University of Wisconsin officials are being warned their refusal to recognize Christian student groups is illegal.
In recent weeks, the University of Wisconsin-Superior has denied recognition of the school’s InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison has derecognized the Knights of Columbus.
The officials allege the groups violate school’s “anti-discrimination policy” by not allowing non-Christians to serve in leadership positions, according to the Arizona-based public-interest legal group Alliance Defense Fund, which notes non-recognized groups are denied access to campus facilities and student funding.
“Christian student groups shouldn’t be treated differently from other student organizations,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel David French, who issued the warning to school officials in a letter.
“The University of Wisconsin has decided to force campus student organizations to violate their core beliefs, even in the face of controlling federal case law that bars them from doing so,” French said.
The lawyer charged the school is engaging in a double standard, marginalizing Christian speech while enthusiastically claiming the First Amendment protects professors such as Kevin Barrett, who claims the government staged the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
Even worse, French declares, the university appears willing to “defy binding court decisions for the sake of excluding Christians.”
In his letter to university officials, French cited the recent decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit in which the court reinstated the official recognized status of the student Christian Legal Society chapter at the Southern Illinois University School of Law.
The University of Wisconsin, French points out, is in the same federal circuit as Southern Illinois University.
As WorldNetDaily reported, officials at the University of California’s Hastings College of Law in San Francisco rejected the Christian Legal Society student chapter two years ago because they believed the group’s requirement that officers and voting members subscribe to the group’s Christian beliefs constituted “discrimination” in violation of school policy.
The student group is appealing a decision in April by a California district court which ruled the college had not violated its constitutional rights.
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