Savannah State expels Christian group for baptisms and foot-washing

A Christian campus ministry has been banned from Savannah State University for “hazing”–that’s how the university views baptism and foot-washing, apparently, according to reports. It seems the real issue is that Commissioned 2 Love members were telling Christians not to join frats–and the frats complained. Alliance Defense Fund press release. FIRE commentary. David French commentary at National Review.

From the ADF complaint:

On or about April 6, 2006, Mr. Campbell filed a complaint with the SSU Police Department alleging that C2L members engaged in “practices that are not unlike [that] of a cult” such as “bapti[sms]” and “foot washing.”

At another point:

On or about April 20, 2006, approximately fifteen C2L members, including Plaintiff Kinsey-Hicks, gathered to walk and pray together on campus. Defendant Gunterinstructed the SSU Police to stop C2L from assembling and praying together. SSU Police Officers Lucious Simmons and Ebony Glover confronted the group and ordered them to stop praying and assembling because of their affiliation with C2L. …

Through [the] sanctions [imposed by the university], Defendants went far beyond simply removing C2L’s sbility to function as a recognized student organization on campus. Effectively, these sanctions cut off C2L’s and its members’ ability to practice their beliefs, such as prayer, footwashing,
assembly, converting new members, fulfilling its mission and purposes, and responding to students who did not agree with C2L and its members’ beliefs and practices.

The last straw was went some C2L members and some non-members went together to a Christian event at Disney World.

Defendants have violated the constitutional rights of the Plaintiffs by punishing C2L and its members for footwashing, praying and assembling, ministering to other students, speaking out in response to students who disagree with their message, worshipping and assembling, and have effectively prohibited and/or chilled these actions along with the suspension and expulsion of C2L as a recognized SSU student organization denying it and its members all the rights, benefits, and privileges of such status and extinguishing its ability to associate, fulfill its mission and purpose, or wear its religious symbols.