Thursday, November 23, 2006

Bishops jump on a bandwagon

In the latest development in the row about Christian Unions at universities, a group of bishops have signed a letter calling the Christian Unions to be reinstated.

I suspect that some of the bishops have not done their research on this. They might have taken into account the following comments from a student at Exter:

I find it incredibly saddening that the Catholic Church has opted for a quick 'PR' win, commenting on an issue that it hasn't bothered to research.

Had the Roman Catholic church's lead bishop on higher education spoken to the Student Catholic Society at Exeter (and many other of the other denominational societies) he would have learnt of thriving Christian societies on campus at Exeter, working together with other religions in a spirit of unity and peace.

Instead it has jumped on the growing media band wagon claiming that Christians are being ruthlessly suppressed.

How very ironic that on the day that murmurings from the Vatican suggest that the Roman Catholic church will take a more liberal view of contraception, Bishops in England clamour to defend a evangelical view of Christianity that even moderate Christians would find offensive.

Posted by alaindesmier on November 23, 2006 10:22 AM.
I've seen similar comments in various discussion forums, including a messageboard of Exeter students that has linked to this very blog (thanks for the link peeps). But all too many are jumping on a bandwagon and seeing persecution where there is none.

Perhaps all the people talking about the law can explain why Christian Unions should be exempt from Section 22-2-i (I don't know the formal way to cite laws) of the 1994 Education Act:

(i) the procedure for allocating resources to groups or clubs should be fair and should be set down in writing and freely accessible to all students;
How is it fair to require other societies to be open to all students and democratically run but give exemption to Christian Unions?

Or for that matter, why do many Christian Unions require people to sign a statement of beliefs to join? Since when has a Christian Union Membership Secretary been needed to judge an individual's personal relationship with God?


cim said...

The possible challenge would presumably be on the grounds that it is either unfair within the meaning of the 1994 Act, or illegal under other legislation, to require any student society to hold democratic elections, or to be open to all SU members, etc. in the same way that a requirement that all societies have 25% of their membership over 6' tall would be unfair even if applied consistently.

I can't see that working, though, if the requirements for the SUs in question are anything like the standard ones.

Paul Leake said...

I was assuming that the challenge with the greatest chance of success would be on the grounds of the Eduction (No 2) Act 1986 and requirements of enforcing free speech within the law on university property. Probably wouldn't affect the Exeter or B'ham case but UCCF report that Edinburgh SU were banned from carrying out their sessions on sexuality on campus because of its content.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...