Court Rules Illinois School Must Reinstate Christian Group

CHICAGO- An appeals court has ordered Southern Illinois University (SIU) to recognize a Christian student group that SIU officials believe violate the school’s affirmative action and nondiscrimination policies.

In 2005, SIU revoked the Christian Legal Society’s registered status because of the society’s requirement that members adhere to basic Christian beliefs. This meant the group could not use SIU’s facilities or name and was ineligible for school funding.

The group sued the university, saying SIU violated its First Amendment rights to free speech and free exercise of religion.

According to the Associated Press, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals decided the university “failed to identify which federal or state law it believes [the Christian Legal Society] violated,” and granted the victory to the Christian group. It was also determined the society’s requirement that members abstain from extramarital sex was not discriminatory.

The Christian Legal Society, which has more than 1,100 chapters throughout the nation, was represented by Attorney Brian Fahling of the American Family Association Center for Law & Policy.

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