Students Rally for Faith in Vanderbilt U. Showdown

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Christian student groups have launched a grassroots effort to fight a controversial nondiscrimination policy at Vanderbilt University.

Vanderbilt is requiring all groups to accept members of different sexual orientations or faiths. That policy forces religious groups to allow students to seek leadership roles even if they disagree with the groups' beliefs.

Now, 11 of those groups have come together, calling themselves "Vanderbilt Solidarity," to fight the new rule. 

"Each of our 11 organizations is a faith-based group dedicated to sharing the light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ on campus," they said in a joint statement.

"As such, we simply cannot allow those who do not share our faith to lead our ministries, as Vanderbilt now demands," the said. "To do so would not only compromise our very reason for existence, it would also violate the central tenets of our faith."

Click play to watch the updated CBN News report by Heather Sells.

Also, Brant Bonetti, a Vanderbilt senior and former president of the Christian fraternity Beta Upsilon Chi, talked more about the Vanderbilt showdown. Watch below.

On Wednesday, students from those groups handed out 4,000 Mp4 players on campus with a pre-loaded video, calling for students and alums to hold the Vanderbilt administration accountable.

Former Student Body President Joseph Williams is one of the voices featured in that video.

"It was originally a non-discrimination policy that within the student handbook included within it protection for religious association," Williams said. "Out of nowhere, with no warning or public statement, it was revealed that they eliminated the protection for freedom of religious association."

The trouble for Christian students began after an openly gay student said he was kicked out of a Christian fraternity two years ago. Vanderbilt launched a review to make sure groups were abiding by its nondiscrimination policy.

The administration then placed four groups that require Bible study and worship on provisional status.

Vanderbilt said it just wants to be sure all students can participate in the organizations that interest them. The administration is calling it an "all-comers policy."
 
But Dr. Carol Swain, a law professor at Vanderbilt and a faculty adviser for the Christian Legal Society student group, said the policy is "irrational."

"I think that the policy is totally irrational in that it's geared towards suppressing religious groups, especially evangelical Christian," she told CBN News.

Vanderbilt was founded by the Methodist Church, and some feel this new policy defies the school's religious history.

"When you think about the parents, they're paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to send their children off to be educated, and what's happening on these campuses in many ways is geared towards destroying their faith," Swain said.

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