BLOGGeorge Will: Vanderbilt Violates Religious Groups' Right to Association

By Jordan Lorence Posted on: | November 08, 2011

Influential columnist George F. Will wrote a column last week criticizing Vanderbilt University's decision to force student-led religious groups on campus to accept nonbelievers as members in order to stay meeting on campus.  His insightful opinions piece explains why the Constitution forbids such actions by public universities, and why it is unwise for private universities, like Vanderbilt, to pursue such ill-conceived policies:

Illustrating an intellectual confusion common on campuses, Vanderbilt University says: To ensure “diversity of thought and opinion” we require certain student groups, including five religious ones, to conform to the university’s policy that forbids the groups from protecting their characteristics that contribute to diversity.

Although a private university is under no obligation to obey the Constitution ( because the Constitution restrains only governmental power), Vanderbilt should take a lead in building diversity in the marketplace of ideas by allowing religious groups to require that their members and officers to agree with the beliefs and advocacy of the organization.  That is what most other campus groups regularly do at Vanderbilt and elsewhere.  Why should only religious groups be forced to accept people who disagree with the group's beliefs?

_____________________
Join the conversation Facebook.com/SpeakUpU
Sound off below – Leave a comment!

Jordan Lorence

Senior Counsel

Jordan Lorence serves as senior counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom where he plays a key role with the Advocacy Research and Innovation Team.

More from ADF View All

Lawsuit against Hawaii Churches Hurts the Surrounding Community

Religious Freedom

Lawsuit against Hawaii Churches Hurts the Surrounding Community

The community gains nothing if the case is allowed to move forward. These chu...

Mr. Funny | Words | Author | I'm the icon | www | 05/19/2017 18:00:00 Read More

What Are Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity Ordinances?

Religious Freedom

What Are Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity Ordinances?

The government has no business punishing its citizens for living consistently...

Mr. Funny | Words | Author | I'm the icon | www | 05/11/2017 22:00:00 Read More

Hollywood’s New Video Tribute to Planned Parenthood is Misleading at Best and Dangerous at Worst

Sanctity of Life

Hollywood’s New Video Tribute to Planned Parenthood is Misleading at Best and Dangerous at Worst

Abortion advocates are doing women and girls in need a huge disservice by try...

Mr. Funny | Words | Author | I'm the icon | www | 05/22/2017 18:00:00 Read More

End of the Term at the Supreme Court: Four Cases We’re Watching

Culture

End of the Term at the Supreme Court: Four Cases We’re Watching

Here are four decisions ADF is watching for from U.S. Supreme Court.

Mr. Funny | Words | Author | I'm the icon | www | 05/19/2017 22:38:36 Read More