Beta Upsilon Chi
Posted: 13 December 2006 02:57 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Here’s an interesting item: http://www.ajc.com/metro/content/metro/stories/2006/12/08/1208metfrat.html
It seems that there’s a Christian fraternity, Beta Upsilon Chi, which stands for "Brothers Under Christ" (and I will bite my tongue rather than speculate on what that means).  But it had to sue to get recognition at the University of Georgia because of its policy (the fraternity’s policy) of not allowing non-Christians to join.  Apparently the university backed down.

So let me see if I have this straight—when a fraternity discriminates against non-Christians, it’s okay, but when the the university refuses to recognize the fraternity because of its discrimination, it is wrong?  In other words, religious freedom includes the right to discriminate against the non-religious?

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Posted: 13 December 2006 03:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Hmmm ... this is troubling. I have a few questions though. First of all, the story makes clear that the universities allow same-sex clubs. So given that they allow discrimination for other purposes, allowing it for religious clubs doesn’t seem so hypocritical. Secondly, what is involved in the university “recognizing” these clubs? Does the university have to finance them? Thirdly, almost all universities I know do support religious organizations on campus—like churches, synagogues, Jewish groups, et cetera. So how is this different?

Clearly, if these universities want to have totally non-discriminatory policies, they would have to eliminate all funding for such organizations.

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Posted: 15 December 2006 03:04 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Good questions, Doug.  Wish I knew the answers.

I first learned about this from an editorial in my conservative local newspaper, which touted this as a “win for religious freedom” (although, typicallly, the actual news article about it was buried back on nearly the last page of the paper, almost as if they were afraid that people might learn the actual facts).  The editorial had this comparison to make about UGA’s policy: “Would the University of Georgia require a stiudent thespian group to admit members who were actually opposed to staging plays?  Of course not.  That’s just silly.”

The thing is, if someone were opposed to staging plays, why would he want to join a thespian society in the first place?  But it is not difficult to imagine a student who might not be an actor himself still wanting to join in support of the theater.  That’s probably much closer to the real situation.  Why is that silly?  What we have here is the usual conservative Christian’s idea that, if you’re not a Christian, you must be violently opposed to Christianity.  They must be imagining some scenario where dozens of militant atheists try to “infiltrate” the fraternity for some nefarious purpose!

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Posted: 15 December 2006 03:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Well, I would not call it a “win for religious freedom”. I mean, they already had all the freedom in the world to worship how they wanted, and to associate with like-minded individuals. What they got was a “win for exclusionary sectarianism”.

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Posted: 18 December 2006 03:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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I Googled Beta Upsilon Chi and found out that it was a pretty wide-spread frat, with chapters in many universities which don’t have a problem with it.  Apparently the UGA has a policy against discrimination.  But if frats are really private clubs (like the Boy Scouts) and therefore free to do as they like as long as they don’t get government funds, I don’t see the problem either.  I guess the editorial writer was just making a big todo about nothing very important.

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