Wednesday, April 21, 2010

US Supreme Court: Religious Freedom or Discrimination?

Are atheists entitled to lead a Bible study?

Are racist skinheads entitled to participate in a NAACP chapter planning meeting?

These are questions raised in a hearing before the Supreme Court this week regarding a clash between a public university, San Francisco's UC Hastings College of Law, and a Christian Bible study group on the Law College campus, which excludes practicing homosexuals.

The Bible study group was previously recognized after its new policy which disallows practicing, unrepentant homosexuals from participating. The college then revoked the Bible study's status.

The Christian group argues that the Hastings College of Law is trying to force organizations to surrender principles in exchange for access to meeting rooms and bulletin boards.

Stanford law Professor Michael McConnell, representing the Christian group, told the Justices, "If Hastings is correct, a student who does not even believe in the Bible is entitled to lead a Bible study."

He said a campus NAACP chapter "would have to allow a racist skin head to sit in on its planning meetings."

Does this policy stifle religious freedoms?

Or would it subsidize discrimination?

And what did the Supreme Court Justices say about it?

They, of course, were divided and some fell on one side while the others leaned toward the other side of the issue, but they all pressed to define the school's policy and the rights it purportedly violates.

Chief Justice John Roberts disputed the law school's position. He said the school's policy prohibits discrimination, "On the basis of only one type of belief, religious belief."

Justice Antonin Scalia said requiring a Christian organization, "To allow atheists not to just join, but to conduct Bible classes...that's crazy."

I agree.

Justices Sotomayor and Ginsberg seemed to favor the college. No surprise. Sotomayor asked, "Are you suggesting that if a group wanted to exclude all black people, all women, all handicapped persons...that a school has to accept that group and recognize it?"

The response was that they are talking about religious beliefs, not race or gender.

Justice Kennedy concluded, "It's frustrating for us not to know what kind of case we have in front of us."

A ruling is expected by June.

So, should skinhead racists be entitled to join and even lead a NAACP group or an atheist join and even teach a Bible study?

Common sense says, "Of course not."

Or should this case be seen as "different" or "special" because it involves homosexuals and their quest for equality and affirmation? And it involves Christians. A point well made by Chief Justice Roberts.

This same Supreme Court will hear our case next week where we are asking that the names of those who signed the R-71 petitions be sealed to protect those who signed, because the First Amendment allows individuals to engage in political speech without being forced to reveal their identities.

Secretary of State Sam Reed wants to release the personal information on the Internet, and to aid those who have promised to contact and "visit" with those who signed, harassing and intimidating anyone who supports traditional marriage.

Efforts of these and similar groups have resulted in death threats, physical violence and property damage directed at individuals who have stood for the natural, traditional definition marriage.

These are historic and perilous times.

The culture and the future hangs in the balance. To ignore these kinds of assaults on personal religious freedom and political free speech would surely result in we as a nation, found to be "wanting."

Be Prayerful. Be Active. Be Blessed.

Thanks for standing with us.

13 comments:

  1. What is the school's policy regarding discrimination by sexual orientation? Whatever it is, they have to hold student organizations to it. No exceptions for personal belief systems.

    If your religion tells you that it's ok to discriminate against people different from you, then perhaps a public institution isn't your best choice of venue.

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  2. So, should skinhead racists be entitled to join and even lead a NAACP group or an atheist join and even teach a Bible study?

    Which of course isn't the issue. Go to Hastings, read the various groups that are sanctioned statements of purpose. They can't disallow people for who they are, but they can require certain goals and purposes for their group and vote out those that don't ACT to that purpose.

    An atheist can attend a Christian group but if they start saying 'jesus was just a man' they can be voted out. A homophobe could join the gay rights group but if he started saying 'gay was evil' he could be voted out. A jew can attend the Iranian student group, but if they start saying that Iranians are (whatever hateful thing he might) he can be voted out. See the pattern? They can't be kept out for who they are, only for what they actually do inside the group itself.

    And even unsanctioned groups can use meeting rooms and most bulletin boards - yes some rooms are only for the sanctioned groups (just like the HUB at the UofW student union) and some bulletin boards are only for sanctioned groups. I don't know if it was their lawyers or Gary who stated it as if it were some blanket proscription but that's a lie by who ever did.

    What it does do is not allow a racist or bigoted group act as the official representative of the college - want to be the 'we hate gays' group AT Hastings that's fine and dandy, but you don't get to be the official Hastings College 'we hate gays' group, that's all.

    But again, wanting special treatment and or trying to destroy the ability of colleges to demand that student groups that represent them be available to all students is the kind of thing Christianists seem to delight in doing.

    Again, Christianists are those who in the name of Christ do the Devil's work, and this lawsuit is so very obviously the devil's work its amazing to me they can think of themselves as Christians at all.

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  3. Once again we see Christians seeking special rights. Ever other group at this school that receives student funds is open to all students, why should this Christian group get special rights?

    Lets clear up some misconceptions here, the Christian group was open to all comers and a received student funds for years, until the national organization decided they needed to specifically exclude gays and lesbians, even if they are Christians. So the only people trying to force anything here are the Christian group and their national org.

    Secondly, Gary makes it sound like the Christian group and the court dismissed the idea that granting their request would mean that a group wanting to exclude blacks, etc would have to be allowed. This isn't the case, as the story Gary linked to shows, the lawyer from the Christian group, with prompting from Scalia admitted that, so long as such a group said the discrimination was based on their beliefs it would have to be allowed.

    Finally, this is the exact opposite position FFN took with a similar case locally. They not only demanded that anti-gay activist Phil Irvin be given access to meetings of a City Light LGBT group, because it received taxpayer funds, but they also supported his quest to get the names and addresses of the groups members.

    Kind of casts this post and their Supreme Court case trying to withhold the names of signers of their petitions (a public record)in a whole new and entirely hypocritical light.

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  4. The schools have NO reason to bring up 'social issues'. Their job is to teach the 3 r's--period!

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  5. Really? A law school has no right to have sanctioned student groups?! Really?

    You have commented yourself out of relevancy.

    But how common is this - in an attempt to rationalize your aggression 'you throw the baby out with the bath.'

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  6. Would it be Ok for a chess club to be run by someone did not play chess but only checkers? I would think that the person who only knew how to play checkers would not want to run a chess club . Unless he or she was doing so only to cause the club problems .

    In either case , I am surprised I have not heard any complaints about the the attempt to make all married couples who combined incomes are 400,000 dollars a year pay an income tax. Seems like it is discriminatory towards domestic partners. But do not hear too many folks complaining about the liberal intolerance of only allowing the married couples to pay .

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  7. 9:07 PM,

    You are misinformed, the proposed tax is not just on married couples. It is also on individuals. The proposal is 5% on income in excess of $200,000 for individuals and $400,000 for married couples but not domestic partnerships. This means that a domestic partnership where one partner makes $250,000 and the other makes $50,000 will pay the tax but a married couple with the same incomes will not.

    Guess you were so busy looking for ways you are being discriminated against you missed the fact that you are being favored.

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  8. 9:07, that is because we don't belive in 'domestic' partners, only athuentic marraiges, of one man and one women, as God as set up for us!

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  9. I'm not a judge. I never was a lawyer. I don't know much of anything about the legal system.

    I wonder if the Supreme Court justices would let me into their meetings.

    I don't think my race, sex, age, has anything to do with it.

    I believe people may be kept out of meetings because of their behavior, or because they don't have business there.

    What business does an unrepentant sinner have in a Bible believing group? Unless he is willing to hear the truth that contradicts his life and manner of living, and give it the authority, what would be his purpose, or contribution to the group?

    Is our constitution for the purposes of destruction, hipocrisy, and confussion, or is it for life, liberty, (real liberty now) and the pursuit of happiness (which is in goodness of course)?

    I believe the constitution makes good sense and must be interpreted by such virtues as contained in it.

    It wasn't written to destroy itself was it? Was that it's purpose? I think not.

    But what do I know? I'm not educatated in legal matters.

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  10. 907 you are obvious an expert on discrimination from a liberal understanding of the word. Discrimination can be beneficial , say you get a better seat at a restaurant because your white or rich. Or you get a worse tax, better , or DIFFERENT tax in this case because you are a domestic partner and not married.

    So all the gay organizations are protesting this lack of being treated equally with married couples on this liberal income tax proposal?

    You show why so many people call gay rights special rights. If it suits you its equality , if not its again an ad homiem attack on the person making the point. Equality , if you were for it of married couples would say of course you would gay couples treated equally under the tax code as married couples . Regardless if it benefited , hurt, or just was neutral to your wallet.

    "cricketts"

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  11. double post to 907

    "Guess you were so busy looking for ways you are being discriminated against you missed the fact that you are being favored".

    Tax code wise I have been discriminated against , big time . But it has always been fiancially for my and family benefit . Got tax money back for my kids, and have done taxes for those kids who have even gotten more money then they put in because of Earned Income credit. from what i have been told , 47 percent of people in this nation do not pay taxes . I would assume the major number of those folks are white ? I am white . But I don't think that is fair to all the folks not getting public education as good as the rest of us , many who happen to be not white .


    Sorry I am not a victim. I think gays are, at least from the hatred seen given and taken by them when I check this web page out . But does not stop logic or equality to be held to a higher level . Because your liberal , gay , or any one who has has a rough road of it , it does not mean you should have special laws under the Constituition to try and make up for it . The income tax treats domestic partners differently then married couples . Now are you in favor of that or not ?

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  12. http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/2010/04/22/2010-04-22_lawsuit_gay_softball_league_said_team_wasnt_gay_enough_to_play.html

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  13. Did someone say a "gay christian"? Ain't no such person. The whole purpose of a Bible study is to grow closer to the One who wrote
    it and learn the resposibilities
    of that relationship, not to be
    politically correct. Last time I
    checked we still had the right to assemble with whomever we what and
    not assemble with whomever we want, anyplace we want, Read the
    Constitution! If someone is seeking to know God and repent from their sinful ways, they should be welcome in any Bible
    study!! If not, what's the point?
    To be disruptive and divisive?
    Not very enlightened is it?

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