Here is some good news. You may recall that the Cal State University system derecognized InterVarsity clubs last fall because InterVarsity’s policy of requiring club officers to hold Christian beliefs went against Cal State’s nondiscrimination policy. In a happy turn of events, InterVarsity has announced they’ll be allowed back on CSU campuses without having to compromise their commitment to having Christians lead their Christian groups on campus:
“Following substantive and cordial ongoing conversations, CSU clarified the intent and reach of Executive Order 1068,” said InterVarsity president Jim Lundgren. “We are confident we can choose leaders who are qualified to lead InterVarsity’s witnessing communities throughout the Cal State system.”
Christianity Today explains more:
“Cal State has not changed the language of their ‘all comers’ policy,” said Greg Jao, vice president of campus engagement. “They have clarified that the policy only requires that (a) we allow all students to become members, which we have always done, and (b) we allow all students to apply for leadership positions.”
“We have been assured that we can have a rigorous selection process which reflects InterVarsity’s mission and message as a Christian ministry,” he told CT. “We’re confident in our ability to choose leaders who reflect our mission and message.”
InterVarsity has also posted an audio interview with Jao on the resolution.
From that interview:
What the administration was able to do was interpret how they will apply the law in a way that we think actually increases the diversity of campus by ensuring that religious voices remain on campus and remain distinctively religious.
I do find this bit from the Christianity Today article odd and even concerning:
Just under half (44 percent) of evangelicals told LifeWay Research recently that student groups at public schools should not be allowed to require their leaders to hold specific beliefs. Only a third (36%) of evangelicals said the same of groups at private schools.
I don’t know how to account for that large percentage. Relativisim and a belief that religious truth is subjective? A knee-jerk reaction against creeds? A hyper-individualism that resists any submission and conformity to an outside standard? Or was it merely a badly-worded poll question? Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to locate the study to investigate further. It certainly makes a difference whether or not the question was specifically worded to be about requiring leaders to hold particular beliefs in clubs centered around those beliefs. I would rightly speak out against a math club in a public school requiring particular religious beliefs, but it seems to me to be common sense that it’s appropriate for a Christian group to require the people who lead it to hold Christian beliefs.
Regardless, this is certainly good news overall. Let’s thank God today for this!