Officials at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J., have seen the light: Constitutional rights trump political correctness. But it took a civil-rights lawsuit by InterVarsity Christian Fellowship to convince them.
In an out-of-court settlement announced last week, the officials in effect acknowledged they had been wrong last September in barring the campus IVCF chapter from access to university facilities and student-activity funding. They had demanded that IVCF comply with the school's anti-discriminatory policy by lifting its requirement that chapter officers be Christians who subscribe to a statement of faith. The Rutgers policy, similar to those of many schools, says "membership, benefits, and the election of officers" cannot be biased on the basis of race, sex, handicap, age, sexual orientation, or political and religious affiliation.
IVCF refused to change its charter, the university lowered the boom, and the chapter replied with a lawsuit last December. IVCF's defenders argued that the Rutgers policy would require a Democratic club to allow a Republican president, a Jewish group to allow a Holocaust-denying officer, a Muslim group to accept a leader who believes in Christianity or voodoo, and the school's Bisexual, Gay, and Lesbian Alliance to permit an evangelical who believes homosexual conduct is sinful to head the group.
Under the new agreement, the university stipulated that IVCF is not in violation of school policies. Since Rutgers was a hard-nosed holdout in its opposition to IVCF requirements, its capitulation likely will send a strong signal to other schools that have targeted the ministry.