Texas University Agrees Religious Student Organizations Can Require Group Leaders to Hold Specific Religious Beliefs
A Texas college has decided that a Christian student organization may require its leaders to have specific beliefs in order to hold top roles in the organization.
The decision comes after the Alliance Defending Freedom filed a lawsuit on behalf of the student group Ratio Christi at the University of Houston-Clear Lake.
According to The Christian Post, the university has since agreed to enact a policy that allows student organizations to limit their leadership roles to those with shared beliefs.
ADF Legal Counsel Caleb Dalton said in a statement that he was glad the university was “taking swift action to ensure Ratio Christi is given equal opportunity among its peer groups.”
“The University is supposed to be a free market of ideas. To meet that ideal, public universities must vigilantly protect the constitutional rights of students to freely speak and gather according to their religious beliefs,” Dalton said.
A spokesperson with the University of Houston-Clear Lake told The Christian Post that the approval for the student group was “consistent with the policies that are in place and were in place prior to the filing of this lawsuit.”
“A clarification was added to the university’s Student Organization Handbook to ensure there was no confusion regarding selection of officers for student organizations,” stated the university.
“Regardless of the clarification, the University of Houston-Clear Lake has always allowed officers of student organizations to align with the tenets of the organization they represent.”
The original lawsuit came after the school allegedly refused to grant Ratio Christi an official student organization status from the campus.
Just after the lawsuit was filed, the group was granted official student organization status, and campus representatives said the change “had nothing to do with the lawsuit.”
“This is not the reversal of a prior decision. The application was never denied and was still in process when the lawsuit was filed,” said University spokesman Shawn Lindsey.
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Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for ChristianHeadlines.com since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and IBelieve.com. She blogs at The Migraine Runner.