CNA Staff, Jan 14, 2021 / 00:56 am America/Denver (CNA).
A federal appeals court heard arguments on Wednesday on whether public university officials can be held personally liable for religious discrimination.
The Eighth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments on Wednesday in InterVarsity Christian Fellowship v. University of Iowa, the case of a Christian group kicked off the school’s campus because of its faith-based policy requiring leaders to be Christian.
“This is a case of deliberate, express, religious viewpoint discrimination,” stated Daniel Blomberg, senior counsel at Becket who is representing InterVarsity Christian Fellowship before the Eighth Circuit Court.
In the case, a federal district court had held that University of Iowa officials were personally liable for unlawful removal of several faith-based groups from campus for purportedly violating the school’s nondiscrimination policy.
According to the university, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship and other religious groups had violated the policy because they required leaders to abide by the stated religious beliefs of the groups.
In 2018, InterVarsity Christian was notified by the university that its standards—that leaders be Christians—violated the school’s nondiscrimination policy. In July of that year, InterVarsity and 38 other student organizations including Sikh, Muslim, and Christian groups were deregistered for similar religious requirements of their leaders.