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ACLU Targets Religious Student Groups in Kansas


The American Civil Liberties Union is protesting against a bill that's meant to protect the rights of religious student groups in the state of Kansas.

The Kansas Senate has passed the bill which allows those college groups to follow their own religious standards when making key decisions. The state's House is now considering the measure.

The bill says groups should be allowed to select leaders and only allow new members that comply with their religious beliefs.

But the ACLU says those groups should not receive student funds if they turn away students who don't share their faith or follow the same religious teachings.

The funds come from student fees that all students are required to contribute.

Representatives of Christian student organizations testified Monday before the Kansas House that they should be able to set standards for belief and behavior without losing campus recognition and benefits.

Representatives of Christian student organizations Chi Alpha Student Ministries, the Christian Legal Society and Intervarsity Christian Fellowship testified that the loss of these benefits would make it difficult for such groups to continue.

Curtis Cole, Chi Alpha's administrative director, said its chapter at California State University Stanislaus had been forced off campus because it refused to include anti-discriminatory language in its group constitution. He said other chapters had received similar ultimatums.

Michael Schuttloffel, executive director of the Kansas Catholic Conference, testified that he believes some institutions selectively enforce requirements on religious groups in order to defund their activities.

"The sad truth is that universities use these policies to punish religious students whose beliefs they do not like," Schuttloffel said.

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