Ghost of Orwell hovers over Heartland

Wednesday, February 13, 2019
 | 
Bob Kellogg (OneNewsNow.com)

Big BrotherA civil liberties attorney likens a public university's punishment of campus Christian organizations to an Orwellian attempt at suppressing free expression.

"What we're teaching a generation of students is that you either adhere to what the government says or you're put on a watch list and tracked for the rest of your life," attorney John Whitehead says of the University of Iowa and its opposition to 32 religious groups operating on its campus.

The university denied that it punished religious groups until it was forced by a court to disclose which groups it "deregistered" in 2018 and why, OneNewsNow reported in a Feb. 6 story, citing religious liberty law firm Becket. 

Bible 1According to Becket, 32 of 579 campus groups were placed on a probationary status only because they require their club leaders to adhere to a statement of faith.

Other secular-based organizations also have standards and requirements for their leadership but were never punished, the court found.

The university's disclosure became public only after Business Leaders in Christ, represented by Becket, sued in 2017 after the group was kicked off campus.

Whitehead, John (Rutherford Institute)Whitehead, whose Rutherford Institute law firm represents civil liberty cases across the country, tells OneNewsNow this campus adherence to political correctness is similar to the Orwellian coercion by force.

Present-day warnings of an Orwellian society refer to British author George Orwell, whose fictional writings warn of a dystopian future with authoritarian governments --- "Big Brother" --- controlling the speech, actions, and even thoughts of terrified citizens. 

"If you can control what people think, and how they act, and the government can put you on a watch list and you become afraid," says the civil liberties attorney, "they control what you do and how you act in society. Then they control you."

After first denying the existence of a watch list, university officials deny they are discriminating against religious groups while also telling the court the school is adhering to the state's Iowa Civil Rights Act.

A court ruling is expected in the spring of this year.  

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