It’s graduation time all across the country, and as many Christian students enjoy the pomp and circumstance of high school commencement, they have a sinking feeling about the challenges that await them in college. They have heard about liberal professors and atheistic movements at their school of choice, and wonder: “Will I be persecuted for my faith?”
The answer is likely… yes. In the world we currently live, Christians frequently encounter some form of persecution on the public university campus. These students should nevertheless take heart – and take heed – to the fact that they carry their constitutional rights with them to college.
Just like everyone else, Christian students have the freedom to live out and express deeply-held beliefs. A university cannot rightly force a Christian to stop being Christian.
But this doesn’t keep universities from trying. To maintain secular orthodoxy on campus, many institutions of “higher learning” employ creative means to silence dissenting voices. Some universities have promulgated “free speech” zones that relegate religious speakers to certain undesirable parts of campus. A few universities have labeled Christian evangelism as “hate speech” and banish it. Other universities force Christians to buy tables as vendors to share the gospel. Still others discriminate against Christian student groups, making them accept non-adherents as leaders.
All of these policies are blatantly unconstitutional. The First Amendment gives all citizens – including Christian citizens – the right to peacefully speak, assemble and associate. As long as Christian students remember these rights, and have the temerity to invoke them, they need not fret about their religious freedom on campus.
Congratulations to all graduates. Whether you are off to a small Christian college or a large public university, my humble advice is to abide in God’s word and pursue the truth. The truth will set you free, including a freedom from the expectations of others. And, in pursuing truth, you will necessarily be salt and light on your campus, advancing the kingdom of God, whether you realize it or not.
Many are praying that your generation will be like Joshua’s, one that renews the culture and leads the people towards repentance and a return to God.
Don’t worry about whether you will be persecuted for being a Christian. Be bold, be strong, the Lord your God is with you wherever you go, even on the campus of a secular university.
Posted by Nate Kellum