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03/01/2012 United States (Charisma News) – The University of North Carolina-Greensboro (UNCG) is saying a Christian student club isn’t religious—and because it’s not religious, the “Make Up Your Own Mind” club must allow students from other religious and belief systems to become members and leaders in order to get formal group recognition from the university.
That move led to a federal lawsuit against UNCG. Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) attorneys representing the club filed suit on Wednesday.
“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,” says ADF Legal Counsel Jeremy Tedesco. “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. The Constitution protects the right of all student groups to employ belief-based criteria in selecting their members and leaders.”

The university argued that the club is “not affiliated with a church but rather a local nonprofit organization.” However, being affiliated with a church is not a requirement for qualifying as a religious organization. In addition, the university recognizes many other religious organizations that are not affiliated with a church.
After the university thwarted the club’s efforts to obtain recognition for months, the club resubmitted its request. The club even pointed out the many statements in its constitution showing that it is a religious group. Despite this, the university failed to act on the new request, prompting the club to file suit in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina.

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