Should a Christian group on a college campus be allowed to require its leaders to believe in Jesus? One university doesn't think so.
The University of Iowa (UI) recently decided to end InterVarsity's 25-year participation in the campus community. According to Daniel Blomberg at Becket, the religious liberty law firm representing InterVarsity, the only reason UI has given is that the Christian group asks its leaders to believe in Jesus.
"Everyone is welcome to attend [InterVarsity meetings]," Blomberg tells OneNewsNow. "They just ask that if someone is going to lead the group that they believe in the God they're praying to – [and] according to the University of Iowa, that's now a step too far."
According to the attorney, the University of Iowa has kicked dozens of groups off campus, including several faith-based groups, for the same reason as the one given to InterVarsity.
"It's always a problem when the government is trying to tell religious groups who their religious leaders can be, but the other problem here is that we're dealing with some really obvious discrimination," Blomberg shares.
"The political groups, [the] ideological groups, they're allowed to ask their leaders to share the mission of the group, and fraternities and sororities and sports clubs are allowed to ask their members and leaders to reflect the purpose of the group," he continues. "But when it comes to these religious groups, they're told that they can't ask their own leaders to agree in the religious mission that animates and the reason why they come together. That's discrimination – and it's unconstitutional."
The federal lawsuit filed by Becket on Monday is in the southern district of Iowa.
"We've asked the university to allow InterVarsity to come back on campus, to do the same thing they've been doing for the last 25 years as a part of the campus community," says Blomberg. "We're hoping that they'll be able to get a chance to get back on campus in time for student group fairs and student orientations coming up here very soon."
OneNewsNow reached out to UI for comment and did not hear back by press time.
The case is InterVarsity Christian Fellowship v. University of Iowa.
Photo credit: InterVarsity Christian Fellowship