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← Court splits sharply on campus Christian argument

Court splits sharply on campus Christian argument - Comments

rod-the-farmer's Avatar Comment 1 by rod-the-farmer


a case that could determine whether nondiscrimination policies trump the rights of private organizations to determine who can - and cannot - belong.

No one is claiming they cannot decide who can join their club. What is at stake here is whether or not they get funding from the university with whose standards they refuse to align.

Tue, 20 Apr 2010 00:00:00 UTC | #461178

Kmita's Avatar Comment 2 by Kmita

Let me get this straight...

The Christian Legal Society believes that it has a right to discriminate and choose who joins because it's an organization, but the university cannot do the same thing back to them because...

Why again? Seems to me it's just being handed right back to them. Guess they don't like being on the receiving end.

Tue, 20 Apr 2010 00:29:00 UTC | #461181

MarcCountry's Avatar Comment 3 by MarcCountry

Antonin Scalia is perhaps the most over-rated legal thinker on the planet. His idiocy is as consistent as it is breathtaking.

Tue, 20 Apr 2010 01:00:00 UTC | #461187

AlphaAndΩmegaman's Avatar Comment 4 by AlphaAndΩmegaman

Why should any college have to fund bigotry?

Tue, 20 Apr 2010 01:46:00 UTC | #461194

AndrewP's Avatar Comment 5 by AndrewP

Perhaps they should simply ban all Christians.

Tue, 20 Apr 2010 02:16:00 UTC | #461198

bluescat48's Avatar Comment 6 by bluescat48

In answer to comment 4, they shouldn't.

Tue, 20 Apr 2010 02:18:00 UTC | #461199

eggplnt's Avatar Comment 7 by eggplnt

This is disgusting. I heard this story on NPR this morning and it was not a fun drive to work. It is so sad that anyone would think it reasonable to provide funding to bigoted organizations that do not allow specific people to join. Further I don't understand how this kind of thinking is able to exist on any college campus. What are students learning? Are we not supposed to be teaching them to think independently?
Clearly no rights have been violated. The organization is still allowed to meet on campus and conduct business however they see fit, they are only being restricted to nonofficial status, which prohibits their access to public forums where they can advertise, and does not grant them a small stipend. This is enough.
Have we really become so tolerant that we tolerate intolerance?

Tue, 20 Apr 2010 02:26:00 UTC | #461200

Aiser's Avatar Comment 8 by Aiser

This is not bigotry. You shouldn't have to admit certain groups of people into you're organization if you do not want to. People often like to stick to their own kind. Why should every org just let everyone and anyone in....

Tue, 20 Apr 2010 02:50:00 UTC | #461203

deziner's Avatar Comment 9 by deziner

Have we really become so tolerant that we tolerate intolerance?


I've heard it said a few times now: that the only thing worse than a bigot is a bigot against bigots.

Pretty much says it all really. These people think it's their god-given right to discriminate against who they please, but are the first to scream discrimination and how wrong it is when they are the ones being discriminated against. They can discriminate all they like against who they like, but we certainly can't ... at least, not against them.

The shoe doesn't feel so comfortable on the other foot, but these fools would rather convince themselves that they have two left feet than admit they bought a dodgy pair of sneakers.

Tue, 20 Apr 2010 02:52:00 UTC | #461205

rthille's Avatar Comment 10 by rthille

Yeah, I don't hate anyone... except haters, I F***ing HATE them! :-)

I have to agree with #3. I've never read anything attributed to Scalia that made me believe he was a thinker, much less a great one.

Tue, 20 Apr 2010 03:22:00 UTC | #461211

Danno Davis's Avatar Comment 11 by Danno Davis

It really bothers me how damn fire-breathing the conservatives on the Supreme Court have become, especially that fraud John "balls and strikes" Roberts... ugh.

Bush v Gore still burns to this day. To think of who Al Gore would've replaced Rehnquist and O'Connor with, and what the court would look like today if he had... Ugh.

Tue, 20 Apr 2010 03:26:00 UTC | #461212

zengardener's Avatar Comment 12 by zengardener

They don't see the irony, do they?

Tue, 20 Apr 2010 03:41:00 UTC | #461216

DeusExNihilum's Avatar Comment 13 by DeusExNihilum

Universities have guidelines, they receive funding from the Government, so all non-discrimination legislation, laws and regulations apply, Period.

By ALL means they should show the world how bigoted they are by having a Christian student group that discriminates against Gay Christians, But they shouldn't be allowed to do so through the University, or hold meetings on campus; Their group should be completely and totally separate from The university just like their morals and ethics are completely separate from this millennium.

Tue, 20 Apr 2010 06:03:00 UTC | #461221

hungarianelephant's Avatar Comment 14 by hungarianelephant

9. Comment #481903 by deziner

The shoe doesn't feel so comfortable on the other foot

If liberalism means anything, it means accepting that other people sometimes have different views. Defending it will frequently put you in a corner with bigots and assholes, knowing full well that they will offer you no favour in return.

If the Christian Legal Society must open its membership to all students, then so must the Humanist Legal Society. And not only must it open its membership, it must also allow them to hold officership positions. I would put it back to you - the shoe doesn't feel so comfortable on the other foot. That society could find itself overrun with fundies voting each other on to the board, and what then of the free association of humanists? Effectively we would be prescribing a narrow range of opinions, which happen to have found official approval. Which is tremendous, right up to the point where you find yourself in a minority.

There's a fuller description of the background at http://www.abajournal.com/magazine/article/right_to_belong/ There is not much reported on the original decision. It appears that the lower courts said that because the university's policy restricts conduct, not speech, it doesn't violate the First Amendment. Does anyone, including those who support the decision, think this makes the slightest sense?

Perhaps the university shouldn't be giving official recognition to any student society at all, but that is a separate argument. Once it does so, it is potentially taking part in an argument, at that point it has an obligation scrupulously to avoid taking sides.

Tue, 20 Apr 2010 06:57:00 UTC | #461225

at3p's Avatar Comment 15 by at3p

There is nice difference between now medieval times. Religious organizations have less money compared to other ones; this means they can't build and attract people to their own private educational system (well, except catholic schools which still survive, sadly). These campus organizations must not be funded from public budgets, it will only tilt the educational system in the direction of medieval ignorance. They must be financially starved so that if the current social educational system has problems, it will not make room for "bigot schools" to expand.

Tue, 20 Apr 2010 07:01:00 UTC | #461226

HolyPinkUnicorn's Avatar Comment 16 by HolyPinkUnicorn

Hmm, someone should ask the Catholic Church if "unrepentant participation in or advocacy of a sexually immoral lifestyle" is inconsistent with its faith...

These kind of college campus religious groups are nothing new in America--go to a new school with lots of new people and can't stand all the 'queers' and 'sinners'? Then you can join a group where your fear and bigotry are welcomed with open arms. What many of these students forget is that there is more to learn than just what is taught in classrooms. These students are eventually going to have to deal with 'immoral' people sooner or later, and the power of exclusion might not always be in their favor.

I wish the school would just give them recognition but without the money; tell them to go have a heterosexual bake sale or something and raise the money themselves. It's 2010--stop catering to and funding every ancient practice and tradition (newspeak for religious beliefs).

Tue, 20 Apr 2010 07:11:00 UTC | #461228

BanJoIvie's Avatar Comment 18 by BanJoIvie

8. Comment #481901 by Aiser on April 20, 2010 at 3:50 am
This is not bigotry. You shouldn't have to admit certain groups of people into you're organization if you do not want to. People often like to stick to their own kind. Why should every org just let everyone and anyone in....


You're right that groups should be able to set any criteria they want for membership, but that has nothing to do with whether those criteria are bigoted - which in this case, they are.

No one is FORCING the CLS to admit anyone or change any policies. They are CHOOSING to pursue recognition and funding but want the rules to be different for them than for anyone else. Typical religious reasoning. "Denying us special treatment is persecution! When we exclude gays it's because of our protected beliefs, when the school excludes us, its discrimination!

Freedom of assembly is a guaranteed right in the American constitution. Getting a University to recognize and fund your assembly is NOT guaranteed anywhere. Bottom line, CLS is voluntarily applying for standing. There are requirements which ALL applicants are required to meet. If the don't wish to meet those requirements, why apply? Might the motivation be the opportunity to sue?

Tue, 20 Apr 2010 07:22:00 UTC | #461231

Bonzai's Avatar Comment 17 by Bonzai

hungarian


Perhaps the university shouldn't be giving official recognition to any student society at all, but that is a separate argument. Once it does so, it is potentially taking part in an argument, at that point it has an obligation scrupulously to avoid taking sides.


I doubt that the university is under any moral obligation to either give official recognition and fundings to all student organizations or none.

All universities have some guidelines that stipulate requirements in addition to being a student group to be qualified for fundings and official recognition. It is very unlikely that a university would be compelled to give official recognition to the student chapter of KKK or students for Nazi simply because it has recognized and funded the student classical music club.

The university has a rule that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation. The Church group doesn't meet the requirement because they discriminate so they don't get the recognition and the money.

The bottom line is whether we think it is reasonable for the university to have a rule that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientations. You are making it more complicated than it is by trying to come up with some tortured "shoe on the other foot" scenario while no such symmetry exists.

That society could find itself overrun with fundies voting each other on to the board, and what then of the free association of humanists?


Now if the fundies talk and behave like humanists I have no problem with them joining the humanists association and being elected to the board, just as I have never had a problem with Francis Collins heading the NHS. It is their public opinions that count. Problems only arise if the fundies try to hijack the humanist organization to promote an anti-humanistic agenda. But in that event they will hopefully be dealt with under other mechanisms. The fundies are not excluded initially simply on religious ground.

Tue, 20 Apr 2010 07:22:00 UTC | #461230

Perry Bradley's Avatar Comment 19 by Perry Bradley

Reference Comment 8 #481901 by Aiser on April 20, 2010 at 3:50 am "This is not bigotry. You shouldn't have to admit certain groups of people into you're organization if you do not want to. People often like to stick to their own kind. Why should every org just let everyone and anyone in...."

The Westboro Baptist Church with Fred Phelps would be proud of you for that comment Aiser. Intolerance of Homosexuals and Racism has always been promoted by religious zeal and leads me to the impression that your contribution shows your true colours...

Tue, 20 Apr 2010 08:46:00 UTC | #461240

sandman67's Avatar Comment 20 by sandman67

The test of this principal is simple:

Were the KKK to set up a student group on campus would the uNi then fund them/recognise their status knowing they excluded everyone not white / straight because thats what they believed in?

No

so when another group that has rules excluding a section of the student body based on sexual orientation based on their beliefs is set up do you recognise them or fund them?

No

The principal is there - if you want to exclude you do so on your own dollar and without official recognition. Whether you wear a halloween costume whilst preaching your exclusion mantra is irrelevant.

Case closed.

Tue, 20 Apr 2010 09:25:00 UTC | #461244

hungarianelephant's Avatar Comment 21 by hungarianelephant

17. Comment #481931 by Bonzai

All universities have some guidelines that stipulate requirements in addition to being a student group to be qualified for fundings and official recognition. It is very unlikely that a university would be compelled to give official recognition to the student chapter of KKK or students for Nazi simply because it has recognized and funded the student classical music club.

OK, I have overstated the point. Still, there is a qualitative difference between the KKK chapter and the classical music club. One is engaging in politics, the other is not. Suppose we agree that it's reasonable to refuse the KKK and accept the classical music club. If the university were to accept the KKK, then it is starting to entangle itself with politics. This has nothing to do with the particular politics of the KKK - it would be the same if it were the local chapter of the Communist Party or Back Palin In 2012 or the NCLU. The only way to avoid the accusation of non-neutrality between political viewpoints is to behave in a strictly neutral way, by either allowing them all or refusing them all (regardless of the position of the classical music society)

The Christian Legal Society is taking a political view, even if it is dressing it up as a religious one, and there are solid arguments as to why it should not be accepted on neutrality grounds. But those same arguments apply to the LGBT Rights Advocacy Group (though not the LGBT Support Group). Whether we agree with the political positions is irrelevant.
The bottom line is whether we think it is reasonable for the university to have a rule that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientations.

The bottom line is whether it is constitutional for the university to have a rule that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientations. The right of people not to be discriminated against for being gay is important, but it is not the only right. People also have a right to freedom of opinion, of expression, and associating with other people with the same opinion. Even if those opinions are stupid and the people holding them are arseholes.
Problems only arise if the fundies try to hijack the humanist organization to promote an anti-humanistic agenda. But in that event they will hopefully be dealt with under other mechanisms. The fundies are not excluded initially simply on religious ground.

That is just wishful thinking. The Francis Collins situation (which I agreed with you about) is completely different. If he started allocating funding according to religious preferences, that would be unconstitutional and subject to a federal lawsuit. The Hastings Humanist Law Society is not an emanation of the state and there is sod all that its remaining members could do about it being hijacked.

Tue, 20 Apr 2010 09:38:00 UTC | #461246

Roger Stanyard's Avatar Comment 22 by Roger Stanyard

Aiser says



This is not bigotry. You shouldn't have to admit certain groups of people into you're organization if you do not want to. People often like to stick to their own kind. Why should every org just let everyone and anyone in....


Why? This is about the right of everyone to participate in the society they belong to. Taxpayers' money is involved and gays, like everyone else, all pay taxes.

This is an organisation open to Christians but bans gay Christians.

Who else does this Christian organisation ban? Other Christians who hold unacceptable views about religion?

Tue, 20 Apr 2010 10:14:00 UTC | #461250

Cluebot's Avatar Comment 23 by Cluebot

They should be allowed to discriminate - and we should be allowed to condemn them for their bigotry, loudly and publicly, until their ears bleed.

The real problem is that people want to do this. Let's work on that...

Tue, 20 Apr 2010 10:23:00 UTC | #461253

phasmagigas's Avatar Comment 24 by phasmagigas

if 'gluttony' (is that in the bible??) were considered an immoral behaviour i wonder if people could be discriminated against on the basis of a certain BMI?? It would make about as much sense. ignoring the legality of this situation I find the smug righteousness of those involved in that policy to be nauseating, I wonder if they actually hate or love themselves?

Tue, 20 Apr 2010 11:24:00 UTC | #461259

Christopher Davis's Avatar Comment 25 by Christopher Davis

I disagree with Aiser about this not being a case of bigotry (what else would you call it?) but I agree with him that people should be allowed to decide who they want to allow into their groups.

For me this all boils down to the funding. No religious group should receive college funding. For that matter neither should any political group. If these students want to form groups they should do it on their own dime.

Tue, 20 Apr 2010 11:39:00 UTC | #461261

crookedshoes's Avatar Comment 26 by crookedshoes

So the CLS expects the university to accept and fund them even though their "beliefs" and "practices" are against the universities policies. Yet they exclude and would not "fund" gays and non-christians. Where is the logic? Why is this even taking the courts time for more than a second?
If CLS has the "right to exclude"; surely the university does as well. They should absolutely be allowed to exclude people from their group. Do it on your own dime. Again, I think that only PRIVATE organizations should be allowed to discriminate (sons of Italy for example). If you are on the public dime you are open to the public.

Tue, 20 Apr 2010 11:46:00 UTC | #461263

Ron Millam's Avatar Comment 27 by Ron Millam

Too many people are missing the point.

Is the CLS (or any group) allowed to discriminate? Absolutely YES! There's no argument with that.

Is the CLS (or any group) allowed to exclude gays, non-christians or anyone else who does not or cannot measure up to its standards? Absolutely YES! There's no argument with that.

Is the CLS (or any group) allowed to demand that their members sign a ethics statement? Absolutely YES! There's no argument with that.

Does the CSL (or any group) have the right to freedom of speech and freedom of assembly as guaranteed by the US Constitution? Absolutely YES! There's no argument with that.

So now can we stop talking about those issues? Can we deal only with the crux of the matter? I.e., Shall the CLS (or any group) have its discriminatory and bigoted policies funded with public tax monies? C'mon -- do I really have to answer that one too?

Tue, 20 Apr 2010 11:52:00 UTC | #461265

phasmagigas's Avatar Comment 28 by phasmagigas

ron millam

So now can we stop talking about those issues? Can we deal only with the crux of the matter? I.e., Shall the CLS (or any group) have its discriminatory and bigoted policies funded with public tax monies? C'mon -- do I really have to answer that one too?


as far as ive read that is the crux of the matter, the answer in law should hopefully be no.

A group that wants to hate a subsection of society (lets not mince words here, they hate gays and dress it up with concern and phoney smiles) should be allowed to fester in their corner and merely laughed at.

Tue, 20 Apr 2010 12:10:00 UTC | #461270

FrumWentz's Avatar Comment 30 by FrumWentz

We all know that there is always more to the story, and that it is slanted by the reporter and by the viewer before all pertinent facts are available. For example, I want to know what groups are now receiving funding and space from the University and how they are qualified.

Why would a christian group ever want to exclude christian people who are transgendered? The decision factor that christian doctrine assumes about homosexuality is ambiguous in their case at best and knowledge and compassion would preclude exclusion. Similarly if a christian claimed to be a homosexual and has decided not to engage in the associated behaviors, why would the group exclude that individual? If they did not welcome these two categories of christians, they may just be a cult organization and not qualified as a recognized christian religion group.

Tue, 20 Apr 2010 12:14:00 UTC | #461272

Valjean's Avatar Comment 29 by Valjean

Should "The College Pacifist Society" be obliged to admit self-confessed militarists as members? Should the University Communist Fraternity be required to accept die-hard Tories? Whatever happened to the priciple of freedom of association of like-minded people?

Tue, 20 Apr 2010 12:14:00 UTC | #461271