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Christian Fraternities Not Always Welcome on Campus

Water may be the only wet thing at Christian fraternity Slip-n-Slide parties, but their existence on college campuses has been met with resistance across the country.

You would think by not drinking, rejecting hazing, and promoting public service they would be a college administrator’s dream, but only accepting Christian members has earned them an exclusionary reputation. As if all fraternities weren’t!

The University of Florida refused to grant Beta Upsilon Chi official status for that exact reason. The Christian fraternity filed a federal discrimination suit against the school because they could not have a meeting place or recruit on campus without official fraternity status. For the rest of the story,


But while Beta Upsilon Chi fights to be recognized, at the University of New Mexico another Christian fraternity’s unofficial status was the loophole it needed to turn down a Mormon. Because it runs through the Student Activities Center — and is not part of the Interfraternity Council — it is not subject to regulations that would otherwise prohibit it.

A UNM student activity organization must follow Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination on race, color, or national origin; however, Christian fraternities argue that the First Amendment protects their right to associate.

Phew! Sounds like they have to decide which is more important — the right to associate with whomever you choose or the right to not be discriminated by religion. What do you think?


Join The Conversation
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 8 years
Oh see UnDave I would have never let that slide, not for a minute. That was wrong but I could see not wanting to make a scene with the kids there.
UnDave35 UnDave35 8 years
Thanks everyone :highfive: I was very shocked by it. There were 10 of us Boy Scouts who had recently attended the funeral of an assistant counselor the previous day, and decided to stay at camp that night and go to this church the next day. We showed up in our Scout uniforms, and the priest quietly asked us to partake of the Sunday service at a different church, since we weren't members of the that church, and he couldn't verify that we were Catholics... We wouldn't have gone if it wasn't Boy Scout Sunday. Oh well, that was a few years ago.
foxie foxie 8 years
I agree, Fallen. If they would just play the system the way the black frats do, they wouldn't have a problem. The fact that instead they are trying to fight the system makes me think they're just looking for attention. Adapt, adapt, adapt.
cddlykoala cddlykoala 8 years
Ex-President of a National Panhellenic Sorority here, somebody above summed it up quite nicely in my opinion. Any student organization - whether under the banner of "Greek" or not - has a right to TRY and exist on a campus. But each campus's Student Life also has the right to deny that request. I personally have no problem with a "theme" Greek, and I can tell you from experience that every one of those I knew in college had at least one member who didn't match the theme. So long as they are open to all (barring academic barriers for the scholarly ones, such as specific majors, or gpa standards) in their bylaws and practice, than let them be. My guess is, however, that the Student Life org on that campus knew a little bit more about the situation than I do, and probably made the decision that their campus could best live with. Its not a guarantee, but just a guess coming from my experience.
Fallen85 Fallen85 8 years
If they open the frat to non-christian students then there wouldnt be a problem here. the non-christians would know what they were signing up for, bible readings, religious events etc etc just like the non-black people know that their signing up to a black fraternity that focuses on black traditions and events.
Fallen85 Fallen85 8 years
kcwebgirl as someone said earlier fraternities have many perks that people who are not in a frat cant take advantage of. Maybe there is a islamic student who wants to be a part of all of the fun, non-alchoholic events that the Christian Frat is a part of so he would like to join that frat even though he has a different belief system... he should be allowed to, right? If they dont allow him to simply because he reads the quaran instead of the bible then it's discrimination.
snowbunny11 snowbunny11 8 years
This is a public university- I think that has really been lost in the discussion. That means the fraternities and organizations get $$$ from the taxpayers- so excluding someone on the basis of religion and race would not be permitted. Private churches can exclude, even though they have a tax-exempt status, though I have yet (except in Undave's case!) heard of a private Christian church ever excluding someone simply for not being a Christian, unless that person is excommunicated. The point isn't WHY someone would want to be in this frat, just simply that they can't, and that is excluding someone on the basis of their religious beliefs (or lack thereof). If this were a private, Christian college, I think there would be no problem.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 8 years
Ghost even as a "club" they couldnt meet on campus because they arent recognized.
divinelight divinelight 8 years
The Christian fraternity should be willing to accept any religion, but I doubt they would really have to worry about it. Why would someone who isn't a Christian want to be in a predominantly Christian fraternity? They would probably feel left out and like they were constantly being preached to. The fraternity just needs to say they are willing to accept anyone, but not just anyone will want to join, so it's a win-win situation.
em1282 em1282 8 years
"I've been reading these comments and I found my self laughing out laud. I'm sorry I just can't let this one go, but but, black fraternities/sororities represent who people are a religious based fraternity/sorority represents a choice, LOL. Just couldn't let that one go. Of course that's not how I feel I'm just being a smart ass." Hypno you read my mind. ;) And kranky, I agree with you, I've never been to a Catholic church that has ever turned anyone away. The ones I've been to always welcome everyone, and some of them even have this little "stand up if you're visiting us today" segment near the end of mass after communion. But maybe someone woke up on the wrong side of the bed and was cranky, UD...
ghostgrrl ghostgrrl 8 years
The college probably has an inter-fraternity council that gets to make some kind of decisions somehow related to campus life. You couldn't reserve a seat on such a council as a "Christian only" seat, especially since public money or facilities are likely involved. It would violate Title VII, which prohibits discrimination based on religion. I don't know why the group feels the need to be a frat. If they want to live together, they can live together. If they want to get together to study the Gospel, they can form a club. Fraternities and sororities- which are exclusionary by design- are kind-of 'anti-Christian' anyway. What would they be telling the pledges who they didn't accept for membership? "You're not Christian enough"? "You're not sufficiently desirable as a member of our fellowship"? "Jesus loves everyone, but he loves us more"? That's symptomatic of what is wrong with the attitudes of the religious right in this country these days.
kranky kranky 8 years
This is off-topic, but UnDave - I was shocked to hear that you were asked to leave a Catholic Church. I'm so sorry that happened to you. I'm Catholic and I've never heard of such a thing. I do know that Catholics ask that non-Catholics do not take part in the sacrament (communion), but it is on a honor-basis at all of the churches I have attended. No one demands for baptismal papers as you are lining up to take the host. Just wanted to let you know that all of the Catholic Churches I have attended are really open about having visitors. We are not all exclusionary, so folks should feel free to drop by. On topic, I have attended a number of different denominations, and all Christians seem like a pretty friendly bunch. I'm surprised the Christian fraternity excludes non-Christians from joining. IMO, they should rethink that policy - it's un-Christian.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 8 years
Good lord, I live in Gainesville, Home of UF, and they allow the Hare Krishnas to demonstrate on campus and feed people twigs and berries on sunday down there! but the christians who are down on the Quad? get run off. I would rather hear the word of the Lord than smell and hear the tamborines. UF is a huge party town, actually #4 on MSNs top 10 party schools.I say that because thats the Mentality on campus.... In the paper back in 2007 they said they denied it because its an ALL MALE Christian fraternity (well duh) althought the school does not make any other organization on campus follow that rule. Without recognition they do not have the same rights as other organizations such as a place to meet, advertize and recruit on campus.
momma-tikita momma-tikita 8 years
wow it was hott in here! anywho...I agree with kcwebgirl. Why would anyone want to join a religious fraternity when they aren't in that religion? It really doesn't make sense. Unless that person would want to become a christian? I don't know...The school is obviously looking for some loop hole.
Jessiebanana Jessiebanana 8 years
kcwebgirl I don't know :shrug:, like I said in an earlier post this whole story sounds off. I feel like there is more to the picture than we are being told.
kcwebgirl kcwebgirl 8 years
the greek system is inherently discriminatory. they discriminate on race and class on a regular basis and that's considered okay. i was part of a christian fraternity in college but we were more like APO or delta sigma pi. but my question is why would a non christian want to join a christian fraternity? it doesn't make sense and i would assume they are doing it to cause problems.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 8 years
I've been reading these comments and I found my self laughing out laud. I'm sorry I just can't let this one go, but but, black fraternities/sororities represent who people are a religious based fraternity/sorority represents a choice, LOL. Just couldn't let that one go. Of course that's not how I feel I'm just being a smart ass.
bellaressa bellaressa 8 years
No one asked for a fight. It's fine to have different views which I stated a couple of lines ago. Now it's full circle.
meringue meringue 8 years
bella, we have different views and that is fine, I am not going to fight with you...let it go
bellaressa bellaressa 8 years
Foxie, what are you talking about? This is a conversation between meringue and me - so where did you come from?
foxie foxie 8 years
Bella, knock it off already.
meringue meringue 8 years
I was simply stating that all people are equal...and there should not be any exclusion...religion, race, etc. For or against
bellaressa bellaressa 8 years
Wow, you're playing a role now?
meringue meringue 8 years
I can see that you are being antagonistic
bellaressa bellaressa 8 years
It's unfortunate that you think it's sarcasm - but to each their own.
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