Religious Activities Policy

Marquette University, as a Catholic university in the Jesuit educational tradition, is committed to supporting the personal faith life of its members. The university welcomes in its midst students of varying religious backgrounds and persuasions, respects the individual religious commitments of students, and in no case attempts to proselytize them through its programs or sponsored activities.

Similarly, the university does not allow any other individual or organization internal or external to the university to proselytize its members using facilities, programs or activities controlled by the university. Proselytization is understood as any effort to influence people’s faith convictions, choices, or commitments in ways that de-personalize or deprive them of their inherent value as persons. This includes the use of any exploitive techniques or manipulative appeals which bypass a person’s critical faculties; play on psychological or other weaknesses; use physical coercion, moral compulsion, psychological pressure, inducements for conversion, or exploit a lack of education.

Additional activities that might be indicators of proselytizing include, but are not limited to:

  • Making unjust or uncharitable references to others’ beliefs and practices;
  • Comparing faith traditions by emphasizing only the achievements and ideals of one, and the weaknesses and practical problems of the other;
  • Using advertising or promotional techniques that might bring undue pressure on persons;
  • Ignoring the religious realities and identities of other faith traditions or their particular approaches to pastoral practice.

This policy is not meant to discourage or inhibit the sharing and discussion of religious values or beliefs between members of the university community in the variety of contexts the educational community provides.

Someone invited to a religious event should know in advance which group sponsors it and the nature of the event. There should be no pressure, direct or indirect, to engage in scripture study, worship, discussion or faith sharing. Furthermore, if people decide to leave the group or its activities, they must be free to do so without harassment or pressure to stay. Similarly, the university reserves the right to limit or restrict the on-campus activity of any organization or individual whose purposes are directly contrary to the university’s stated religious values and purposes.

Diverse religious groups are welcome and supported at Marquette, and groups are free to express their faiths in word and action, including what is commonly called (in Christian terms) “evangelizing” or “spreading the Gospel.” That is, they may express their beliefs in what God asks of people as well as what God offers them. Representatives of various religious affiliations may, with the approval of the director of Campus Ministry, provide appropriate religious services for their own members and others who wish to participate in them.

There are two methods of recognition for religious groups that wish to sponsor activities at the university: 1) ecclesiastical bodies, para-church organizations, or religious organizations may seek recognition as an affiliated ministry of Campus Ministry in order to provide regular spiritual support to members of the Marquette community who identify as belonging to a particular faith tradition, or 2) students with common religious/spiritual interests may form recognized student organizations for the purpose of supporting their own religious beliefs and practices. Any other religious activities on campus by groups that do not fit these criteria must also receive approval from the director of Campus Ministry.

Student organizations and their activities must be approved by the director of Campus Ministry in addition to the regular requirements for student organizations as defined in this handbook. The university will not recognize new student organizations, affiliated ministries, or any other activity that duplicates the work of Campus Ministry or existing student organizations, affiliated ministries, or campus initiatives. Religious groups should note that Campus Ministry is charged with identifying and meeting the pastoral needs of all Marquette students, whether as members of the general population, within particular academic programs or communities, or on an individual basis.

For more information regarding this policy, contact the Office of Student Development or Campus Ministry.