US Catholic Faith in Real Life

Greek for God

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New fraternities and sororities are popping up around the country, but their popularity isn't about partying. It's about piety. There are at least 210 Christian fraternities and sororities around the country now.

An Associated Press article describes how parents set out lunch for tailgating at Lambda Sigma Phi at the University of Alabama while at other houses on frat row, there's girls, booze, and rock-n-roll. "We want to be a light on this campus," says Lambda Sigma Phi chapter president Daniel Weaver.

In the college world of "hook-up culture" (see our interview with Donna Freitas), these organizations seem to be trying to bring the evangelical campus to public school campuses across the country. The AP reports that Alpha Delta Chi, a sorority, requires members to comply with certain rules: They must be church-going Christians, no premarital sex, and no smoking, illegal drugs, or drinking to the point of embarrassment. Activities include Bible service and service projects.

Having been a member of a Greek house in college (though not very active in it), it seems that these houses are simply going back to the roots of most houses. Sororities, at least, were intended to be the home of good Christian girls, encouraging scholarship, service, and sisterhood. To this day, there are prayers and a watered-down faith (along with a great deal of Greek and probably made-up mythology) in official meetings. 

So what's the big deal with these houses? The mainstream houses are now inclusive and the structure of recruitment would not allow a house to discriminate against potential members based on religion. My campus had very active African American houses, but these didn't take part in the main recruitment process.

The University of Florida refused to recognize Christian frat Beta Upsilon Chi because the school said the group was discriminatory and now the fraternity has filed a discrimination suit against the school. 

Who's discriminating against whom here?