Kansas governor signs law restricting membership in faith groups to protect religious freedom

Kansas Governor Sam Brownback says the new law 'will serve the betterment of our college campuses.'(Wikipedia)

Christian college students in Kansas can now exercise their religious freedom inside their own campuses without fear of being punished for exercising their faith, thanks to a law recently approved by the state's governor, Sam Brownback.

Brownback signed the new law allowing faith-based college groups to restrict membership to "like-minded" members in an attempt to protect religious organisations in campuses.

"This is very good, narrow, targeted piece of legislation that will serve the betterment of our college campuses," the Kansas governor said in an article on CBN News.

Kansas already has a religious objections law that prevents state or local governments from limiting people's religious freedom and expression. The law, however, does not cover religious organisations in universities, thus the need to pass a new policy.

Kansas is not the only state to have passed a law protecting religious groups in college campuses. Oklahoma also earlier passed a college-specific law on religious freedom.

The new law seeks to address a handful of on-campus incidents in Kansas, including a lawsuit filed against a Christian group at Washburn University in Topeka, who was called out by university officials for requiring its members to recognise the Bible as the sole Word of God.

The legislation signed by Brownback, which will take effect in July, prevents university officials from interfering in such incidents, and also bars them from denying funding from college-based religious organisations.

Critics of the law, such as the American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas, plans to pose a legal challenge to the legislation, arguing that it may open the gates for discrimination.

"It is a sad and shameful day when the Legislature chooses to stand on the side of providing taxpayer funds to promote discrimination," the group's leader, Micah Kubic, said in an article on Gospel Herald.