The Jury Talks Back

3/19/2009

Court: Christian student group can’t exclude non-believers, gays

Filed under: Uncategorized — aunursa @ 5:39 am

Last week a federal appeals court ruled that UC Hastings College of Law can refuse to recognize and provide funding for a Christian student group that excludes non-Christians as well as gays and lesbians.  The Ninth U.S. Circus Circuit Court ruled that the school may require that the Christian Legal Society “accept all comers as members, even if those individuals disagree with the mission of the group.”  The group requires that members endorse a statement of faith and prohibits anyone who shows “unrepentant homosexual conduct.”

One wonders whether the University and the Court have considered the implications of the decision.  Would a Jewish group be forced to accept Christians as members — or those who reject Israel’s right to exist?  Would a campus LGBT group be required to accept members that oppose same-sex marriage?  What about a student Republican or Democrat group that rejects those who support a different political party?  Would they lose funding or recognition?

The ruling appears to be in direct contradiction to U.S. Supreme Court precedent.  The high court has previously ruled that a public institution must provide equal access to campus facilities and funding to religious organizations as it provides to other student organizations. Decisions must be made on a content-neutral basis. (Widmar v. Vincent, 454 U.S. 263 (1981); Board of Regents v. Southworth, 529 U.S. 217 (2000); Rosenberger v. University of Virginia, 515 U.S. 819 (1995)) 

Hopefully the Christian Legal Society will appeal this hairbrained decision to the Supreme Court.


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