Leadership from the “other faiths/non-faiths” category

Illustration+by+Daniel+Schade%2F+Contributor+
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Leadership from the “other faiths/non-faiths” category

Illustration by Daniel Schade/ Contributor

Illustration by Daniel Schade/ Contributor

Illustration by Daniel Schade/ Contributor

Illustration by Daniel Schade/ Contributor

Kyle Hufnagel

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Illustration by Daniel Schade/ Contributor

Illustration by Daniel Schade/ Contributor

I’m appalled to think that after all the bells and whistles humanity has crafted for itself, we’re still hell-bent on exercising our primitive urge to draw lines in the sand.

When Dr. Timothy White, chancellor of the California State University, suspended the InterVarsity Christian Club’s local chapter at California State University Northridge, for one year he made a strong stance on what criteria religious clubs must adhere to if they seek university recognition and funding.

As stated by the club’s description on the Matador Involvement Center’s website:

“InterVarsity Matador Christian Fellowship is an organization of students, staff, and faculty who are seeking to discover and follow Jesus as Savior and Lord: growing in love for God, God’s Word, God’s people of every ethnicity and culture, and God’s purposes in the world.”

While this mission statement proclaims it as an organization for individuals who are “seeking to discover and follow Jesus,” the meaning can be subject to interpretation.

It would seem to suggest that those who want to participate can, and are encouraged to come from diverse backgrounds. Yet to take on any leadership role within the organization, one must be of the same ilk.

While CSUN is home to over 300 clubs and organizations, clubs that operate as a religious group have to play by the same rules as any other campus funded/recognized guild would.

This means that regardless of the organization’s ground rules or beliefs, the entire student body must be eligible to participate or lead that group.

However, White does not stand alone in this decision. The remaining 22 CSU campuses around the state ruled to exclude the evangelical Christian body for violating the nondiscrimination policy. This is an important start, considering the CSU system is the largest four-year public university system in the country, overseeing nearly 447,00 students and 45,000 faculty and staff.

While these type of strict guidelines are embedded in most religions, it has no place being supported by a state-funded university. As unfortunate as it may be to exclude this club, it’s a classic case of what comes around goes around.

While it is difficult to imagine a religious club not headed by an individual that believes that specific creed, the university has strict guidelines prohibiting any clubs from shutting their door to an outsider. This is due to a finite clause of inclusivity that is required by all CSU recognized organizations, something that shouldn’t be, nor cannot be, compromised.

Although these verses are thousands of years old, one doesn’t have to be an ordained minister to share their meaning and promote spirituality. Nor do they need to be baptized to teach the lessons that this scripture is conveying.

I’m no math professor, but I can still teach the basics of mathematics to children adamant about learning. Nor am I a Le Cordon Bleu chef, but I can still make a pretty damn good mac and cheese. So let’s just throttle back here a bit, InterVarsity. You aren’t the only pony in the corral.

Maybe you should take a page out of another CSUN religious organization, the Rohr Chabad House. They’re adamant about being open to everyone who wishes to join, even those who aren’t of the Jewish faith.

While they are still a religious organization, they’re still operating within the constructs that the CSU system and CSUN have created, seemingly making the best out of whatever situation they find themselves in.

We’ll still have the doom-and-gloom Christian picketers around campus interrupting our pre-lecture playlists telling us how wrong we’ve been living our lives, so I doubt anyone will notice you’re gone, InterVarsity Fellowship.

Time and time again we’ve proven to be a species that thrives on the “us versus them” mentality to gratify whatever bogus segregations we deem appropriate –– and no institution embodies that mentality more than religious organizations.

I think it’s about time we’ve reinforced the wall of separation between church and state here on our campus. If you feel better drawing your lines in the sand, do go on, you’re making a pretty lumpy circle.