Emily, a student at a public university, mustered the courage to invite some friends in her dorm to a Bible study group. She was surprised when she was told that such a group was not allowed to meet in her dormitory. At the beginning of the school year, the dorm had voted to not allow religious proselytizing or recruiting.
At first, Emily was sort of relieved, since she was nervous about inviting her friends to read the Bible with her. But Emily also had a sense that this rule was not right. Why would voluntarily reading the Bible with students be banned? She asked the dorm director for a clarification. The rule had been in the student handbook for years, allowing each dorm to vote on the issue at the beginning of the year.
Emily followed up with her Collegiate Navs staff person, who called Doug, a Navigator representative on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. He regularly gets involved in religious liberty and freedom of speech issues on behalf of The Navigators. The Supreme Court has ruled in the past that colleges cannot impose “viewpoint discrimination” which means that if students are allowed to invite friends to a math study group or a book club, they can also invite friends to a Bible study. Ultimately, The Navigators wrote a letter to that particular college administration on this issue and the rule was removed from the student handbook. Emily was free to invite her friends to study the Bible!
While the case at Emily’s university had a simple resolution, some cases are much more complicated. A major public university ruled that religious organizations could not require that student leaders have a specific religious belief. Such an anti-discrimination ruling might make sense for the chess club, but it didn’t make sense for religious organizations.
The Navigators joined with other organizations, first with other national Christian groups, and then eventually with 19 different religious groups, to advocate together for the right to require a particular faith for student leaders in faith-based organizations. There were many behind-the-scenes meetings with administrators, the governor of the state, and other leaders. Eventually, after a year of advocacy, the university announced they were not going to impose the new policy. What a win for religious freedom!
Join us in praying for continued favor for Collegiate Navs to have the freedom to operate on campuses around the country and pray for wisdom as leaders advocate for this freedom.
Pray for the Navs collegiate ministry at UW and that the Greek ministry will continue to flourish so that more students will make commitments to follow Christ.
For more about the collegiate ministry of The Navigators visit campusnavs.org
Praise God for these victories of real freedom!
Guide lines for starting Bible studies in apartment complexes ?
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