University, San Bernardino, has refused to allow a
Christian group to organize on campus, saying the
group would discriminate against non-Christians
The Christian Student Association's proposed
constitution included a statement on sexual morality
and required members and officers to be Christian.
State law prevents student groups at public universities
from excluding people based on religion or sexual orientation.
"We are not permitted to charter them under
Title V," said Christine Hansen, director of student
leadership and development in the office of student
affairs. She was referring to a section of the state
Ryan Sorba, who tried to form the association,
accused the university of discriminating against
Christians. "This is about whether or not the First
Amendment is allowed to exist at Cal State San Bernardino
and whether or not Christians are allowed to exist,"
Sorba, 23, who also is president of the College
Republicans, said Monday.
Similar controversies are playing out on other
A group called the Alliance Defense Fund filed a
lawsuit last month against the California State
University campuses in Long Beach and San Diego,
alleging that Cal State's systemwide policy forces students
to abandon their Christian beliefs if they want
benefits that other organizations receive. Chartered
student groups are eligible for money from student
fees and can invite speakers to campus, post fliers, and use
university rooms for meetings.
Several Christian organizations began
campaigning on Monday to force the university to
approve Sorba's club. "This is political correctness
gone amok. There is no way we are going to let this thing
pass," said the Reverend Louis Sheldon, chairman and
founder of the conservative Christian group
Traditional Values Coalition.
Sorba has generated controversy in the past by
using the College Republicans' name on antigay signs
and coordinating an "affirmative action" bake sale at
which minorities were offered snacks at reduced
prices. In a separate dispute, evangelical high schools are
suing the University of California for refusing to
recognize Christian-themed courses. (AP)