Friday, September 12, 2014

When Non-Discrimination is Discrimination

Recently the Cal State University system derecognized InterVarsity as an official campus organization.  According to their non-discrimination policy, IV would be required to allow and/or have non-Christians in their leadership and IV has refused to sign the appropriate documentation.  As a result IV, and other Christian campus organizations such as Chi Alpha, no longer have free access to campus rooms and resources and are not recognized as official campus clubs.  According to the way the Cal State system has enforced its non-discrimination policies, other campus organizations such as Greek, academic, and sports clubs, are still allowed to discriminate along lines pertinent to their mission and membership.

All of this is, of course, in the name of non-discrimination.  Ironic, isn’t it, that a Non-Discrimination policy has created some very targeted exclusion from the public square.  With a case like this what we have is pretty naked discrimination masking itself as non-discrimination.

Non-Discrimination policies are allegedly intended to keep organizations from unfairly choosing against people, likely for bad or ad hominem reasons.  In their simpler forms they are intended to keep people from having their feelings hurt for not being able to be a part of some group.  What the Cal State policy has done is discriminate against Christian organizations and exclude them from the fraternity of campus organizations.  And many foresee that if this policy is carried to its logical extreme, most all campus organizations will be similarly affected.

In addition, the philosophy behind the non-discrimination policy is far from neutral or valueless.  It may be assumed that these policies, given their name and all, do not impose a set of social values but instead keep other, badder, people from imposing theirs.  However, just a few moments of reflection tell a different story.  The belief that Christian campus groups MUST have or allow non-Christians to run their organizations, is a value – a belief about the moral rightness or wrongness of an idea.  The value may be simply stated something like, “on a diverse campus, it is better for Christian organizations to be forced to admit non-Christian leaders than to allow them to have their way and not allow them.”  That is a value statement.  And it has been effectively imposed in a coercive way. 

I don’t know about you, but I feel a lot safer.

As a side note, many public college campuses are quickly becoming the least likely places to hear or be able to express opinions that do not cohere with the reigning conventional wisdom.  More irony, indeed.

In the end, these non-discrimination policies have done nothing but impose anti-Christian values on Christians and in public arenas for a lot of transparent and illogical reasons.  So be it.  I think the real question is something like, “Now what?”

Next, let us wrestle with exactly that.

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