“Daily Discrimination Do's & Don't
Ramesh C. Reddy
If a student organization is a religious
organization, should anyone be the leaders of that organization in
the name of having a non-discriminatory policy?
For example, should
a practicing atheist be in charge of a Christian student
Should a practicing
Christian be in charge of a Hindu student organization?
Should a practicing
Muslim be in charge of a Jewish student organization?
If you reaction is,
‘That’s absurd or what kind of questions are these?’, you are
right in your assessment!
A reasonable person would think that a
university’s non-discriminatory policy used against religious
student organizations is discrimination in itself!
This is because a university
discriminates a religious organizations religious freedom to choose
the leaders it deems fit to lead that organization, specifically
leaders that hold to the tenets of that organizations religious
faith, when they ban that organization from being recognized by the
A non-discriminatory policy itself
should have limits otherwise everything and anything would be
Someone can come along and say that a
child predator should not be discriminated from getting a job
working with children under 18 because that would be discriminating
against that person since we have a non-discriminatory policy.
Again a reasonable person would know
that it is absurd to hire a child predator to be in charge of
children under 18 because there are laws against that. These laws
prevent the non-discriminatory policy to be used because there are
The Civil Rights Acts of 1964 allows
exceptions. The law makes exceptions for discrimination resulting
from a bona fide occupational qualification. Such exception, however
is applicable only to discrimination based on religion, sex, or
A Bona fide occupation qualification
(BFOQ) is a qualification that leaders are allowed to consider while
making decisions regarding that organizations staffing. The
qualification should relate to an essential job duty and is
considered necessary for operation of the particular business.
A BFOQ example would be churches
requiring members of its pastoral staff to be of a certain
denomination and may lawfully bar, from employment, anyone who is
not a member.
On the outset, this is discrimination
but an exception is made because of BFOQ.
If we use the law and the same reasoning
then it would be totally appropriate to discriminate against anyone
who does not hold to the tenets and vision of the organization to
ensure the organization is run smoothly without compromise.
That said, it would be okay to
discriminate against an atheist from running a religious Christian
student organization, a Christian from running a religious Hindu
student organization, a Muslim from running a religious Jewish
organization because of a BFOQ that gives an exception to the
non-discriminatory policy as examples.
Sadly, this reasoning may not have
reached California State University (CSU)
because they have banned InterVarsity
Christian Fellowship (IVCF) chapter of CSU from being
recognized as a religious student organization because the leaders
refuse to allow non-practicing Christians to be leaders of that
organization on the basis of BFOQ.
is only reasonable to have leaders of IVCF who are practicing
Christians who can lead students in an effective Inductive Bible
Study because they know the Bible, an effective cross-cultural
ministry because they know what the Bible teaches about it, an
effective mission conference and other leadership conferences based
on biblical teaching and principles because they will know what the
Bible teaches on those topics.
How can you expect a non-practicing
Christian leader to lead an organization when their own religious
beliefs violate the observance, practice, and belief of that
Yet, this is what the CSU administration
demanded of the IVCF chapter of CSU to do! When they refused, the
CSU decertified them as a student organization based on their
This is a travesty and injustice to the
IVCF chapter of CSU but their discrimination of IVCF could lead to
further discrimination of religious organizations because they
refuse to adhere to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and its exceptions.
This is just wrong and needs to be corrected.
CSU should ‘cease and desist’ its policy
of discrimination against IVCF-CSU and recertify them as a religious
student organization instead of hiding under their
Anyone who believes what the CSU
administration has done should stand with me in speaking out against
this injustice even if you think this does not affect you because
you are a Hindu, Muslim, Jew, Buddhist, Atheist, etc.
Now CSU had targeted the religious
Christian student organization but what if another university
decides to take their example and target your religious student
organization and decertify it?
It could happen so please don’t sit idly
and ignore this issue but speak out against it in any way you can,
including sharing this article with all you know so this injustice
can be corrected.
It is important to take a stand against
this injustice that has been done to the IVCF-CSU even though we may
not have direct connections or direct involvement of what happened
there because it reminds me of what Pastor Martin Niemoller wrote:
First they came for the Socialists,
and I did not speak out—Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade
Unionists, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a Trade
Then they came for the Jews, and I
did not speak out—Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was
no one left to speak for me.
Pastor Niemoller understood the dangers
of implicit complicity to what was going around him and regretted
his own decision to stay silent.
My hope is that you would be a voice for
the recertification of IVCF-CSU even though you may not be a
practicing Christian because what if it is your student organization
that gets discriminated against next?
Reddy’s Rhetoric takes you into the world of
discrimination where a religious student organization is
discriminated against because of the universities own
non-discrimination policy and asks you to take a stand against this
He can be reached at
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