College says too many Christian Groups

Avatar for emmlevin
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Registered: 03-25-2003
College says too many Christian Groups
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Sat, 06-19-2004 - 12:11pm
"A Christian student club is suing Penn State University for rejecting it as a student organization after being told the school already has "too many" Christian clubs" ....

http://www.wnd.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=39040

What?

"A university administrator, the director of the center for ethics and religious affairs, must decide whether or not the club is sufficiently "unique" from existing religious student clubs to warrant registration"

This is what bothers me the most. It is okay to have 800 chess clubs but lets not have too many Christian clubs, or Pagan clubs, or Jewish clubs, or Muslim clubs.

Comments welcome

Mary

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Registered: 01-28-2004
Sat, 06-19-2004 - 12:18pm
Congratulations, Mary, you've succeeded in digging up the single stupidest religon-related issue I think I've ever read. "Too many Christian clubs"? Come again?

It seems to me it should be up to the students, who, after all, are the potential club members, to decide if the clubs already in existence meet their needs. If those clubs do not meet their needs and they want to start a new one, I don't see how the university can say "no". Yes, for all I know, the campus may already be rife with such organizations as Campus Crusade for Christ, Navigators, and who knows what all else, but that doesn't mean there isn't room for one more. I don't even understand what the college's problem is. What do they care about one more religous organization?

Alisha

Avatar for emmlevin
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Registered: 03-25-2003
Sat, 06-19-2004 - 12:33pm
>>>Congratulations, Mary, you've succeeded in digging up the single stupidest religon-related issue I think I've ever read. "Too many Christian clubs"? Come again?

I'm sure I can find something stupider - just give me time.


>>>What do they care about one more religous organization?

Concerns about mind-control? (Sorry I couldn't resist)

Mary

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-28-2004
Sat, 06-19-2004 - 12:35pm
>>>>Concerns about mind-control?<<<<

Mind control being part of the nefarious ploy for world-domination. How could I possibly forget?

Alisha

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Registered: 03-08-2004
Sat, 06-19-2004 - 1:19pm

But *is* it OK to have so many chess clubs (or whatever)? The article says that religious groups (not Christians exclusively, but *religious* groups) have to undergo a different review process... If the requirements are the same for *every* religion, and such limitations on the number of seperate groups apply across the board (and I'd venture to say that they should also apply to non-religious groups) then I don't see a problem. HOWEVER, if one religion is being singled out for limitations, then yes- clearly there is a problem. Now- I don't agree with having such limitations in the first place (who cares whether there are two or two hundred religious groups? Christian, Pagan, Jewish, Muslim- whatever- I mean really- what's the big difference as far as how many there are?) But- so long as the laws are applied across the board- I'm not sure that there is a problem here...


That said- the article really isn't at all clear on the specifics of the policies. I'd have to know alot more about the situation before really putting an opinion behind it. These are just ramblings based on what the article *did* have to say.


Avatar for emmlevin
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Sat, 06-19-2004 - 1:33pm
Why should religious groups be singled out for different treatment from secular groups? Doesn't that favor a secular viewpoint over a religious viewpoint? Everyone is competing for access to the same facilities and the same funds.

Furthermore, I really dislike ONE person deciding if a group is "unique" enough? Maybe this guy thinks all pagans are the same so one pagan group is enough? Doesn't that bother you. The article doesn't seem to indicate there if there is an appeals process or not.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-08-2004
Sat, 06-19-2004 - 1:46pm

***Why should religious groups be singled out for different treatment from secular groups? Doesn't that favor a secular viewpoint over a religious viewpoint? Everyone is competing for access to the same facilities and the same funds.***


I'm not saying that they should. One thought that crossed my mind is that there are only so many slants one can put on chess- (I can only think of three actually... Recreational chess, professional chess and

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Sat, 06-19-2004 - 2:16pm
I didnt' see anything about 800 chess clubs, but I agree with you Mary the "uniqueness rule" is quite lame.

As we all know from perusing this board, their are many varieties of "Christian". I can see how it is quite possible to have 800 Christian clubs and they could all be unique. Heck, I look in the yellow pages, and I see several varieties of Lutheran, and several varieties of Baptist.

I think the college is being stupid here.The "uniqueness rule" sounds like a trumped up ruse to me.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-28-2003
Sat, 06-19-2004 - 2:33pm
I can actually understand Penn State’s logic on this issue.

Penn State is a public institution, and needs to carefully consider how it will apply state funds to support religious groups. Having a separate process for officially recognizing religious groups as opposed to other clubs makes sense. (They also likely have a separate process for recognizing fraternities and sororities, which no one would consider discriminatory).

The university also does not have unlimited funding, and so needs to limit the number of official groups that receive funds. Having two competing hockey clubs, for example, does not do the student body any good, even if the second group really does think of itself as different.

Ultimately, no one is denying this group the right to meet and carry out their program (the real Constitutional issue here). Getting state funds to do so is a different matter altogether.

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-28-2004
Sat, 06-19-2004 - 2:44pm
>>>>>>Ultimately, no one is denying this group the right to meet and carry out their program (the real Constitutional issue here). Getting state funds to do so is a different matter altogether.<<<<<<

From the article *****Denial of registered status means the group does not have access to meeting rooms, bulletin boards and student organization funding.******

They are denying the group space to meet in (meeting rooms) and a means of conveying to the students that they exist (bulletin boards). Suppose the group doesn't need or want funding? They still need meeting space, and they are being denied it solely because they are a Christian religious group. And quite honestly, I have a problem with universities funding student clubs, religious or not, anyway. Shouldn't clubs fund themselves?

Alisha




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Registered: 05-28-2003
Sat, 06-19-2004 - 3:19pm
>>> I have a problem with universities funding student clubs, religious or not, anyway. Shouldn't clubs fund themselves? <<<

This, I think, is really the heart of the issue.

The whole point of universities funding clubs, fraternities, and religious groups is to enhance student life. Penn State has a real interest in subsidizing these groups as a way to offer a better college experience to its students. That in turn promotes learning, and also allows the university to compete in the academic market.

Having an overabundance of similar groups does not enhance student life. Space and funding are limited, and if you cut the pie too many ways, everybody looses.


>>> They are denying the group space to meet in (meeting rooms) and a means of conveying to the students that they exist (bulletin boards). <<<

They can still meet in spaces other than meeting rooms, such as a coffee house or restaurant on campus, or in an open area or in a group study room in one of the libraries.

Meeting rooms and bulletin boards are not unlimited resource. At some point you have to draw the line.

>>> Suppose the group doesn't need or want funding? They still need meeting space, and they are being denied it solely because they are a Christian religious group. <<<

Not solely because they are a Christian group. I think the university would argue that they would be denied funding if they were a non-unique group of any kind. Uniqueness is the issue, not religion.

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