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Landmark Case

Cincinnati, Ohio – Today, Nate Kellum, Chief Counsel with the Center for Religious Expression, will argue a landmark case before the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in the defense of religious speech in the public square. The appeal was pursued on behalf of John McGlone, an evangelist who was denied a chance to share his Christian faith on the campus of University of Tennessee in Knoxville.

McGlone had previously visited the university several times to speak and distribute literature outdoors, but when he contacted university officials in August of 2010, McGlone was shocked to learn of a new policy requiring outside speakers to secure “sponsorship” from a registered student organization, staff or faculty, just to express views on campus. The “sponsorship” policy supplies university officials and others with unfettered discretion to reject speech for any reason, including disdain for viewpoint.

“By requiring sponsorship, UT is censoring unpopular speech, which can include certain religious speech,” said Kellum. “The design of the policy necessarily leads to arbitrary and uneven enforcement, dictated by the biases of college administrators.”

The Sixth Circuit’s decision on the propriety of a sponsorship requirement has far-reaching ramifications for free speech on public university campuses across the country.  

Center for Religious Expression is a servant-oriented, non-profit 501(c)(3) Christian legal organization dedicated to the glory of God and the religious freedom of His people.