CHICAGO - Two organizations lodged a friend-of-the-court brief Friday with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit supporting the student chapter of the Christian Legal Society at the Southern Illinois University School of Law. The brief argues that school officials were wrong to revoke the Christian club's registered status.
"Religious student organizations, like all other student organizations, have the right to come together around shared commitments," said ADF attorney Jeremy Tedesco. "This is not rocket science. The Supreme Court has ruled repeatedly that student organizations have the right to determine their own membership."
On Aug. 22, the 7th Circuit granted the CLS chapter's request for a preliminary injunction ordering the university to reinstate the group's registered status while its case against university officials moves forward.
ADF and CLS filed Christian Legal Society Chapter at Southern Illinois University School of Law v. Walker in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois in April after the school revoked the chapter's registered status and all of the benefits associated with it. SIU claims the CLS chapter's requirement that its voting members and leaders adhere to basic Christian beliefs violates the university's affirmative action policy, which prohibits discrimination based on religion and sexual orientation.
"We lodged the brief because the CLS chapter's case has vital implications for our ministry, which has student groups on over 70 university campuses nationwide," explained Mark Foster, executive director of Every Nation Ministries. "Public universities must respect the rights of religious student groups to determine their own membership and leadership."
Every Nation Campus Ministries is an arm of Every Nation Ministries, a non-profit religious organization with principle offices in Los Angeles, California. The ministry has over 280 campus ministers working on more than 70 university campuses.
Family Research Council is a non-profit, research and educational organization headquartered in Washington, D.C., that provides policy analysis, legislative assistance, research, and analysis for both federal and state governments.
ADF is a legal alliance of Christian attorneys and like-minded organizations defending the right of people to freely live out their faith. Launched in 1994, ADF employs a unique combination of strategy, training, funding, and litigation to protect and preserve religious liberty, the sanctity of life, marriage, and the family.