NO CHAPELS FOUND ON THIS HILL
Catalyst October Issue 2004
The University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill has accused a Christian fraternity of discriminating against non-Christians because the frat won’t open its membership to students of different faiths. In reality, however, it is UNC that is doing the discriminating: it won’t allow a Christian group to be Christian.
The fraternity, Alpha Iota Omega, is suing UNC over this issue. It is being assisted by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) and the Alliance Defense Fund. FIRE claims that “Freedom of association and expression mean little when student groups are forced to include people who disagree with the core beliefs of the organization.” The fraternity refuses to sign a “nondiscrimination” clause that would forbid it from considering religion when determining “membership and participation” in the group.
There is something particularly obtuse about the UNC administration. Just two years ago, it accused the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship that it was guilty of discrimination because it wouldn’t allow non-Christians to join. After FIRE went after UNC, it decided to reverse its position. Now they’ve done it again.
UNC administrators should have learned what happened when gays tried to force their way into New York’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade under their own banner. They were told by the U.S. Supreme Court that they had no right to essentially veto the message of the sponsoring Irish-Catholic groups. Otherwise, neo-Nazis could force their way into an Israeli parade, etc.
Perhaps some white kids on the campus ought to apply for membership in an African-American club and see how the administrators react to them. In any event, perhaps it’s time they stopped identifying the campus as “Chapel Hill.”