The reality of religious discrimination on college campuses

By Olivia Lamm
April 3, 2019

Officials at the University of Iowa have recently challenged a small group of Christians, students of the university, for supposedly threatening the university’s human rights policy.

The group, called Business Leaders in Christ, were accused of violating university policy by not allowing a gay student to serve as vice president of their group. Members of the group stated that allowing a gay student to serve as vice president of their group would conflict with their core beliefs – the belief that marriage is rightfully intended for one man and one woman

The court ruled in favor of Business Leaders in Christ and determined that the University of Iowa could not strip them of their rights.

This case demonstrated the sad reality of religious discrimination in America and specifically, religious discrimination on college campuses. Few of us have heard or seen any media coverage of this case. It brings to light the fact that religious discrimination, in America and on college campuses, extends far past what our mainstream media chooses to report.

The University of Iowa attempted to “de-recognize” a Christian group of students for pledging allegiance to their own faith and upholding their own ideals. The violation of rights and targeted discrimination in this act were significant. Yet coverage of the incident has been sparse.

We live in an age in which we worship at an altar of tolerance but the media remains markedly deaf to a case that involved acute intolerance and discrimination based upon one’s religious beliefs. Why? It is vital that we ponder the answer to this question.

Had this been a case of discrimination involving people and events serving the purposes of the left more adequately, would our newsfeed have provided us with more details? Had the rights of an openly Christian group not been upheld in a court of law, would we have heard more?

The lack of media coverage and the hypocritical nature of the discrimination are alarming. The officials who de-recognized the group claimed that they did so based the university’s human rights policy. Yet, where were the rights of the members of Business Leaders in Christ? Where were their natural rights to choose a leader who upheld the core tenants of their common faith?

Even as school officials claimed that the Christian group was practicing intolerance, the university simultaneously infringed on religious freedom and practiced their own brand of intolerance.

The implications of this incident are far-reaching. How we choose a college could be one implication. The way Christians are perceived by the world is yet another.

I am fortunate enough to pursue my chosen field of study at a Christian university. It is a university where I am free to express my faith in all areas of my life. Yet, one should not have to attend a Christian school, as a Christian, to obtain the rights of religious expression. The process of choosing a college should be largely based on how well a student thinks a particularly university can prepare a prospective student for entry into his or her chosen profession.

If the “everything is political” era now extends to college, however, it may become necessary for a Christian student to consider the factor of freedom of speech and religious expression when choosing a school.

The issue of religious discrimination on college campuses, safeguarded by the media’s neglect, seem to be deliberate and systematic. It is slowly teaching the world to be distrustful of Christian expression of faith. It consistently and quietly encourages and magnifies harmful stigmas and generalizations attached to Christianity.

For instance, during what little media coverage there was of this issue, reporters never mentioned if the gay student was denied participation in the group altogether or if the student was merely denied a leadership role.

The recent Iowa court case is just one example of countless others that highlight how Christians are discriminated against on college campuses. The examples are big and small – from paper grading scandals to Christian student group expulsion.

It is an emerging crisis of a violation of our rights as Americans and it is a crisis largely ignored by mainstream media.


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