Ratio Christi is a Christian apologetics organization with a mission to share the gospel on campus and to present a reason for Christ – thus their name, Ratio Christi. The group asked to be a recognized student organization, like all the other student organizations on the University of Houston-Clear Lake campus.
"[But] they were denied because, like many other organizations, they ask their leaders to actually believe the same thing as the organization," explains attorney Caleb Dalton of Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), the law firm representing Ratio Christi.
The attorney adds that Ratio Christi – "singled out" for their Christian beliefs, he argues – is just asking for equal treatment on campus.
"For example, the Vietnamese Student Organization asks their leadership to be Vietnamese; and as a Christian organization, Ratio Christi requires their leadership to be Christian," says Dalton. "You would think the same thing for the College Republicans to require their leaders to be Republican or the College Democrats require their leadership to be Democrat."
Dalton says ADF is hoping the university will do the right thing and respond to the lawsuit by changing its policy.
"The University of Houston main campus actually allows the Ratio Christi group there to have Christian leadership requirements. But … at the Clear Lake campus they denied them recognition – so, we think it's an inconsistently applied policy," says Dalton.
"Right now, they're really discriminating against our clients without just cause …. We're hopeful they do the right thing and agree to recognize our clients."
In being denied status as a registered student organization, Ratio Christi is unable to reserve space on campus, invite speakers, or access the pool of funds students pay into that is reserved for student organizations.