Commonwealth Policy Center

Can Christian student groups require their leaders to uphold Christian doctrine? The answer is obviously yes. Yet, the University of Iowa deregistered two Christian groups for requiring leaders to sign a statement of faith. Thankfully, a federal appeals court ruled that the First Amendment rights of the groups were violated. The judge said he was “hard-pressed to find a clearer example of viewpoint discrimination.” Religious groups should have religious leaders guiding them on their mission, just as fraternities choose their representatives. The groups’ General Counsel said that “the school officials here punished opinions they didn’t like and promoted ones they did – all while using taxpayer dollars to do it.” This was a victory for the First Amendment, and it’s also a lesson to public universities that the First Amendment applies to Christian student groups as well.