The University of North Carolina-Greensboro has ordered a Christian club to allow non-Christians as leaders and members, according to a federal lawsuit filed Wednesday.
“The university has given itself the authority to determine whether a group is religious or not,” said Jeremy Tedesco, an attorney with the Alliance Defense Fund.
Tedesco filed suit on behalf of “Make Up Your Own Mind,” a Christian club that was denied an exemption from the university’s nondiscrimination policy.
UNC-Greensboro’s nondiscrimination policy includes an exemption for student organizations that select their members based on a shared set of beliefs.
Tedesco said “Make Up Your Own Mind” has a clear religious mission and purpose and requires its members and leaders to agree with its statement of faith and beliefs about the value of innocent human life.
“Saying that a Christian club isn’t religious is flatly absurd, especially when the university has granted its belief-based exception to numerous other clubs,” he said. “The First Amendment forbids the government from determining what is and what is not ‘religious,’ yet the university is doing exactly this by telling a Christian group that it is not religious.”
However, the university contends that the club is not affiliated with a church – and therefore doesn’t meet their criteria for exemption.
A university spokesperson told Fox News they had not seen the lawsuit and would not comment.
“It’s not discrimination for a religious group to say we want to be led by people who agree with our religion,” Tedesco said.
He said religious groups are getting excluded under non-discrimination policies.
“What we are seeing on public university campuses is religious groups routinely getting denied recognition,” he said. “They are denied access to a speech forum that is opened to all other student organizations on campus.”
The university, Tedesco said, must be stopped.
“We should get very nervous when the government decides it has the authority to determine what is and what isn’t religious,” he said. “That’s a dangerous concept.