It’s hard to understand
what, exactly, public university officials across the
country have against the Christians on their campus.
Christian students don’t
often lead riots. Those who are serious and sincere
about their faith don’t cheat on their exams, traffic in
drugs, get drunk and disorderly, indulge in sexual
hijinks in the dorm, or otherwise undermine the general
campus esprit de corps.
Christian students put a
particular premium on learning truth (a time-honored
practice in academic realms). They value life and the
worth of every individual and have deeper incentives
than most of their peers for treating those around them
– even those with whom they disagree most fervently –
with dignity, compassion, and respect.
Many are driven by the
nature of their beliefs to share their faith with
others, but most do so in appropriate and respectful
ways. And proselytizing is not exactly a rarity on
college campuses, where the urge is to make converts
runs at least as strong among political theorists,
sexual hedonists, and vegans as it does among
So, what’s not to like? Or,
more to the point…what’s to despise, so aggressively?
Something, apparently – for
the antipathy is intensifying, as more and more public
universities coast to coast are creating and enforcing
regulations clearly designed to silence, humiliate, and
dispel Christian students. In recent years, the
Alliance Defense Fund alone has taken on 70 colleges and
universities across the country where administrators
have bullied, marginalized, and in many cases, violated
the most basic constitutionally protected rights of
students who openly profess faith or identify
ADF has won the 61 of those cases decided – a most
recent one being against the University of Wisconsin, a
perennial base for anti-Christian sentiment and one
that’s spurred several lawsuits in the last decade.
Just last month, the U.S. Supreme Court
declined to hear UW’s appeal of an appellate court
ruling in favor of a student ministry at the
university’s Madison campus.
The case, Badger Catholic v. Walsh,
stemmed from the refusal of UW officials to allow the
ministry the same kinds of student activity fee funding
that the university makes available to other registered
student groups on campus. Their reason for withholding
the money: the Badger Catholics’ events include prayer,
worship, and sharing their faith.
The university’s policy marked such a blatant attack on the
students’ rights as protected by the First Amendment
that a string of courts – culminating in the U.S. Court
of Appeals for the 7th Circuit – ruled flatly against
them. And this is only the latest in a slew of
clear-cut, ADF-backed cases dating back to 1995, when
the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Rosenberger v.
Rector and Visitors of University of Virginia
that a school couldn’t provide funding for every campus
student publication except the Christian
But the universities’
bigotry isn’t limited to mere budgetary considerations.
At Missouri State University, Emily Brooker was
threatened with expulsion for declining to violate
her Christian principles by completing a class
assignment that required her to write a letter to
the state legislature endorsing adoption for
- At California’s Yuba College,
Ryan Dozier stood just off a campus walkway, holding
an evangelical sign and politely offering Gospel
tracts to students who asked for them. A security
officer charged him with conducting an unauthorized
“assembly” (of one). Later, administrators informed
him that free speech was only permitted at Yuba on
Tuesdays and Thursdays between noon and 1.
- The Commissioned II Love club
at Savannah State University was banned from campus
when officials characterized a student re-enactment
of Jesus humbly washing His disciples’ feet as
- At Georgia Tech, Ruth
Malhotra objected to speech codes that severely
curtailed any student conversation, publications,
events, or activities administrators deemed
“intolerant.” She drew the full fury of those
campus officials, who cut off funds for
organizations involved in religious activities,
banished free speech in all but the most remote
areas of campus, and even instituted a program to
demonize anyone who considered homosexual behavior
immoral. When Ruth’s public stand brought threats
of rape and murder, the university offered no
protection or support.
Full disclosure: ADF
represented the plaintiffs in each of these cases, which
all have two more things in common: (1) the schools
involved lost their case – expensively – in court. (Mr.
and Mrs. Taxpayer, how do you suppose they made back the
money) And (2), they are all the tip of the iceberg in
an academic Cold War against Christians.
Across America, an estimated 274
public universities currently have speech codes that can
be used to shut down points of view that a student,
professor, or administrator might find “offensive.” (At
Penn State, officials even went so far as to say that
“intolerance will not be tolerated.”) And nothing
offends the academic Left faster than a Bible, a prayer,
or a Christian with a conscience.
Of course, ultimately, it’s not the people of faith that the Left
objects to – it’s the faith itself. Their hatred is
really aimed at a Truth that galls them to the deep,
deep places of their souls…in the place where sins, and
the need for a God bigger than themselves, can’t be
They won’t go there. They can’t shut Him up. So they’re bent on
removing some of the best students and most thoughtful
professors they have. If that means destroying not just
good people, but the holiest freedoms endowed by that
Creator and ever cherished by mankind – well, surely
that’s not too high a price to pay, for delusion?