Oxford College bans Christian Union from freshers fair

An Oxford University Christian Union has been banned from its college freshers' fair after the religion was branded 'damaging' and 'an excuse for homophobia and neo-colonialism'.

Senior students at Balliol college barred Christians from the event, saying a CU stall could cause 'harm' and the fair was designed to be a 'secular space'.

Balliol College, which boasts foreign secretary Boris Johnson among its alumni, has not responded to requests for comment.Google

The ban has caused outrage after a leaked email chain was handed to the student news site Cherwell.

Vice president Frederick Potts told Christian Union representatives: 'Christianity's influence on many marginalised communities has been damaging in its methods of conversion and rules of practice.

'It is still used in many places as an excuse for homophobia and certain forms of neo-colonialism.'

Since details of the prohibition were made public, students at Boris Johnson's old college passed a motion condemning it as a 'violation of free speech and religious freedom'.

The vote blocks any attempts to ban religious groups in the future and says: 'The Balliol JCR (student union) should not make judgments regarding the legitimacy of faith groups or religious expression.'

Student union president Hubert Au said the Christian Union was eventually allowed to share a multi-faith stand with leaflets available. But no representatives from the society were allowed to attend or speak to students and although Au said this agreement was reached after speaking to the CU, a representative from the CU told Cherwell the comments were 'misleading'. 

Christian Today has contacted Hubert Au as well as Balliol Christan Union and Frederick Potts for comment.

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