A campus apologetics ministry is suing the University of Colorado after claiming that the academic institution forced it to allow atheists to lead its Bible studies.
Though school officials have yet to comment on the situation, a prominent legal group representing Christian apologetics student group, Ratio Christi, has alleged that the university is forcing the group to allow “atheists or other non-Christians to lead their Bible studies” — a move which seems utterly bizarre.
“The hallmark of higher education is that all viewpoints can compete in the ‘marketplace of ideas,'” reads a lawsuit, filed by Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF).
The suit continues:
“Seeking to participate in this ‘marketplace of ideas,’ Plaintiffs sought to form a Christian apologetics organization, Ratio Christi. As this student organization seeks to advance, teach, and defend Christian beliefs, it requires that its officers must share and personally hold those Christian beliefs. And it requires that its members, those who influence its overall direction, generally support its mission.”
The legal challenge has sought to highlight the university’s clear constitutional violation, noting that in this “marketplace of ideas,” the university is not allowed to “prefer some viewpoints and denigrate others.” The filing added that the Christian group, or any registered student group for that matter, should not be forced to appoint leaders who fundamentally disagree with its core mission.
In a statement, the group clarified that students “of any faith or no faith can become a member of Ratio Christi, as long as he or she supports the group’s purpose.”
However, the group’s press release noted that it “requires that those who lead the Christian organization share its religious beliefs.”
As a result of its baffling policy, the lawsuit claims the university has “has refused to register Ratio Christi” as an official club.
“It has refused to do so specifically because this religious organization seeks to ensure that its leaders share its beliefs and that its members support its mission, even though other student organizations do the same,” the suit states.
The group noted that, as a result of its lack of university certification, it has experienced a lack of “access to funding, meeting and event space, and administrative support.”
Director of the ADF Center for Academic Freedom, ADF Senior Counsel Tyson Langhofer noted that regardless of “claiming inclusiveness and diversity as its core values,” the University of Colorado has failed to “foster real diversity of thought.” Instead, Langhofer noted, the institution is “discriminating against a Christian group based on its beliefs.”
“Today’s university students will be tomorrow’s legislators, judges, university presidents, and voters, but at the University of Colorado, students are learning the wrong message: that government can dictate who can lead certain student groups,” he stated. “It’s vital that public universities model the First Amendment values they are supposed to be teaching to students.”
ADF noted that the university is in “direct violation” with a series of constitutional principles.
According to the Ratio Christi’s website, the group is part of “a global movement that equips university students and faculty to give historical, philosophical, and scientific reasons for following Jesus Christ.”
“Bringing together faith and reason to establish the intellectual voice of Christ in the University, Ratio Christi is planting student and faculty led apologetics clubs at universities around the world,” the description continued.