An evangelical group at Bowdoin College will no longer be recognized by the university, after 40 years of gathering for Bible study, prayer and worship. The Bowdoin Christian Fellowship has lost its privileges to be acknowledged by the college for the group’s refusal to adhere to the school’s anti-discrimination policy.
According to the policy, any student, regardless of religious affiliation, should be permitted to run for election as leader of a group. But the Bowdoin Christian Fellowship believes that only students who adhere to Christian values should be allowed to lead reports the New York Times.
“It would compromise our ability to be who we are as Christians if we can’t hold our leaders to some sort of doctrinal standard,” said former Bowdoin Christian Fellowship leader Zackary Suhr.
The group currently has 25 regular members. They plan to continue to meet informally in the fall, though the organization no longer will have access to certain buildings on campus; advisers have already had their keys revoked.
Students expressed their disappointment with the college’s decision. “It’s hard socially to find people on this campus who make faith a strong part of their identity -- people who really understand me and who I can really be open with. This group has been a tremendous resource for me.” said former leader Reid Wilson.
Rev. Robert Ives, the director of religious and spiritual life at Bowdoin College said, “I want them on campus, because it’s a sanctuary for many of our conservative evangelical students -- Bowdoin has accepted these students, and they need a place, and they need to have their faith challenged. But every organization has to be open to every student, and every position of leadership has to be open to any individual, without discrimination.”
Publication date: June 10, 2014