A federal court last summer ordered the University of Iowa to reinstate the student group, Business Leaders In Christ, after kicking them off campus for requiring its leaders to support the group’s statement of faith. Although the group allows anyone to be a member, students calling themselves leaders must affirm such biblical teachings as sexual morality.
A homosexual student complained, and the school retaliated. But the federal judge that ordered the group reinstated in time for a recruitment drive called out the school for hypocrisy. She noted that a Muslim student group had similar leadership requirements, but they faced no discipline. After this, the school banned other religious groups.
The Becket Fund said the school allows “feminist” groups and others to enforce restrictions. Business Leaders in Christ are back in court to litigate its case to return to campus permanently. The Des Moines Register reported that the group’s lawyer asked the court to rule in its favor in a lawsuit before the trail starts.
[Attorney Eric] Baxter argued Friday that the university is bringing up issues that have already been settled.
He also said the university allows feminist, anti-abortion, racial minority and veteran groups to refuse certain members and determine leadership based on ideological standards.
District Judge Stephanie Rose cited a similar discrepancy involving a Muslim group last year in ordering that Business Leaders in Christ’s status be reinstated on a temporary basis.
Rose could choose to decide the case immediately, or she can allow progress toward a trial to continue. She did not indicate Friday when she would rule, although she did order Business Leaders to produce a list of its members to her by Tuesday, noting that a list she had included only two names — short of the five required under UI rules for a student organization to be registered.