A series of student unions have sought to regulate, restrict or simply ban what were previously recognised as official societies that practised Christianity.
Three cases have acquired prominence. Birmingham University Christian Union was banned from the list of accredited societies after it refused to amend its constitution to permit non-Christians to become executive committee members. The Exeter Univers-ity Christian Union has been ordered by its student union to rename itself the Evangelical Christian Union and has been suspended until it complies. At Edinburgh University, the Christian Union faces sanctions after it was accused of adopting a Bible-based programme on human relationships that deems homosexuality to be undesirable. These prohibitions mean that the organisations concerned are denied access to money, union facilities and a forum to publicise their activities...
Tolerance is, or rather should be, a street in which the traffic flows in two directions. Universities are establishments in which ideas are supposed to be incubated and exchanged, championed and challenged. A student union should be a forum in which that philosophical debate takes place and not a body that takes it upon itself to determine which arguments are acceptable or sufficiently “right” to be allowed an audience. A blinkered secularism is no better than theological dogmatism.
There must also be the legitimate suspicion that Christianity is regarded as a “soft target” by union activists. It is doubtful whether student bodies of other faiths would be informed that they had to accept those who did not wish to uphold their beliefs as executive committee members or have their termcards scrutinised for perceived slights against homosexuality.
The subtitle of the article? "A secular society that demands tolerance should also show tolerance."