Ohio State University Revises Policy,
Allows Religious Clubs to Remain ‘Religious’
by Jim Brown October 8, 2004
(AgapePress) – One of the largest public universities in the country has reversed course and will now allow the Christian Legal Society and other evangelical student groups to limit their membership to Christians.
In a dramatic about-face, Ohio State University has vowed to change a “non-discrimination policy” that barred Christian groups from refusing to accept non-Christians and homosexuals as club members and officers. Last fall the school had moved to de-recognize the Christian Legal Society (CLS) campus chapter after complaints the club was in violation of that policy because it required members and officers to profess faith in Jesus and exhibit a lifestyle consistent with orthodox Christian doctrine.
Following those complaints of alleged discrimination — and after attempting to settle the dispute without legal action — the CLS Center for Law & Religious Freedom sued OSU over the policy. That federal lawsuit prompted the university to rewrite the controversial policy. The new policy allows religious student groups to adopt non-discrimination language in their organizational constitutions that is consistent with their sincerely held religious beliefs.
Center director Greg Baylor says amending the policy is an incredibly significant move because, as he explains, it offers relief to all religious organizations at the almost 60,000-student school.
“All of [the religious clubs] are able to take religious criteria into account when they’re choosing their voting members, when they’re choosing their officers, deciding who’s going to lead Bible studies, and all the rest,” Baylor explains. “That’s the way it ought to be — it wasn’t that way before, and it is now. So it’s a great victory for religious freedom at the Ohio State University campus.”