Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

Evangelicals at Brown University

I’ve written about this general issue before, but just came across this report of difficulties the Brown University chapter of Reformed University Fellowship was having with the chaplain’s office. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education has gotten involved (see the most recent release here, replete with links), and the University seems to have stepped back just a bit, inviting the chapter to resume official status next semester, though with a few "special conditions." I don’t know all the rights and wrongs here, and this article in the Brown student paper suggests that the student leadership of the RUF chapter shares some of the blame for its strained relations with the powers that be.

But there remains something troubling about the way the Brown chaplain’s office handled the situation--offering shifting and unclear (not to say untrue) explanations for why it was sanctioning the group in the first place. The Brown Office of Chaplains and Religious Life is staffed rather typically, with representatives of mainline and black Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, and Muslim traditions, among others, but without a theologically conservative evangelical. Might that begin to explain why there are misunderstandings?

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