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The law as it relates to Christians and their free exercise of religion

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Speaking Up for Religious Rights at Our Public Universities

Posted by faithandthelaw on January 30, 2010


 
 
 
 
 
We are a nation founded on the ideals of individual freedom and religious liberty. Yet here in America, Christian students and faculty who want to live out their faith regularly have their constitutional rights denied. Unconstitutional acts preventing the right to hear and speak the Truth are not infrequent or isolated—the Alliance Defense Fund has identified more than 200 public colleges and universities that have unconstitutional policies limiting the freedom of Christians and Christian student groups. In addition to overt censorship, Christian students and faculty often face punishment or reprisal for openly expressing their beliefs. Hundreds of colleges and universities maintain so-called “speech codes” that restrict free speech, codes that are all too often selectively enforced against Christians.  Dozens of universities have attempted to eject Christian student groups from campus, and the Alliance Defense Fund has identified an emerging trend of professional schools requiring Christian students to disavow their beliefs before they are granted a degree.

At the same time that they restrict Christians’ speech and access, colleges and universities regularly support, accommodate, and even celebrate groups that reject cornerstone American values. This sort of bias is not only illegal—it is alarmingly pervasive.  It is happening on campuses from New York to California, including some of America’s most well-known public universities.

There are serious consequences to an academic environment that is so hostile to Christians.  If you doubt the lasting impact on the attitudes and behaviors of our future leaders, consider this:  According to a study from Barna Research Group, more than 60 percent of previously churched young people fall away from their faith practices during their college years.  UCLA’s Higher Education Research Institute has found that student church attendance drops by almost 50% in the two and a half short years between the beginning of freshman year and the end of junior year.

The Alliance Defense Fund has long been committed to protecting and preserving Our First Liberty—religious freedom.  And our Center for Academic Freedom is spearheading this effort on our nation’s campuses. But we strive to do more.

We have, therefore, dedicated significant time, effort, and resources to educate and empower the millions of Christian students and faculty who face censorship, reprisal, and punishment.  The ADF Center for Academic Freedom helps ordinary people—Christians who simply wish to freely and openly live and share their faith—to make their voices heard, to Speak Up.

We have created SpeakUpMovement.org as a resource for Christian students, faculty, and staff.  Our objective is for more Christians at public universities to understand their rights and for more of them to Speak Up in defense of their most basic liberties.  By speaking up, students and professors do far more than preserve their own voice and own ministries, they restore ordered liberty to campus and enable the voice and ministries of all those who follow their example.  By directly challenging universities, students and professors can win significant, precedent-setting legal victories; restore a university environment that honors justice and equality of opportunity; and create a future where constitutional rights are freely exercised—not taken away.

You can help give Christian student groups equal access to campus funding, facilities, and resources.  You can protect Christian students and faculty from academic or professional retaliation.  You can help to create a legal environment for Christian students and faculty to live out their faith.  You too can Speak Up.

If we don’t resist censorship, we will lose our religious liberty.  It is that simple.  We urge you to join concerned Christians from across America and our Center for Academic Freedom in the Speak Up movement.  To donate your time, your voice, and your financial support, visit www.SpeakUpMovement.org.

Courtesy of  alliancedefensefund.org at  http://www.alliancedefensefund.org/issues/ReligiousFreedom/UniversityLife.aspx

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