Left-leaning US Supreme Court curtails religious liberty on campus

Story from Fox News. (H/T Family Research Council)

Excerpt:

An ideologically split Supreme Court ruled Monday that a law school can legally deny recognition to a Christian student group that won’t let gays join, with one justice saying that the First Amendment does not require a public university to validate or support the group’s “discriminatory practices.”

The court turned away an appeal from the Christian Legal Society, which sued to get funding and recognition from the University of California’s Hastings College of the Law. The CLS requires that voting members sign a statement of faith and regards “unrepentant participation in or advocacy of a sexually immoral lifestyle” as being inconsistent with that faith.

But Hastings, which is in San Francisco, said no recognized campus groups may exclude people due to religious belief or sexual orientation.

The court on a 5-4 judgment upheld the lower court rulings saying the Christian group’s First Amendment rights of association, free speech and free exercise were not violated by the college’s nondiscrimination policy.

[…]Justice Samuel Alito wrote a strong dissent for the court’s conservatives, saying the opinion was “a serious setback for freedom of expression in this country.”

“Our proudest boast of our free speech jurisprudence is that we protect the freedom to express ‘the thought that we hate,'” Alito said, quoting a previous court decision. “Today’s decision rests on a very different principle: no freedom for expression that offends prevailing standards of political correctness in our country’s institutions of higher learning.”

[…]Justice John Paul Stevens was even harsher, saying while the Constitution “may protect CLS’s discriminatory practices off campus, it does not require a public university to validate or support them.”

Stevens, who plans to retire this summer, added that “other groups may exclude or mistreat Jews, blacks and women — or those who do not share their contempt for Jews, blacks and women. A free society must tolerate such groups. It need not subsidize them, give them its official imprimatur, or grant them equal access to law school facilities.”

It should be noted that Sam Alito is a George W. Bush appointee, as was John Roberts. Stevens is widely regarded as the second most liberal Justice on the SCOTUS, with Ruth Bader-Ginsburg who wrote for the majority being the most liberal.

How did the Supreme Court become so liberal? Well, because a majority Christian country voted in Presidents who appointed liberal judges. I have had Christians whom I respect and admire, who love free speech, tell me that they valued things like universal health care, social welfare programs for single mothers and public education. If you want a secular government to take over things in private industry, so that the government has a monopoly funded by mandatory tax collection from Christians, then you get a secular Supreme Court. A secular Supreme Court has no respect for your religious liberty. And the Democrats are the party of secularism. A vote for Democrats is a vote against religious liberty. A vote against the public practice of Christianity.

If you young Christians are looking for something to do, why not get your law degrees and join the ADF or the HSLDA? And I am especially talking about you homeschoolers. Don’t homeschool yourselves out of a position of influence. If you want to keep your right to be a Christian in public, you’re going to have to fight for those rights. Because standing apart from the academy is equivalent to giving up your rights. You better have a plan to go to college, and I do mean a good college, and grad school after that. No exceptions.

By the way, you can learn more about Barack Obama’s appointee to the Supreme Court. She is going to be FAR WORSE than John Paul Stevens. And again, lots of Christians voted for Obama and thus will cause a loss of religious liberty. Obama has already passed laws that restricted Christians from being as free as they were under Bush, not the least of which is the ability not to be complicit in funding the Big Abortion industry.

13 thoughts on “Left-leaning US Supreme Court curtails religious liberty on campus”

  1. Is it such a fine line between discrimination and free association? What kind of buffoon can call a Christian club discriminatory if it was formed for the purpose of meeting with other Christians? It’s obvious they want homosexuals to be allowed to join, but the club had moral guidelines for members?

    Real discrimination would be to not allow a club for those not welcomed by the Christian club. Or, to not allow the Christian club because of the way they wish to run their club. Can real Christians join the homosexual club and if so, what will happen when the Christians try to assert their beliefs which conflict with those of the homosexuals?

    Actually, the ruling means just that, that Christians MUST be allowed, and men must be allowed in women’s clubs, and whites must be allowed in clubs promoting minorities’ concerns. Basically it means no clubs, or just one huge meeting of all people with disparate interests and causes. I guess no student clubs at all is the only way to go.

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    1. Dude, I know you understand that this will be just like HRCs in Canada – it is not enforced both ways evenly. On Christians, conservatives, pro-lifers, and pro-marriagers are going to be hit by this law. Laws are just playthings to the left. Their only concern is power, not principle.

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  2. I don’t understand why a Christian student group should prevent homosexuals joining anyway. I can’t see any reasonable justification.

    Why not kick out all the sinners out of the group, leaving precisely nobody?

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    1. As I understand it, the club had a behavioral code of conduct, similar to the Boy Scouts (as an example) that wouldn’t necessarily prohibit homosexuals from joining, but remain members for openly defending their decision to engage in homosexual practices. THAT would be like someone being an active thief and wanting to be a member. There’s a difference also in succumbing to temptation now and then and an actual lifestyle built on the sinful behavior in question.

      If a homosexual desired membership in order to help overcome his desires, I’m guessing that homosexual would be welcomed.

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  3. With all due respect for the seriousness of this issue for Christians, this is the same Supreme Court that turned corporations into persons when it comes to political donations and the one that stood squarely for the rights of gun owners.

    According to yesterday’s New York TImes: “Once again, the court’s conservative majority imposed its selective reading of American history, citing the country’s violent separation from Britain and the battles over slavery as proof that the authors of the Constitution and its later amendments considered gun ownership a fundamental right. The court’s members ignored the present-day reality of Chicago, where 258 public school students were shot last school year — 32 fatally.”

    What’s next: guns for club members?

    Here’s the link:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/29/opinion/29tue1.html?hp

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    1. The present day reality of dead kids in Chicago is a direct result of law-abiding citizens not being able to defend themselves. The kids doing the shooting didn’t apply for gun permits or even buy their guns in the normal manner. THAT’S the problem with anti-gun laws. Only scumbags and cops have guns in Chicago and the scumbags outnumber the cops.

      Oh, wait. I forgot. Mayor Daley has gun rights, too. He either carries or has his body-guards to shoot people on his behalf. I believe the same goes for aldermen. Somehow they’re right to protect themselves is more important than the people they are supposed to be serving.

      I would also question the notion of the “conservative majority” of the SCOTUS. They are not in the majority just because one of the liberals votes with the conservatives once in awhile.

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      1. There is no data to suggest that law-abiding citizens with guns would be able to outgun the thugs with guns. Basically, you’d have a shoot out. Only an uncontrolled shoot out.

        Hasn’t happened yet, but it may. You’d have people with guns in churches, where passions can run high, in bars, where people are drunk and often deranged. Then there are all the incidents of home violence. You can’t tell me that law abiding citizens will always remain cool, calm and collected during an argument when they have a gun in their hands. People who have a way to threaten others, generally use it. That’s the purpose of having a weapon.

        They will be used to shoot some intruders, sure. And also to settle scores that should be handled peaceably.

        I know a girl who shot both her parents with a licensed gun. Killed them from the back seat of the car. Up to that point, she’d been a normal college freshman.

        Who’s to say that she’s not representative for how guns legally held will be used?

        No data for that, either.

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        1. There’s no data in your comment, either. Have you actually looked at studies of how banning/unbanning firearms affects violent crime rates?

          Here’s an article from Reason magazine. They are libertarian centrists.

          Excerpt:

          The illusion that the English government had protected its citizens by disarming them seemed credible because few realized the country had an astonishingly low level of armed crime even before guns were restricted. A government study for the years 1890-92, for example, found only three handgun homicides, an average of one a year, in a population of 30 million. In 1904 there were only four armed robberies in London, then the largest city in the world. A hundred years and many gun laws later, the BBC reported that England’s firearms restrictions “seem to have had little impact in the criminal underworld.” Guns are virtually outlawed, and, as the old slogan predicted, only outlaws have guns. Worse, they are increasingly ready to use them.

          Nearly five centuries of growing civility ended in 1954. Violent crime has been climbing ever since. Last December, London’s Evening Standard reported that armed crime, with banned handguns the weapon of choice, was “rocketing.” In the two years following the 1997 handgun ban, the use of handguns in crime rose by 40 percent, and the upward trend has continued. From April to November 2001, the number of people robbed at gunpoint in London rose 53 percent.

          Gun crime is just part of an increasingly lawless environment. From 1991 to 1995, crimes against the person in England’s inner cities increased 91 percent. And in the four years from 1997 to 2001, the rate of violent crime more than doubled. Your chances of being mugged in London are now six times greater than in New York. England’s rates of assault, robbery, and burglary are far higher than America’s, and 53 percent of English burglaries occur while occupants are at home, compared with 13 percent in the U.S., where burglars admit to fearing armed homeowners more than the police. In a United Nations study of crime in 18 developed nations published in July, England and Wales led the Western world’s crime league, with nearly 55 crimes per 100 people.

          This sea change in English crime followed a sea change in government policies. Gun regulations have been part of a more general disarmament based on the proposition that people don’t need to protect themselves because society will protect them. It also will protect their neighbors: Police advise those who witness a crime to “walk on by” and let the professionals handle it.

          See, that’s called evidence. EVIDENCE. Not phantom arguments about “there are no studies that prove that MCS is a lobster-pirate, therefore she is not a lobster-pirate”.

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          1. Wintery, is lobster-pirate a term of endearment? I note that lobsters are tasty creatures and pirates are kind of “in.” So I’m a bit confused. But I’ll take is as a compliment.

            Listen, I haven’t looked for evidence but I’m of a mind to just so I have something to offer in this discussion other than personal observation. Will have to look again at what you provided above. It seems a bit dated and it’s from the UK. SHould be some comparable figures for the US, yes?

            As you can surmise, I’m not big on gun usage (or hunting). Had a boyfriend once who was a bigtime hunter (bow and arrow and guns). He went bear hunting once and taught me how to shoot a shotgun. We ate a lot pheasant he brought home. And I dusted a few clay pigeons in my day but never developed an interest in hunting (being an animal lover, and thinking it’s ok to hunt if you’re going to eat what you hunt. And no, my BF was not into eating bear. He just wanted to kill one, to which I strenuously objected). To no avail. He went bear hunting. But the bears outsmarted him. He didn’t shoot a one. Hah!

            On the handgun front, I will obviously need to consider more evidence than you’ve provided, but I am frankly scared by guns, I would get no sense of security and would rather feel more threatened being in a place with anyone other than a cop carrying a concealed weapon.

            I did see a special on the nightly news in which ordinary people were used in a test to see how much safety improved in a classroom hostage situation when some students were armed with “guns.”

            These guns didn’t shoot real bullets, but still enabled the testers to trace the trajectory of the “bullets” fired. They were also able to see how well the armed students were at taking out the hostage taker and protect the other students.

            The conclusion of the test was that in that type of situation (and granted, not all confrontations are like that one) the students with the guns (some of whom had been trained in the use of firearms) weren’t good enough to be able to shoot the hostage taker (HT) without a) getting shot themselves and b) shooting a lot of other people accidentally.

            I’m not saying that all people with handguns are inept, but I think that many people think they are going to be like Charles Bronson. They think it’s easy to take out an intruder but they aren’t trained in keeping their own bodies protected (therefore, they get shot) and they’re also too excited to keep other, innocent people out of the line of fire and often times shoot them accidentally.

            My safety strategy is to stay out of dangerous places and to know that God is with me wherever I go and will protect me and guide others. So far, so good. The idea of people carrying concealed weapons (in their cars, into churches, in bars and wherever else) scares the heck out of me. That is not the kind of world I want to be living in.

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        2. The Second Amendment allows citizens to have guns (under the language of the time: “right of the people to keep and bear arms”). That includes handguns.

          Statistics and anecdotes to demonstrate that is a good idea, bad idea, great idea or terrible idea are completely irrelevant. It is a Constitutional right in America.

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  4. I’m slightly amused. CLS could (and did) still meet on campus. Hastings even provided facilities and allowed them to post advertisements on bulletin boards. What it did NOT do was provide funding (money) nor allow them access to other RSO advertisement medium (i.e., direct internet linkage, if I am reading this correctly.)

    There was no religious liberty being repressed; nor free speech—they were allowed to practice their beliefs. No—what they were demanding was a “right” to money.

    Always comes down to money.

    It is amusing that Christians worship a God who “owns the cattle on a thousand hills,” but if they feel even the slightest touch in the pocketbook, they cry foul. Almost as if this God is unable to provide for their financial needs….

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    1. 1) Are the Christian students paying fees to the anti-Christian university for other non-Christian clubs sanctioned by the university?
      2) Are the parents of the Christian students being forced at gunpoint to pay taxes to support an anti-Christian university?
      3) Why are Christian clubs being singled out? Do you think that if the situation were reversed that this case would even have reached the Supreme Court?

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  5. Wintery Knight,

    Good questions.

    1) Although I could nitpick this question’s phrasing; the short answer to the spirit of the interrogatory is, “Yes.” Much the same way Democratic student funds may be used to facilitate a Republican student organization, or other examples.

    Again…so what?

    a) They are allowed to meet (and are actually given some of the privileges, despite not having RSO status) and express their religious views to their hearts content.

    b) Aren’t Christians tapped into the Creator of the Universe? The Maker of the stars, galaxies, time, space and energy? Not to mention diamond, rubies, pearls and gold? What need have Christians for money?

    Hard to convince people Christianity is “different” when Christians clamor for lucre as much as every other club—the Republican club, the Democrat club, the ex-footballer club…with the same whiny battle cry, “I want MINE!”

    2) Yep. The same way my taxes pay for faith-based initiatives. Welcome to democracy at its finest.

    3) This one I have to break down (ya threw me a curve ball by asking two questions in one! *wink*)

    Why are Christian clubs being singled out?

    I am not sure they are. I have read where secular student organizations also had trouble obtaining status on campus.

    Secondly, it may be our choice of focus. Possibly if we followed Hindu websites or Muslim medium or African-American forums we would find they equally complain of being singled out. I don’t follow such sites, so I don’t know.

    But again, to address the spirit…I think the society is changing. (Telling you something you already know, of course.) 40 years ago, a law against discrimination based upon sexual orientation would be extremely uncommon. Now it is far more common, both nationally in North America and Internationally.

    Christianity’s traditional anti-homosexual stance was mainstream; accepted by everyone—nominal Christian, Christian, non-Christian alike. Now it is becoming more UNacceptable. And Christianity’s anti-homosexualism is seen as counter-cultural. Antiquated.

    You may notice CLS’ Statement of Faith said nothing about homosexuality, but the practice of disallowing people based upon their belief and sexual orientation is what got them in trouble.

    That’s my opinion…take it or leave it.

    Do you think if the situation were reversed this case would have reached the Supreme Court?

    No. Primarily because Christian groups tend to have the resources to take things this distance. Other groups are stuck relying upon the ACLU which simply does not have ability to pursue it.

    Ironic, considering the basis of the complaint is about money, eh?

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