Thank goodness this logic wouldn’t prevail at the upcoming conclave…
The Orlando Sentinel is reporting that the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship (IVCF) at Rollins College in Winter Park, FL—which has been an officially recognized student group at the College since 1990—has been “de-recognized,” meaning that IVCF no longer receives funding from the College and is no longer allowed to recruit on campus, reserve meeting space, or claim any affiliation with the institution.
IVCF’s mortal sin?
IVCF had argued that religious groups on campus should be able to use religious criteria to choose their officers because they are considered “spiritual leaders.” But, the Rollins College Board of Trustees has concluded this position violates the institution’s anti-discrimination policy by requiring IVCF leaders at Rollins to affirm their Christian faith and promote evangelical Christian beliefs concerning human sexuality.
What’s important about this story is not simply the fact that Rollins IVCF has been stripped of its “official recognition” as a student group and is itself being discriminated against. No, what’s very important is the logic the Trustees used in making the decision as well as two examples College administrators provided to support the decision.
In support of the goal of promoting a climate of open, free inquiry, Rollins College President Lewis Duncan explained:
The message [the Board’s decision] should send is that students of all faith traditions who are interested in open, free inquiry would find this a very welcoming place and that no one is excluded under that shared, open inquiry on the basis of their race, ethnicity, religion or orientation.
The two examples:
The operative word in the Trustees’ decision is “excluded” which here means “from leadership positions.” Last year, for example, the President of Rollins’ Latin American Student Association was an Asian-American student and the President of the Muslim Student Association was not Muslim.
“Support of the group’s essential mission be damned,” the Board’s decision implies, “anyone who wants to be a student leader in any organization should be able to serve in that role.”
Instead of arguing against the illogical decision, conservative, heterosexual, White males ought to take heart! In effect, the “glass ceiling” has been shattered and the climate of “inclusivity” at Rollins now allows them to serve as President of the following officially-recognized student organizations:
- The 85 Broads Rollins (85 Broads): an international women’s professional networking organization with chapters all over the world.
- The Birds and the Bees: aims to educate members of the community and provide safe opportunities and environments to promote sexuality as a healthy, normal aspect of life. We also promote healthy body image, relationships and safe sex.
- The Black Student Union: dedicated to learning about black and African-American culture and history and having a good time. Everyone is welcome.
- The Caribbean Student Association: embraces all Caribbean cultures and nationalities through educating and communicating with the Rollins community in order to promote acceptance and understanding.
- Chi Omega: the largest women’s fraternity in the world – Upsilon Beta has been established at Rollins since 1931, making it one of the oldest sororities on campus.
- Latin American Student Association: a cultural organization that seeks to celebrate Latin culture from all over the world! You don’t have to be Latin to join!
- Non Compis Mentis: a cohesive sisterhood that actively improves the Rollins Community through involvement and leadership in other organizations. We also aspire to provide a safe and healthy learning environment that fosters the growth and development….
- Rollins Chinese Student Organization: promotes the Chinese culture on campus through events that showcase various aspects of the Chinese culture. The organization is open to all students interested in Chinese culture.
- Sigma Alpha Iota Music Fraternity for Women: an International Music Fraternity for Women founded in 1903. The Lambda Iota chapter was created at Rollins in 2006. Members of SAI are proud of their strong heritage, supporting the art of music.
- Sigma Gamma Rho: organized on November 12, 1922 at Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana, by seven school teachers, SGRho continues to be steadfastly committed to the tenets of excellence in Scholarship, Sisterhood, and Service.
- Social Justice League: values members, promotes an educational environment for positive change and activism, fosters a safe and welcoming community, and is a social organization that provides support for those interested in nonviolent activism.
- Spectrum: the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender/Sexual, Queer, Questioning, Intersex, Pansexual, Asexual, & Ally Alliance and Rollins College. Spectrum is a safe haven for all LGBTQQIPAA students to socialize, get support, and have fun!
- Voices for Women: to empower women by educating members of the community and providing safe opportunities and environments for the promotion of feminism and gender equality.
And, if that’s not enough, how about: A self-professed, neo-Nazi as President of Rollins Hillel? A committed Christian evangelical as President of the Newman Club? An atheist as President of the Campus Crusade for Christ (Fiat Lux)? A Shi’ite or Sunni Muslim as President of the Jewish Student Union? An orthodox Jew as President of the Muslim Student Association?
This is what passes for “wisdom” in higher education today?
Meanwhile, across the pond, this logic suggests the upcoming conclave in Rome will smack of discrimination. After all, the College of Cardinals has excluded from all sorts of human beings as papabile—each of whom has been created in God’s image and likeness—based solely on the basis of gender and religion.
And, there are many who will argue a biblical basis for calling this narrowing of the roster of papabile discriminatory. Didn’t St. Paul write “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28)?
If the cardinals are going to be a truly inclusive group, perhaps they should invite the Rollins’ College Board of Trustees to their consultations before moving forward in electing the next Pope.
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