(Chancellor Richard McCartny explaining new non-discrimination policy to Vanderbilt University Town Hall Meeting)
MCCARTNEY: I’m Catholic. What if my faith beliefs guided all of the decisions I make from day to day? ...As a Catholic, if I held that life begins at conception, I’d have a very big problem with our hospital. Right? Would I not? . . . I would, but I don’t...
The Presbyterian Church in America's Reformed University Fellowship now stands alone in complying with Vanderbilt University's new non-discrimination policy...Vandy's newly implemented policy bars Christian campus ministries from following Biblical standards concerning sexual immorality or faith in Jesus Christ. Frats and sororities have been granted an exemption from the policy.
Initially eleven Christian campus ministries expressed their solidarity in refusing to comply. They were Asian American Christian Fellowship, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Cru, Medical Christian Fellowship, Navigators, Graduate Christian Fellowship, Bridges International, Lutheran Student Fellowship, Every Nation Ministries, Beta Upsilon Chi, and Christian Legal Society.
The PCA's RUF and Baptist Campus Ministry (BCM) agreed to comply. A World article ran this explanation from RUF's national coordinator, Rod Mays:
...RUF is known for working with campus administrators in official channels, and wants to be a sanctioned organization (Mays) said. "It's just a different philosophy of ministry. It has nothing to do with compromising the gospel. We're completely free to do what we want to do."
Then this past Mondy, May 7, 2012, Baptist Campus Ministry announced they have changed their minds and will join the eleven other Christian ministries who have refused to comply...
The Tennessee Baptist Convention's Baptist Reflector reports:
Randy C. Davis, executive director of the Tennessee Baptist Convention, informed members of the Executive Board that "on April 22, it came to my attention that the (Vandy) application included our representatives signing the revised non-discrimination policy. It is our understanding now that 'to abide by,' means 'to accept without objection' and 'to accept as our own.' ...Perhaps we should have known this earlier, but we did no... (After) understanding the full extent of this new policy, we have no choice but to ask our local leadership to remove us from the status of recognized student organization."
This leaves the PCA standing alone in having agreed to comply with Vandy's new policy. Responding to a letter from a Vandy RUF alum inquiring why RUF was not joining the other Christian organizations in opposing Vandy's administration, RUF's Vandy staff worker, Stacey Croft, responded:
The strategy that RUM and I have employed in our looking at and responding to what Vanderbilt is asking has arisen from the local RUM committee, RUM national, and me working together to respond in a Christ like way to the changes at Vanderbilt. Please feel free to contact Rod Mays, John Stone, or me by phone about this.
In addition to working as a staff member of the PCA's RUF chapter on the Vandy campus, Stacey Croft serves Vanderbilt University as an Associated Chaplain.
The Vanderbilt administration held a Town Hall Meeting on January 31, 2012, and NRO provided this transcript of Vanderbilt Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Provost Richard C. McCarty's explanation of the new policy:
VANDERBILT LAW STUDENT AND CLS MEMBER PALMER WILLIAMS: I am a little confused by the fact that under your policy, I can gather with a group of my friends, or a group of like-minded people, I can state my beliefs, but as soon as I go as far as writing down what we believe in, and then try to live by those beliefs as a community on campus, then I’m not allowed to do that.
VICE CHANCELLOR MCCARTY: What I’m going to challenge you to do, [is] to be open to a member that doesn’t share your faith beliefs who could be a wonderful member of CLS, maybe even a leader. But we’re not saying you have to vote for that person. We’re simply saying that person, who maybe does not profess allegiance to Jesus Christ as his or her Lord and Savior, should be allowed to run for office in CLS. Maybe it’s not chair or president, maybe it’s a person who is amazing at social outreach. It would still be consistent with your goals of serving the underserved with legal advice and legal services, but maybe isn’t Christian but they endorse what you’re trying to do. Give that person a chance. . . . Now let me give you another example, and this would affect all of you. I’m Catholic. What if my faith beliefs guided all of the decisions I make from day to day?
[At this point, the crowd applauds the idea that people should live according to their faith.]
No they shouldn’t! No they shouldn’t! No they shouldn’t! No they shouldn’t! [Disagreement from crowd.] Well, I know you do, but I’m telling you that as a Catholic I am very comfortable using my best judgment as a person to make decisions. As a Catholic, if I held that life begins at conception, I’d have a very big problem with our hospital. Right? Would I not? . . . I would, but I don’t. . . . We don’t want to have personal religious views intrude on good decisionmaking on this campus. They can guide your personal conduct, but I’m not going to let my faith life intrude. I’ll do the best I can at making good decisions, but I’m not going to impose my beliefs on others, not going to do it.