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Utah

Religious clubs face hurdles on campuses

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  • Craig Salt Lake City, UT
    April 13, 2011 6:48 a.m.

    The solution is to ban all on campus clubs. The clubs can still be formed on their own without school funds or sanctions.

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    April 13, 2011 6:59 a.m.

    "It felt like they were being singled out and discriminated against,"

    Welcome to what it feels like Christians. Not very fun, is it.

  • DonP Sainte Genevieve, MO
    April 13, 2011 7:27 a.m.

    This is exactly why many faith groups refuse to accept any federal funding whatsoever. With the federal or any funding comes strings, strings that require the groups to dance to the piper's tune.

  • EDM Castle Valley, Utah
    April 13, 2011 8:13 a.m.

    Religious groups have maligned people for time immemorial. I'm not crying for them now they're playing the victim.

  • Pagan Salt Lake City, UT
    April 13, 2011 8:24 a.m.

    'That simple encounter was the beginning of a classic case of conflict between a university's nondiscrimination policies and a student religious group's freedom to define itself.' - Article

    I agree with DonP.

    If the school accepts federal funds, then they are accepting tax money from EVERY American background.

    That background, may, and sometimes does, conflict with some religious dogma.

    A jewish person might take offense to a Mulim prayer group, a gay person might take offense to a Mormon group, etc. for example.

    So long as a school accepts federal funds, they CANNOT discriminate against anyone, regardless of religious teachings or loose said funding.

    THIS is why many religious groups cry 'foul' when discriminating against a specific group...

    but fail to realize that they are accepting TAX money FROM said group, to function on public domain.

    The solution is to accept ZERO federal funding, which would allow the school, backed by ONLY private funds, to act in whatever method they deem fit.

    My example?

    BYU.

  • IDC Boise, ID
    April 13, 2011 8:36 a.m.

    This is an excellent illustration of the importance of shrinking our government. Cut taxes and stop funding to everything that isn't necessary. If you want a club, pay for it yourself. Don't fund Christians, or gays, or atheists, or chess players. Cut taxes and I will spend my money on the clubs I like. Problem solved.

  • timpClimber Provo, UT
    April 13, 2011 8:42 a.m.

    As a former college administrator I was forced by these laws to deny any religious group to have official status which would have allowed them to be part of the student government or funding. Why? Because I would have had to allow the same access to any group including a "bugger" group (look up the meaning) who also applied.

  • gizmo33 St. George, Utah
    April 13, 2011 9:18 a.m.

    Craig. absolutly they can meet at each others houses or meet at a social hall after classes and make no exceptions--- problem solved your comment is the best one !

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    April 13, 2011 9:29 a.m.

    The Constitutional right to assemble as a group of people/citizens is specified in the First Amendment.

    When a group of people come together, in clubs, unions, business, churches, religions and any other collective for the pooling of their efforts, whether voluntary or coerced, it is a governmental entity. The object being to effect some level of control over the members usually for the purpose of using the strength of the group.

    I don't think this is bad or even avoidable in our society, but we need to recognize and see the truth of our world. There are thousands of such groups, some good and some bad, seeking to gain control over people, and the people's money.

    As a pessimistic, discouraged, non-religious person, I see religious clubs as being the same as any other commercial users club. Their purpose being the solidifying of members and the gaining of new.

  • Chickenchaser Centralia, WA
    April 13, 2011 10:21 a.m.

    Absolutely IDC. For 25 years I was our school's unintentional self appointed chess coach. We traveled the state and in 1998 even went to the U.S.Open in Las Vegas. In 1995 the superintendent suggested we use public school transportation and a school credit card. I asked what we would sacrifice if we did so and he said 'nothing'. We had sufficient funds through candy bar sales and not an obese kid within 26,000 miles. We sent money and school supplies to a school in Korce, Albania and Dresden to help rebuild the famed but WW11 gutted Frauenkirchke. Most of the time on overnighters we stayed in private homes some being ranches the likes of which the kids had never seen. We had incredible support from parents who'd even drive 600 mile round trip with totally strange kids in their vans. You'd have thought they were driving to a state basketball tournament. On one occasion a principal in my building said he wanted us to use ASB funds until he learned about our expenditures.

    Where there is a will there is a way. Its the American way.

  • Sorry Charlie! SLC, UT
    April 13, 2011 10:24 a.m.

    The title of this article is incorrect - it is not "religious" clubs that face hurdles - it is "exclusionary" clubs that face hurdles.

    Religious clubs who are willing to follow the same rules as every other club get the same benefits as every other club.

    Clubs that don't want to follow the rules don't get the benefits.

    Clubs are not churches and membership in one of these clubs is not part of a persons religious practice (no church requires membership in a school club), therefore, requiring these clubs to follow the rules is not an infringement on anyone's religious freedom.

    Since membership in a school club is not mandatory, requiring the clubs to follow certain rules is not an infringement on freedom of association.

    Since it is possible to have a "club" not as part of the school, freedom of assembly is not being infringed.

    Voluntary participation equals voluntary acceptance of restrictions, freedom of speech is not being infringed.

    Requiring people to play by the same rules everyone else plays by - I thought that was supposed to be a good thing?

  • raybies Layton, UT
    April 13, 2011 11:04 a.m.

    I can't imagine why it should matter if belief is part of a club's membership regulations.

    If I were a jerk trying to mess with a certain group that had a club and applied for membership so that I could get more information on how to harrass said group, shouldn't it be possible for a club to be able to deny access to the club membership?

    Suppose I want to form a roleplaying gamer's group, specifically for playing with a certain set of rules? Shouldn't I have the right to specify the rules by which we play? If I form a poker club, and people bring pinnochle cards, they don't get to play the game--no matter how many people I could get to hijack the poker club and claim discrimination against pinnochle.

    Clearly clubs should have the ability to set certain membership rules. Those that cannot abide by the rules should not be allowed membership or leadership... otherwise abolish all clubs and for that matter all parties and all social gatherings because anywhere there's a school sanctioned gathering, there are gonna be some groundrules set for those that gather...

  • USAlover Salt Lake City, UT
    April 13, 2011 11:12 a.m.

    The only "club" you should have in High School is the big, long one you use to smack bullies and mean kids over the head with.

  • charlie91342 Sylmar, CA
    April 13, 2011 11:21 a.m.

    re - raybies | 11:04 a.m
    "I can't imagine why it should matter if belief is part of a club's membership regulations"

    really? so if some skinheads start a club and their belief is that african-americans cannot belong, you would be willing to use taxpayer and student funds to support that club?

    the issue isn't having a club. Anyone can do that. The issue is providing school and student rec funds to support the club.

    I don't think any club should get any funds unless they accept everyone and anyone into their club. and that's all these universities are saying. you want some university and student fee funds? you have to accept anyone in your club that wants to join.

    and that is 100% fair. you want a religious club that excludes people? use your own money and your own facilities. I don't see the chess club or the science club having a problem with this. why would you think religious clubs should be special?

    "Clearly clubs should have the ability to set certain membership rules."

    not if everyone is paying for it. that seems to be the point you all are missing.

  • The Rock Federal Way, WA
    April 13, 2011 11:31 a.m.

    When I decide to eat at McDonald's am I not discriminating against Burger King?
    The words decide and discriminate have a common Latin root. There is no decision that can be made without discriminating. Every decision has winners and losers, especially if they involve money.

    If discrimination is outlawed you also prohibit freedom.
    The only difference between a dictatorship and freedom is "who makes the decision". That's it!

    Every place where the government has outlawed discrimination the government now makes the decisions.

    We either have freedom of choice or we don't.

    Give me liberty or give me death!

  • Furry1993 Somewhere in Utah, UT
    April 13, 2011 11:37 a.m.

    These clubs have every right to establish themselves according to the rules they wish to have. However, if they are exclusionary in nature, they do NOT have the right to get public support. If they want to exclude, they should support themselves.

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    April 13, 2011 12:41 p.m.

    raybies | 11:04 a.m. April 13, 2011
    Layton, UT
    I can't imagine why it should matter if belief is part of a club's membership regulations.

    Clearly clubs should have the ability to set certain membership rules. Those that cannot abide by the rules should not be allowed membership or leadership... otherwise abolish all clubs and for that matter all parties and all social gatherings because anywhere there's a school sanctioned gathering, there are gonna be some groundrules set for those that gather...
    -----------
    No problem. Just do it on your own nickle and not that of the taxpayer.

  • ouisc Farmington, UT
    April 13, 2011 3:04 p.m.

    Exactly, if you want to make your own club with your own rules, then meet off campus on your own dime. Campus clubs need to be open to any and all.

    Those who think Christian clubs are being discriminated against really don't understand discrimination.

  • Michael De Groote
    April 13, 2011 3:27 p.m.

    Here is a quote by BYU law professor Brett Scharffs that did not make it into the story:
    Scharffs sees it as tension between two political principles: Equality and freedom. "And there are certain times when we have more of a preference for liberty and certain times when we have more of a preference for equality. We are in an equalitarian age right now. The principle of non-discrimination and the principle of equality is so ascendant that the risk that the value of liberty is eclipsed."

    He pointed out that the principle of equality (read nondiscrimination) can't, by itself, create a good society. All religions in the Gulag were treated equally, he said. It is interesting to think about why nondiscrimination seems to be the ultimate good and trumps religious freedom.

    It is very ironic that nondiscrimination policies are being used to discriminate. And the groups they are being used against the most, according to FIRE, appears to be religious groups -- particularly evangelical organizations.

    Watch for weird stuff to happen on campuses if they adopt an "all comers" policy: Democrats taking over Republican clubs. Atheists taking over religious groups. Jewish people taking over Muslim groups. etc.

  • Pagan Salt Lake City, UT
    April 13, 2011 3:29 p.m.

    'If discrimination is outlawed you also prohibit freedom.' - The Rock | 11:31 a.m.

    This logic supports slavery.

    Hypothetical situation:

    Rock, I take you, and all of your loved ones, family, friends, etc and put them to work at zero pay.

    Slavery.

    If you don't like it...

    'You outlawing my discrimination and your prohibiting my freedom!'

    You are free to make your own choices, up until they affect another person.
    Example?

    Theft
    Assault
    Murder, etc.

    Also, since WHEN is discrimination a cornerstone to modern day religion?

    i.e. a 'moral' value.

    Discrimination, has no value.

  • Maudine SLC, UT
    April 13, 2011 3:51 p.m.

    @ Michael De Groote: "Watch for weird stuff to happen on campuses if they adopt an "all comers" policy: Democrats taking over Republican clubs. Atheists taking over religious groups. Jewish people taking over Muslim groups. etc."

    Anyone who feels the need to behave in this way, probably will not have any reservations about lying to join the group and limitations on who can join a group will not prevent this. Indeed, we already see this happening with private groups and organizations - for example, there have been numerous stories of "spies" from both sides infiltrating groups on the other side of the same-sex marriage debate.

    Additionally, there are rules of behavior that groups can - and do - put into place to ensure that discussions stay on topic during meetings and that the meetings are not taken over to the extent that the purpose of the group is lost to rhetoric from the other side.

  • Kass SLC, UT
    April 13, 2011 3:58 p.m.

    @ Rock: Considering the number of times I have corrected you on this and the ease with which your claim can be proven false, I would think you would stop using that line.

    Decide and discriminate do not have a common root - they are very different words with very different meanings.

    You can try to dumb down the conversation all you want, it won't change the facts. Your refusal to accept the proper usage and meaning of decide and discriminate does not make your point right. If you have a valid point, make it. If you cannot make your point without changing the facts, than maybe there is a problem with the point you are trying to make.

    And yes, you can decide to go to McDonald's, but Burger King cannot discriminate against you.

  • mornixuur Layton, UT
    April 13, 2011 10:00 p.m.

    @The Rock, who said: "If discrimination is outlawed you also prohibit freedom."

    Discriminate with your own wallet, not mine. Non-taxpayer-subsidized clubs can discriminate all they like, so far as I'm concerned.

    Imagine your tax dollars going to a Baptist group which hates Mormons.
    Imagine them going to a Communist club.
    Imagine them going to a Muslim group which only wants members who advocate changing our system to Sharia law.
    Imagine them going to a homosexual group which desires to legalize same-sex relations between adults and teens.

    I imagine some people who, like you, advocate the freedom to pick and choose clubs' memberships, might be taken a little aback if you suddenly found your income going to support them.

    I'm all for that freedom, contingent on the clubs supporting themselves.

  • Liberal Ted Salt Lake City, UT
    April 14, 2011 7:34 a.m.

    Interesting that an enlightened college or university would turn down religious clubs, based on rules and laws that are suppose to protect people from being discrimnated against.

    I thought religion is one of the protected groups under federal law. Since the LGBT community is allowed to have clubs on campus, why can't religious people?

    Sounds like more the same, discriminate against those of faith, while protecting groups that fit in the upper echelons thought processes.

    Has anyone else noticed, the "smarter" and more "enlightened" our leaders and this country gets, the worst things have gotten?

    Maybe we're not on the correct path.....have they ever consider that?

    Now I'll get attacked for not marching rank and file with the "elite" class.

  • charlie91342 Sylmar, CA
    April 14, 2011 11:00 a.m.

    re - Michael De Groote | 3:27 p.m - Deseret News

    "Scharffs sees it as tension between two political principles: Equality and freedom"

    everyone is free to have whatever club they want. So freedom is NOT eing limited. But if you want to use school funds (read as public funds) then you have to accept everyone.

    it is the same principle as churches not receiving public funds in order to restrict membership.

    "Democrats taking over Republican clubs. Atheists taking over religious groups. Jewish people taking over Muslim groups. etc."

    taking over? really? they might cause trouble, but there are solutions to that. me thinks you protest too much...

    If I was a student that paid student fees, I would not want my fees to be used by anyone that was denying membership based on their personal feelings (in addition to the regular race, sex, disabilities, etc discriminators). And that is what we are talking about - preventing membership based on personal feelings. It shouldn't be allowed. Not with public or general student funds anyway.

    we will have to agree to disagree, sir.

  • charlie91342 Sylmar, CA
    April 14, 2011 11:10 a.m.

    re - The Rock | 11:31 a.m

    "When I decide to eat at McDonald's am I not discriminating against Burger King?"

    yes, you are. And you are free to "discriminate" against whatever and whoever you want. But only for you!!

    But can Burger King discriminate against you? NO. No one is forcing a person to pick a certain club. But the club cannot pick the members.

    do you now understand you ar drawing the wrong conclusion from your analogy?

    re - Liberal Ted | 7:34 a.m.
    "Interesting that an enlightened college or university would turn down religious clubs, based on rules and laws that are suppose to protect people from being discrimnated against"

    the university didn't say they couldn't have the club. They said that if the club wanted to use university facilities or wanted a share of student dues (paid by all students) then they had to let all students participate.

    "I thought religion is one of the protected groups under federal law. Since the LGBT community is allowed to have clubs on campus, why can't religious people?"

    anyone can be in the LGBT club. can anyone join your religious club? didn't think so.

  • Brother Don Chandler, AZ
    April 20, 2011 12:23 p.m.

    What is the meaning of "fair?" Well, one thing I promise you is that "fair" is not the same thing as equality. And what of this "serving the greater good?" Does this mean a compromise or does it just mean ideology at all costs?

    "If only we could all see that we hold a cup of any size. And...that cup of any size will be full only when we believe it is full."
    Don 2011