Christians on Campus

by Harry on December 13, 2006

What seems to me a very curious story about Christian groups being drummed out of the student union at Exeter University, is reported here and here. Comment from the Archbishop of Cantebury here. It seems that funding has been withheld because they require members to confirm that they are Christians. I suppose this could be reasonable — the student leaders say that they only want to fund groups that are open to anybody. But who wants to join a Christian Union other than Christians? If I remember correctly the Socialist group I belonged to at college was self-financing, but I’ve no idea whether we could have gotten access to funds if we’d wanted to. We’d certainly have resisted being open to Tories…but its not clear why they’d have joined. And the demand that they change their name because it is misleading (apparently the authorities think that “Christian Union” might mislead potential members into thinking that they are joining an ecumenical group of theists, agnostics, and atheists, whereas it seems obvious that the “Church of England Union” would be the moniker for that group) seems completely bizarre. I hereby demand that the Labour and Conservative parties change their names on the same grounds! The Christians are threatening legal action, and although my instinct is that they must surely be in the right, at least as a matter of reasonableness if not actual law, I do wonder if there is something going on here that isn’t being represented in the stories. I found the online student newspaper of the Exeter students, which is not much more illuminating (apart from the fact that it carries an interview with Noel Edmonds, which is revealing about something). Does anyone know what is going on here?