We have reported on Yale’s regrettable decision to deny official status to a Christian fraternity on campus, BYX (Beta Upsilon Chi), because it requires the members of its evangelistic organization to be committed Christians. Yale deems this unacceptable “religious discrimination.” This decision makes no sense. It is eminently reasonable for a private organization to require its members and officers to agree with the ideas the group advocates. It is not “discrimination” for an environmentalist group to require its members to agree with its green agenda and say, “chainsaw-wielding lumberjacks need not apply.”
Sadly, this policy shows how far Yale has strayed from its Christian roots when it was formed in the 1600s. Yale’s own website states that its purpose was to train students to advance Christianity:
Yale’s roots can be traced back to the 1640s, when colonial clergymen led an effort to establish a college in New Haven to preserve the tradition of European liberal education in the New World. This vision was fulfilled in 1701, when the charter was granted for a school “wherein Youth may be instructed in the Arts and Sciences [and] through the blessing of Almighty God may be fitted for Publick employment both in Church and Civil State.”
Yale in its early years required its students, according to Christianity.com, to live a disciplined Christian life:
Students were required to “live religious, godly and blameless lives according to the rules of God’s Word, diligently reading the Holy Scriptures, the fountain of light and truth; and constantly attend upon all the duties of religion, both in public and secret.” Prayer was a requirement. Furthermore every student was instructed to “…consider the main end of his study to wit to know God in Jesus Christ” and “to lead a Godly, sober life.”
So Yale once required all students to believe in Christianity and actively pursue the Christian faith, in a way similar that BYX wants to require only for students who desire to join its group. The fact that Yale prohibits BYX from doing so shows how much present-day Yale veers dramatically from the founding principles of Yale.