Sunday, April 18, 2010

Christian Group Seeks To Discriminate In California School

The Supreme Court is to consider a case regarding school policy in California, which could have far reaching effects. In this particular instance, the University of California's Hastings College of the Law requires officially recognized school groups to admit any student who wants to join. The college is defending its anti-discrimination policy against the Christian Legal Society, which is seeking official recognition but refuses to abide by the anti-discrimination policy, believing it violates their freedom of speech.
"Hastings' policy is a threat to every group that seeks to form and define its own voice," the group told the court in a brief. The case, Christian Legal Society v. Martinez, will be argued in the Supreme Court Monday morning.

Hastings counters that the CLS, a national organization that seeks to "proclaim, love and serve Jesus Christ through the study and practice of law," is demanding special treatment. It wants the college's official stamp of approval and the access to benefits and student activity fees that come with it, but it will not commit to following the nondiscrimination policy that every other student group follows.
The some of the benefits that come with official recognition include modest funding, and as the school states, they are not forcing the CLS to abide by their policy. They only require the group to conform to its "viewpoint-neutral open-membership policy."
The controversy also raises questions about who needs protection. CLS lawyer Michael W. McConnell, a former federal judge and director of the Stanford Constitutional Law Center, likens the underdog status of Christian groups at liberal law schools such as Hastings to the way gay rights groups might have felt on a Southern campus years ago.

"One of the things I find kind of pleasantly ironic about the briefing in this case is we find ourselves relying on about a dozen cases that involve gay rights groups in universities," said McConnell, who was appointed as an appellate judge by President George W. Bush. The other side, he said, relies on decisions and legislative acts that helped Bible clubs.
I believe that Hastings College is in the right regarding their policy. One thing that I did not see mentioned is that the University of California is a public university and receives government funding, and considering becoming a recognized organization includes the receipt of college money, and in essence, public money, then I would believe it is safe to say that the non-discrimination policy would be perfectly legal, and as the article indicates, the group has the option to continue operating as a non-sanctioned group, and exercise their free speech in the absence of funding and benefits. In order to receive government money, any group would have to surrender some of their rights.

This is common in any business. For example, businesses can punish employees should they do something like use profanity or do something deemed inappropriate. While the employee may argue that the corporation's policies infringe on their personal freedoms, the individual enters into an agreement upon starting employment with the company, and so their actions can be limited by the corporation's policies.

I also find it funny that an organization that aims to "proclaim, love and serve Jesus Christ through the study and practice of law" is seeking to discriminate.

Would Jesus discriminate?

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