“I have the right to silence you, because I have a right not to be offended.”
That absurd idea is taken for granted at most public universities—and it’s what many students are up against when they try to share a Christian belief or conservative view on campus.
Just ask Amelia, Brian, Ellie, and Chike.
The fall semester was just underway when Amelia Irvine wrote an article for the Georgetown University student newspaper, hoping to draw freshmen to her club dedicated to sexual integrity and healthy relationships.
Despite the campus hookup culture, she knew there were students who shared her view that sex should be saved for marriage. She wanted them to feel less alone in their beliefs. Her article, “Confessions of a College Virgin,” appeared in the paper a week later—and quickly ignited a storm on campus.
LGBTQ student activists didn’t like the article’s defense of traditional marriage and demanded the university derecognize the club. Amelia contacted ADF when she learned there would be a formal hearing on whether to strip the group of its official recognition.
Brian Blevins was a new Christian when he started college and found support for his growing faith in Ratio Christi, a Christian apologetics group. This was vital, he says, in a campus environment “where you’re surrounded by a culture that says what you believe is nonsense.”
But the group struggled to draw new members because it had been unable to obtain registered status from the university. As a result, the group couldn’t meet on campus or advertise its meetings. The university refused to register Ratio Christi as an official club, because the group requires its leaders to be professing Christians.
The group spent three years battling that requirement with the help of ADF
As they did every year, Ellie Wittman’s pro-life group requested permission to set up its Cemetery of the Innocents display on her university campus. The Cemetery, an arrangement of small white crosses, symbolized lives lost to abortion.
Each year, the display was vandalized. But this year it was university administrators who resisted its pro-life message. Calling the Cemetery “polarizing,” they told Ellie her group would have to post warning signs around campus to alert students to the content of the display.
Ellie initially thought about complying with the requirement. But she knew these “trigger warnings” would prevent many people—especially those her group most wanted to reach—from viewing the Cemetery. She decided to forego the display that year and fight the unconstitutional policy instead.
College officials silenced Chike Uzuegbunam twice when he tried to share his Christian faith in a public area on his Georgia campus.
The first time, he was told that he needed to be in a campus speech zone. But when he tried again—within a speech zone—campus police officers shut him down, telling him that someone had complained.
Chike thought about the loud, pulsing music that often reverberated from the courtyard across the campus, the words decidedly unwholesome. This was allowed, he realized, while his calm and civil presentation of the Gospel was not.
ADF came to Chike’s defense, and his case is now before the U.S. Supreme Court.
You can read more about these four students and their courageous stand for campus free speech in the latest edition of Faith & Justice magazine.
Also in this issue:
- How transgender policies are threatening the future of women’s sports
- A Nevada church faces tight COVID-19 restrictions while crowds gather in casinos
- Why cancel culture is harmful for all Americans
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