Peter Schmidt, writing for the Chronicle of Higher Education, reports:
The U.S. Supreme Court announced today that it had agreed to decide whether a California law school can legally deny recognition to a Christian students’ group because it bars gay and lesbian members for religious reasons.
The Christian organization is the Christian Legal Society (CLS) and the campus is the University of California Hastings School of Law in San Francisco, CA. The CLS has a very basic statement of Christian faith, which is complemented by a Board of Directors Resolution on the Statement of Faith and Sexual Morality Standards (available on-line to members only). Their press release today notes that the Hastings College of Law in San Francisco refused to recognize them because CLS “requires all of its officers and voting members to subscribe to its basic Christian beliefs”–which includes a prohibition on extramarital sex.
I believe this case has far-reaching implications for Christian organizations on secular campuses nationwide:
Gregory S. Baylor, a laywer for the Alliance Defense Fund, a Christian legal-advocacy group assisting the legal society in the case, said, “It’s completely unreasonable—and unconstitutional—for a public university to disrupt the purposes of private student groups by forcing them to accept as members and officers those who oppose the very ideas they advocate.”On the other side of the dispute, Ethan P. Schulman, a lawyer representing the law school, said the bottom-line question posed by the case “is whether public universities and law schools have a constitutional obligation to subsidize discriminatory organizations on campus.” He added: “The Christian Legal Society is seeking a ruling that would treat religious groups differently than all other student groups by exempting them from nondiscrimination and open-membership policies.”
Read the whole thing.
It seems obvious to me that a religious organization would discriminate on the basis of religion — would only a Christian group do that? Wouldn’t a Muslim group or a Jewish group presumably do the same? Should the Christian Legal Society lose this Supreme Court ruling, it could set in motion a domino effect whereby other secular universities join the Hastings College of Law in “pushing out” and marginalizing Christian or other religious groups who do not toe the politically correct line.