For almost a year we have been in conversation with Vanderbilt University’s administrators about their redefined nondiscrimination policy. We are now beginning to blog about this conversation because we sense our efforts to persuade the administration to change its course on this issue have failed, and we want to clear up misconceptions and false information about religious organizations on campus while also addressing the deeper philosophical and theological issues presented by this policy. Something may still change – God does work in surprising ways – but all indications are that the decision has been made and compromise is not something Vanderbilt is willing to consider. We are now focusing our efforts on preparing for next year – a year of launching campus ministry from the edge of campus.
As we prepare for the coming year, we feel it is prudent to make public some of the thinking we have been doing for the past 10 months. Since we cannot in good conscience comply with the university’s new requirements, we are not expecting that we will be able to operate as a registered student organization in the coming year. The way we work with students will look different. Some things will be more complicated. Some things we do now will change. With all the upheaval to come, we wanted to communicate publicly why we are choosing this course. And since students and faculty are impacted by all of this, we want them to have a clear understanding of why some Christian groups are no longer able to remain as registered student groups.
Though change lies ahead, we believe God’s work in students’ lives is not dependent on the policies of the university. We move forward, knowing that God has not changed. And though this has been a difficult year for the Christian community at Vanderbilt, it has also been an incredible year, a year where we have seen God at work in new ways and a year we will all remember for a long time.
The primary bloggers here will be local InterVarsity staff, though we may have guest bloggers from time to time. We are not trying to be a newspaper that presents both sides of the issue. This is our forum for presenting our perspective.
If you are reading this as one of the many Christians who have been engaged with us on this issue this year, whether a student, faculty member, supporter, or person in the local community, to you we want to say, “Thanks” and “Welcome.” We have been deeply aware of the generous prayers many have offered this year on behalf of the body of Christ on Vanderbilt’s campus. If you are reading this as someone who does not share our religious beliefs but find this issue to be one of interest, we welcome you as well.
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Upcoming Topics :
Why are we choosing to keep our creed as a requirement for leaders?
Is this religious persecution?
Is this a “new policy” at Vanderbilt?
What does being “unregistered” mean on a practical level?
Is this about sex?
Should we protect individual rights over communal freedom?
Are only Christian groups affected by this?