It appears Colorado is building quite a reputation for anti-Christian activism.
First the state punished a baker, Jack Phillips, and ordered him into a reindoctrination program for refusing to violate his faith by promoting same-sex marriage.
Then, in a second attack, Colorado tried to punish Phillips for refusing to promote transgenderism.
Now, one of its prominent colleges, the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, is being sued for demanding that a Christian organization allow “atheists or other non-Christians to lead their Bible studies” if it wants to be recognized on campus.
School officials declined to comment to WND on the dispute.
But the Alliance Defending Freedom went to federal court in Colorado to defend the students.
“The university refused to grant Ratio Christi registered status because it only allows those who share and personally hold beliefs consistent with the group’s mission to serve as its leaders,” ADF explained.
“As a Christian apologetics organization, Ratio Christi seeks to defend the Christian faith and explain how the Bible applies to various current cultural, ethical, and political issues. Any student can attend its events. Any student of any faith can become a member of Ratio Christi, as long as he supports the group’s purpose. But Ratio Christi requires that those who lead the Christian organization must share its religious beliefs. As a result, the university has denied it registered status, limiting its access to funding, meeting and event space, and administrative support,” the legal team said.
“Like any other student group at a public university, religious student organizations should be free to choose their leaders without the government meddling,” said ADF Senior Counsel Travis Barham.
“It would be absurd for the university to require the vegan student group to appoint a meat-lover as its president. Likewise, the University of Colorado shouldn’t force Christian students to let atheists or other non-Christians to lead their Bible studies in order to become a registered club.”
The lawsuit challenges the school’s assumption that it can deny registered status to groups if they select leaders that share the group’s religious perspectives.
It also points out other discriminatory actions by the school against the Christian group, including that “non-religious groups are allowed to select members who support their purposes. And the university allows fraternities that admit only men and sororities that admit only women to continue as registered student organizations, in contradiction to the university’s policy against ‘discriminating based on sex.'”
ADF Senior Counsel Tyson Langhofer, director of the ADF Center for Academic Freedom, said that despite “claiming inclusiveness and diversity as its core values, the University of Colorado is failing to foster real diversity of thought and is, instead, discriminating against a Christian group based on its beliefs.”
“Today’s university students will be tomorrow’s legislators, judges, university presidents, and voters, but at the University of Colorado, students are learning the wrong message: that government can dictate who can lead certain student groups,” he said. “It’s vital that public universities model the First Amendment values they are supposed to be teaching to students.”
The filing is on behalf of Ratio Christi, Brian Blevins, Kayla Callender, Joshua Stoll and Emily Danis.
Defendants are Regents Board members Sue Sharkey, John Kroll, John Carson, Glen Gallegos, Heidi Ganahl, Irene Griego, Kyle Hybl, Stephen Ludwig and Linda Shoemaker, President Bruce Benson, Chancellor Venkat Reddy, and Sentwali Bakari, Brad Bayer, Krystal Schiffelbein and Sabrina Wienholtz.
The filing explains: “The First Amendment dictates that the ‘marketplace of ideas’ on a public university cannot prefer some viewpoints and cannot exile or denigrate others. It dictates that the government cannot force a religious organization to appoint as a leader someone who does not share that organizatin’s beliefs or to accept as a member someone who does not support its mission. Nor can the government force citizens to choose between exercising their constitutional rights on the one hand and participating in government-run programs on the other.”
That discriminatory practice, however, became evident when school officials refused to register Christi “because this religious organization seeks to ensure that its leaders share its beliefs and that its members support its mission.”
Through its practices, the case charges, the school is favoring anti-Christian groups over Christian groups.
“This action is premised on the United States Constitution and concerns denial of plaintiffs’ fundamental and clearly established rights under the First Amendment.”
The complaint accuses the school of requiring the students to pay activities fees while unconstitutionally depriving them of their use.