars because each chapter will now have to pay to reserve rooms rather than having free access. It also means IVCF can’t participate in campus activities like student fairs, where they would normally meet and recruit new students. Last but not least, the loss of standing on campus means faculty, staff and administrators will all have an excuse not to take IVCF’s calls should they ever desire to set up a meeting.
So no, Christians are not banned on CSU campuses, per se. They aren’t banned in most Islamic states, either. They have to pay an onerous tax, aren’t allowed to evangelize or sometimes even preach to the flock, can’t build or rebuild churches, have virtually no legal protection should a Muslim start a fight, and are generally treated as poorly as blacks in pre-Civil Rights Alabama — but they aren’t “banned.”
This is how persecution in the Progressive world begins. Single out a group, preferably biblical Christians, tell them “you can’t have your own leaders” or place some other restriction on the free exercise of their beliefs, then enforce it with a threat of losing privileges enjoyed by everyone else.
It’s not all that different from the jerk atheists who sue to tear down publicly displayed crosses and Ten Commandments monuments.
Some of the worst horrors of human history have started with just a little rule change for certain people, like making them wear a gold star, for example.
Fortunately, enough public servants still believe in the Constitution that usually there’s a damper on such tyrannical behavior. Still, you have to recognize it when it does occur and nip it in the bud before it can grow.
And to do that, you have to call it what it is — not “derecognition,” but persecution.