Education

Christian Student Group Sues After Getting Kicked Off College Campus

REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini

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Rob Shimshock Education Reporter
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A Christian student group sued the University of Iowa Monday after the school kicked it off campus for requiring its student officers to hold the same religious beliefs.

The Business Leaders in Christ, which seeks to foster a discussion regarding how students can incorporate Christianity into business environments, sued the university, along with a few individual administrators for religious discrimination, according to a press release from Becket, the religious liberty group serving as the plaintiff’s counsel.

“This is premeditated religious discrimination, plain and simple,” said Eric Baxter, the Becket senior counsel representing the student group. “A state school cannot demand a change to students’ faith any more than the U.S. President could demand a change to the Bible.”

Business Leaders in Christ alleges that the University of Iowa said the group could pick officers that share the group’s religious beliefs, as long as the group were transparent about those beliefs when soliciting students. While Business Leaders in Christ asserts that it followed these instructions, it claims that the school booted it from the campus anyway in November.

“This is 2017, not 1984,” said Jacob Estell, the group’s student president. “Our beliefs weren’t made by us, and they can’t be changed by us either—certainly not just to satisfy Orwellian government rules.”  

Business Leaders in Christ notes that the university deregistered the group in 2016 after a student alleged denial of leadership in the group because he was “openly gay.” However, the group asserts that the charge was inaccurate and that it did not approve the student because he explicitly refused to follow the group’s religious beliefs. The student was told that the “decision was not because he was gay, but because he did not agree with [the group’s] biblically based views on sexual conduct,” namely, abstinence from same-sex relationships.

The Daily Caller News Foundation reached out to the University of Iowa for comment, but received none in time for press.

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