Religious freedom update

The Evangelical Christian Union at Birmingham University has its bank account frozen and is prevented from using university facilities following suspension by the Student Guild.

The principal grounds for the suspension were:

  • the Christian Union refused to open its membership to non-Christians; and
  • the CU’s constitution also included references to the words “man” and “woman”, which the Student Guild considered “could be seen as excluding transsexual and transgender people”.

Banning Christian Unions because they’re unions of Christians is old hat, but banning the words “man” and “woman” is a new one on me. I’m lost for words – which is just as well, since there clearly aren’t too many words left that it’s still permissible to use…

Update: Ruth Gledhill – The Times’s (surprisingly foxy) religion correspondent, who broke the news earlier this week – has posted more material about this story on her blog, including a link to this post (fame at last!).

It is also worth clarifying that it is only the CU’s actual voting membership that is restricted to Christians. Its meetings are open to all.

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