Monday, August 20, 2007

Lunacy in the UK

From the Telegraph:
A Christian student society is going to the High Court to overturn a ruling requiring it to admit non-Christians.
The Christian Union at Exeter said the ruling by an independent adjudicator would mean Muslims or atheists could become its leaders.
Lord Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, is backing the organisation.
His successor, Dr Rowan Williams, has criticised the "suppression" of Christian groups on campuses.
The 350-strong Union was told by the Students' Guild, which regulates student bodies, last year that it may lose its status unless it drops its requirement for members to declare their faith in Jesus because it meant the society was closed to many students.

The University appointed Mark Shaw QC to produce an independent adjudication.
In his ruling earlier this month, he criticised the union for restricting its membership to Christians, even though its meetings are open to all.
Lord Carey said: "This ruling opens the way for a Muslim to head up an Anglican Society or a member of the BNP to chair the Labour club.
The National Union of Students said: "Students' unions have a duty to provide a safe and inclusive environment for all communities.
"As a result, they continually take steps to ensure that their own equal opportunities policies are adhered to."


Anonymous said...

O tempora, o mores!

Would pulling the old "religious discrimination" complaint work for the Christians in the UK? It might at a US college, if we argued it well.

Boeciana said...

Edinburgh University had a similar issue when the CU wanted to do a course thing on 'the CHristian view of sex and relationships' which caused a big hoo-hah owing to 'homophobia'; the Students Union forbade the course to berun on its premises, then so did the University, then the University fortunately changed its mind (how much this was as a result of the threat of legal action is unclear!). I just don't get it. Who wants to be on the committee of a society whose values they do not share?

Edinburgh Univ Students Assoc insists that all societies include an anti-discrimination clause in their constitution. Amusingly, however, it runs (or did as of a couple of years ago) somethinglike, 'The X Society concurs with EUSA in thinking that discrimination on the basis of a, b, c, d, and any other irrelevant factor is unacceptable and detrimental to the life of the University and society as a whole.' Which, as far as I can tell, leaves the society entirely free to discriminate relevantly on the basis of relevant factors! (I hasten to add that I use 'discriminate' in a neutral sense of 'treat different things differently'.)