First things first: I made a major error the other day in my post about a Religion News Service report about an Iowa judge’s ruling in a legal clash between InterVarsity Christian Fellowship and leaders at the University of Iowa.
This wasn’t a typo or a misspelling.
My main point in the post was wrong and I want to correct that and also thank the experts at BecketLaw.org for alerting me to my mistake.
Here is the top of the original RNS report. This is long, but essential. After that, I’ll show the section of the RNS story that led to my error:
(RNS) — Yes, a Christian student group can require its leaders to be Christian.
That’s the decision a judge reached last week in InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/USA v. the University of Iowa, a lawsuit the evangelical Christian campus ministry brought against the university and several of its leaders after the school booted InterVarsity and other religiously affiliated student groups for requiring their leaders to share their faiths.
Those groups also included Muslims, Sikhs and Latter-day Saints, according to a statement from InterVarsity.
“We must have leaders who share our faith,” InterVarsity Director of External Relations Greg Jao said in the written statement. “No group — religious or secular — could survive with leaders who reject its values. We’re grateful the court has stopped the University’s religious discrimination, and we look forward to continuing our ministry on campus for years to come.”
At least three University of Iowa leaders are being held personally accountable to cover the costs of any damages awarded later to InterVarsity, according to U.S. District Judge Stephanie M. Rose’s Friday (Sept. 27) ruling, provided by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which represented InterVarsity.
A paragraph later there was this:
Rose’s decision comes on the heels of a ruling she made earlier this year in a similar case involving the university and a student group called Business Leaders in Christ. Because she felt university leaders should have understood after that case how to treat the groups fairly, the judge is holding them personally accountable. …
The lawsuit came in August 2018 after the University of Iowa claimed InterVarsity was violating the university’s human rights policy by requiring leaders to affirm the organization’s statement of faith. That policy prohibits discrimination based on race, creed, color, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or other attributes.
Here’s where I erred. I thought, when I read this section of the RNS story, that the two decisions pivoted on the same section of that University of Iowa policy.