Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts has banned a Christian group from campus because the group requires student leaders to adhere to “basic biblical truths of Christianity.” The decision to ban the group, called the Tufts Christian Fellowship, was made by officials from the university’s student government, specifically the Tufts Community Union Judiciary.
The ban means the group “will lose the right to use the Tufts name in its title or at any activities, schedule events or reserve university space through the Office for Campus Life,” according to the Tufts Daily. Additionally, Tufts Christian Fellowship will be unable to receive money from a pool that students are required to pay into and that is specifically set aside for student groups.
There are various procedural pretexts for this hateful action. One of the bigots even posted (anonymously) a “justification” in the comments section at Virtue Online, which reveals the real intent:
Had the group dropped the “biblical truths” requirement, and adopted democracy, they could have still chosen leaders who shared their beliefs, albeit with a ballot and not discrimination.
The technique is becoming familiar.
All student societies are open to all students. Christians are a minority. Any student may be a member; so naturally the leaders must be believers. Otherwise a group of hate-filled non-Christians — and clearly we have some here — can gather a mass of drunken unbelievers in the bar, turn up to the vote, and simply take over the society in one go, and vote it into non-existence.
Precisely the same technique was used in the Exeter University persecution in England. The pretext is “anti-discrimination”, as a means to prevent the Christians on campus from having recognised groups and blocking their access to funds which Christians are obliged to contribute to.
I have written to the PR department for Tufts university to enquire whether the university endorses this action, and if not, what it proposes to do about it, and likewise to the president of the university. No university should allow vicious attacks on minorities like this.
I have also written a response to the anonymous persecutor on Virtue Online. It occurred to me, as I wrote that the “Christian groups on campus” not selected for persecution must be gnashing their teeth at being found unworthy. For persecution is the litmus test of sincerity. “Not all those who say, ‘Lord, Lord’…” after all, and “They have hated me and they will hate you”.
The Lord has allowed this persecution, I think, to make clear in the eyes of the whole university who is, and is not, Christian. Which is rather encouraging, isn’t it? Well worth the inconvenience.
UPDATE: I got a response from a certain Kimberley Thurler at the Tufts University PR department. But the email, as from the university, was in fact merely the text of a statement on the university chaplaincy site here. The chaplaincy, then, is the voice of the university and vice versa. The statement means nothing, unfortunately, except that the university endorsed the persecution and is now trying to deflect the criticism.
Curiously this official university chaplaincy — and therefore the university — has an official religious policy which is officially non-Christian:
The University Chaplaincy upholds the Universalist tradition and commitment to inclusivity.
I could not but be reminded inexpressibly of official Roman religion, when I read those pages.
As a Christian and a Tufts student, I am calling for the immediate de-funding of the so-called Tufts Christian Fellowship (TCF), a chapter of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/USA (IVCF). IVCF continues to promote anti-gay hate speech while acting as the oversight advisory for TCF’s funding, taken from the Student Activities Fee. This is unacceptable.
Last October, I was threatened by an employee of IVCF. They told me to be careful about whom I complained to, because “the last time this happened it cost everyone a lot of money, and we had to get lawyers involved.” (etc)
As IVCF New England Regional Director Chris Nichols told me in Nov. 2011, if a gay person was elected to an exec-board position, refused to resign and IVCF could not otherwise compel them, then “IVCF would not continue its relationship with that chapter.”
Note that this person has apparently been harassing IVCF for almost a year. In the comments is the following dry response to this hysterical piece of hate:
… they didn’t really threaten you. It appears you have been threatening them (you’ve been leading efforts to defund them for months now), and they just informed you that they intend to do everything within their power to stay on campus. It’s not really a threat to say that lawyers will get involved when you are the reason that the lawyers would have to get involved in the first place.
Isn’t it curious that accusations against the Christians always come from those involved in vice, either personally or commercially? Why any university worth the name would tolerate the activities of this revolting individual to introduce a censorship is rather hard to imagine.
UPDATE (19th November 2012): An article in the Wall Street Journal online indicates that Tufts has a history of repressing political dissent too. Which raises the question: why doesn’t some conservative foundation sue the heck out them under US free speech clauses in the constitution?
-  Tertullian, Apologeticum. ↩