In the News
State Congressional Republicans send letter to colleges, universities seeking support for religious freedom
Feb 06 2015
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Eight Members of the South Carolina Congressional delegation sent an open letter to the 64 colleges and universities in the state, asking them to stand up for the First Amendment religious freedoms of students and student groups on campus.
The letter specifically mentioned recent action by the California State University system which discriminated against Christian students by banning the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship group from that system’s 18 campuses. The letter urges college presidents to allow religious organizations to remain as fully recognized campus organizations and to make that freedom clear within university administrative policy.
“I believe that Americans must stand up for the freedoms contained in the Bill of Rights,” said Congressman Jeff Duncan (SC-03), who organized the letter. “Every student deserves to be able to worship and pursue God freely, as he or she chooses, without administrative interference in the name of political correctness. I’m proud to stand with my fellow South Carolinians today for the First Amendment Freedoms of religion and association for every college student in our state.”
“As Americans we pride ourselves on the freedoms we are afforded by our nation’s Constitution,” said Congressman Tom Rice (SC-07). “We are guaranteed freedom of the press, freedom of speech, and freedom of religion. Sadly, each of these are notably absent in countries around the world, which is why we must remain vigilant in our fight to protect our freedoms. I will always support religious freedom in everyday life—the workplace, classroom, and the public square.”
“The First Amendment to our U.S. Constitution ensures the right to freedom of religion and assembly, and our universities have a duty to uphold students’ rights” added Congressman Joe Wilson (SC-02). “Protecting Americans’ rights throughout our nation is essential, and it is my hope that opportunities for the exchange of ideas, opinions, and values remain flourishing and widespread at institutions of higher learning.”
Other signers included Senators Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott, along with Congressmen Mark Sanford, Trey Gowdy, and Mick Mulvaney.
Dr. Tony Beam, Vice President for Student Services and Christian Worldview at North Greenville University was quick to respond.
“Freedom of religion and freedom of association are cherished by all Americans,” Dr. Beam noted. “As a follower of Jesus Christ, I am thankful that I live in state where our elected leaders understand these freedoms and are aware of the growing attacks against them in many academic environments. My sincere thanks goes out to all the leaders who signed this letter but especially to Rep. Jeff Duncan for his tireless, consistent leadership in championing religious freedom for all South Carolinians.”