John Stonestreet and Roberto Rivera on University of Iowa Learns a Lesson in Religious Freedom

School mascot Herky the Hawk stands in front of the Old Capitol Museum at the University of Iowa, in Iowa City, Iowa, U.S. May 22, 2016. | (Photo: REUTERS/Koh Gui Qing)

Back in February, federal judge Stephanie M. Rose ruled that the University of Iowa could not strip recognition from Business Leaders in Christ for requiring leaders to follow traditional Christian teaching on sexual morality.

Rose, an appointee of President Obama, didn’t find a problem with the university’s “Human Rights Policy,” which the university claimed the Christian group violated. But she did think it a problem that the university applied the policy inconsistently, in a way that violated students’ free-speech rights.

Did the University of Iowa learn their lesson? Ummm… no. Last week, university officials found themselves back in Rose’s courtroom. Despite the very clear ruling from February, university officials de-registered InterVarsity Christian Fellowship in June, for the same reason.

I’m not sure what the university expected, but in the last seven months Judge Rose had not changed her opinion about what the Constitution requires.

In fact, this time she let them have it. Since the February ruling, she wrote in her opinion, university officials “proceeded to broaden enforcement of the Human Rights Policy in the name of uniformity applying extra scrutiny to religious groups in the process — while at the same time continuing to allow some groups to operate in violation of the policy and formalizing an exemption for fraternities and sororities. The court does not know how a reasonable person could have concluded this was acceptable.”

Back in her February ruling, Rose pointed out how “the Chinese Students and Scholars Association limits membership to Chinese students, and the Iowa Hawkapellas, an a capella group, only accepts women.” Yet neither of these groups were de-recognized for violating the Human Rights Policy.

Nor were fraternities and sororities or LGBTQ student groups required to open their leadership policies. Just about the only groups the policy applied to, according to university officials, were Christian groups that uphold traditional Christian teaching about sexuality.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, John Stonestreet and Roberto Rivera