SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. — California State University, San Bernardino, has
refused to allow a Christian group to organize on campus, saying it would
discriminate against non-Christians and homosexuals.
The Christian Student Association's proposed constitution included a
statement on sexual morality and required members and officers to be
State law prevents student groups at public universities from excluding
people based on religion or sexual orientation.
"We are not permitted to charter them under Title V," said Christine Hansen,
director of student leadership and development in the office of Student Affairs.
She was referring to a section of the state education code.
Ryan Sorba, who tried to form the association, accused the university of
discriminating against Christians.
"This is about whether or not the First Amendment is allowed to exist at Cal
State San Bernardino and whether or not Christians are allowed to exist," said
Sorba, 23, yesterday.
Similar controversies are playing out on other California campuses.
A group called the Alliance Defense Fund filed a lawsuit last month against
the California State University campuses in Long Beach and San Diego, alleging
that Cal State's systemwide policy forces students to abandon their Christian
beliefs if they want benefits that other organizations receive.
Chartered student groups are eligible for money from student fees and can
invite speakers to campus, post fliers and use university rooms for
Several Christian organizations began campaigning yesterday to force the
university to approve Sorba's club.
"This is political correctness gone amok. There is no way we are going to let
this thing pass," said the Rev. Louis Sheldon, chairman and founder of the
Traditional Values Coalition in Washington, D.C.
Sorba, who is also president of the College Republicans, has generated
controversy in the past by using the College Republicans' name on anti-gay signs
and coordinating an affirmative-action bake sale at which minorities were
offered snacks at reduced prices.
In a separate dispute, evangelical high schools are suing the University of
California for refusing to recognize Christian-themed courses.