A Win For Religious Tolerance at the University of Iowa

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Friday, March 15, 2019


Faculty and students of the University of Iowa love to protest, showing up in swarming herds to voice opinions about the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh, border security, and even the location of armrests on public benches. But these same protesters were nowhere to be found when their own religious liberties came under fire, as the university vilified a Christian organization for not fitting diversity standards.

Last month, a federal district court ruled against the university, saying that it had no right to require Business Leaders in Christ– a student organization– to allow LGBTQ individuals to lead the group.

When Business Leaders in Christ wished to have its leaders be supporters of traditional marriage and conservative Christian values, the university was not there to defend the religious liberty of its own students. The university also went to court to defend social justice against the perils of organized religion.

The problem is that the university promotes similar discrimination in membership for other student organizations. Iowa allowed Asian student groups to require– get this– its leaders to be of Asian descent. It permits ethnic groups to discriminate in order to have its leaders reflect the groups’ values, but it does not allow Business Leaders in Christ that same right.

In a statement defending its actions, the University of Iowa claimed that student organizations can discriminate in this way “for reasons which support the University’s educational mission.” This exclusivity allows organizations to create “safe spaces” for students who “have been historically the victims of discrimination.”

The university has waged a war on religion in the name of social justice, and the apathy of its community speaks volumes. The true point and objective of the University of Iowa is seen in institutions across the country: religion has no place in academia.

What better way to see this than through the lens of anti-Semitism in higher education. It’s actually pretty non-controversial to hold anti-Israeli or anti-Semitic views on college campuses. But why?

It’s more culturally acceptable to support diverse ethnicities than it is to support diverse religions. The left– and universities– deem Israeli encroachment on Palestine an assault on social justice. Thus, organized religion may be attacked at the hands of diversity. It may seem archaic, but Jewish students at the University of Michigan have been subject to anti-Semitic behavior, with one speaker at a mandatory event even comparing Benjamin Netanyahu to Adolf Hitler as recently as last year.

These anti-Israeli sentiments plague the minds of the students. This isn’t a broad generality, either. Take last year, for instance, when the student government at Barnard College overwhelmingly passed a resolution to encourage the school to divest from companies that have ties to Israel.

Colleges promote this closed-mindedness when they attack religious organizations, just like the University of Iowa has done.

What is even scarier, though, is higher education’s stranglehold on culture, and how that affects religious discussions in general. For this reason, it’s not culturally acceptable to be in a group that advocates for traditional marriage and conservative values.

Business Leaders in Christ is back on campus, but don’t be mistaken, the organization is not welcome. The university has alienated the group members and, by extension, the very crux of the group’s religious values. This should be called out for what it is: religious intolerance.

Peter Mills is a sophomore at the University of Iowa, where is pursuing degrees in finance and journalism. He is also is involved in the school’s marching band and writes for the student newspaper. He is also a fan of baseball and Pearl Jam.

The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.


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About Peter Mills

University of Iowa

Peter Mills is a sophomore at the University of Iowa, where is pursuing degrees in finance and journalism. He is also is involved in the school’s marching band and writes for the student newspaper. He is also a fan of baseball and Pearl Jam.

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