Members of the Christian Union (CU) were banned from attending a freshman fair at the University of Oxford for fears that incoming students might face “potential harm” and feel unwelcome. According to Breitbart London, the university wanted to keep the freshers’ fair a “secular space” after concerns were raised by “student welfare representatives.” This was a strange turn of events for an institue established under Christianity.
An internal e-mail explained the university’s reasoning:
We recognise the wonderful advantages in having CU representatives at the Fresher’s Fair, but are concerned that there is potential for harm to freshers who are already struggling to feel welcome in Oxford.
Christianity’s influence on many marginalised communities has been damaging in its methods of conversion and rules of practice, and is still used in many places as an excuse for homophobia and certain forms of neo-colonialism.
However, a “multi-faith” space was set up at the fair, only “no member of a religious society was allowed to attend or speak,” according to the report.
This infuriated the CU members who felt their free speech and religious freedoms were being jeopardized. Meanwhile, the university states that the Christian group agreed to the demands. CU said that is a “misleading” statement.
Taking up the case for CU is Andrea Williams, the chief executive of Christian Concern. She said:
“The leading institution in the world founded on Christian principles is forgetting its great history. In Christianity, there has been freedom of expression, freedom of speech, freedom to believe and manifest belief. It is the student union that is rewriting history and using cheap smears to spread falsehoods with regards to Christianity."
As a reminder, Oxford’s motto is, “Dominus Illuminatio Mea,” or, “The Lord is my Light.” Sounds kinda Christian-y, doesn’t it?