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U of Iowa Booted a Dozen Religious Groups from Campus, Now a Huge Faith and Freedom Fight Is Underway


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A Christian organization is in a court battle with the University of Iowa and is seeking permanent equal treatment for all organizations on campus.

Intervarsity Christian Fellowship is being represented by The Becket Fund, a non-profit law firm that specializes in religious liberty cases. 

Becket says, "The University of Iowa admitted in court that it discriminates against religious student groups."

That prompted Intervarsity to ask a federal court Thursday to permanently mandate equal treatment for every campus organization.

The law firm goes on to say that this case came about after the university banned more than a dozen student religious groups last summer for asking their leaders to adhere to the faith of the organizations.

As CBN News reported in July, the university asked student groups to include a  human rights clause in their governing documents. The human rights clause is a non-discrimination policy that requires clubs to allow any student, no matter their beliefs, to become a club leader. 

If the organization failed to adopt the policy, the university "deregistered" them which means they're no longer able to operate as an official campus organization and utilize privileges like meeting space and access to campus activity fairs to recruit students. 

Becket says other religious groups not allowed on campus included the Sikh Awareness Club, Chinese Student Christian Fellowship, Imam Mahdi Organization, and the Latter-Day Saint Student Association.

After Intervarsity filed a lawsuit, Becket says all faith groups were temporarily reinstated, but the University of Iowa, according to the law firm, "continues to resist a permanent fix and insist that it can treat religious groups different from other groups."

Intervarsity Christian Fellowship has been on the University of Iowa campus for more than 25 years.

The director of external relations at Intervarsity Christian Fellowship/USA, Greg Jao, issued a statement, saying, "Intervarsity seeks to serve the University of Iowa, its students and faculty, and the local community. We invite the university to embrace a common-sense understanding of its non-discrimination policy. The policy should protect, rather than penalize, religious groups that seek to retain their religious identity on campus." 

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About The Author


Emily Jones is a multi-media journalist for CBN News in Jerusalem. Before she moved to the Middle East in 2019, she spent years regularly traveling to the region to study the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, meet with government officials, and raise awareness about Christian persecution. During her college years, Emily served as president of Regent University's Christians United for Israel chapter and spoke alongside world leaders at numerous conferences and events. She is an active member of the Philos Project, an organization that seeks to promote positive Christian engagement with the Middle