Vanderbilt University, who enacted policies aimed at removing Christian student groups from their campus and announced their intention to show other colleges how to remove Christians, is facing action from the Tennessee legislature who seek to preserve religious freedom.
Senator Mae Beavers and Representative Mark Pody are proposing a bill that would require Vanderbilt University either respect the religious rights of Christian students or be forced to give up all state funding and their state-supported police force.
The university, which claims to be a “private” institution, actually receives millions of dollars from the state; meaning that taxpayers have been funding the anti-Christian campaign being conducted by Vanderbilt officials. Also, the University’s police force has been given all the powers of a state police force including arrest powers. This means the University can persecute Christian students that choose to defy the ban on Christian groups with arrest. The bill would require Vanderbilt to give up both the police force and state funding if they wish to continue to deny Christians their religious rights.
Vanderbilt, who has compared Christian students to segregationists, has imposed their regulations on Christian groups while giving exemptions to fraternities and sororities on campus regarding non-discrimination laws. That means while a Christian group would have to allow a Muslim to be their leader or to join, a fraternity can turn down any person for any reason.
The legislature last year passed a bill requiring that Vanderbilt recognize a student’s rights to religious freedom and association but Republican governor Bill Haslam vetoed the bill.