Phi Beta Cons

The Right take on higher education.

As the Martinez Oral Argument Approaches . . .


We’re only six days from the oral argument in Christian Legal Society v. Martinez, and I had to highlight my Alliance Defense Fund colleague Greg Baylor’s excellent response to a recent CLS Statement of Faith) lead CLS Bible studies. Does it make sense to force CLS to allow individuals who reject the Bible to lead a study of it? Is this a sensible compromise?

Mr. Krattenmaker also suggests maintaining the nondiscrimination codes while refusing to enforce the codes until a real-life, aggrieved student comes forward (in most cases, the university pro-actively ejects Christian groups from campus before anyone complains that they’ve been excluded). Greg responds:

There is actual a kernel of common sense here. No actual person who rejected CLS’s religious views sought to be a leader or voting member of CLS at Hastings. If Hastings simply responded to complaints, this dispute might have never arisen. The problem, though, is that Hastings required CLS to promise in advance that it would neverconsider religious belief or immoral conduct in selecting its officers and voting members. CLS could not secure access to meeting space, funding, and communications mechanisms without making that advance promise.  Hastings essentially said to CLS, “you can’t use your Statement of Faith in choosing your leaders and voting members.” Understandably, CLS could not make such a promise, and Hastings ejected it from the speech forum it set up for student groups.

The O’Neil/Krattenmaker suggestion points out what is really going on in this case.  Hastings is not really trying to open CLS to students who reject its religious beliefs but nonetheless desire not only to attend and participate (which CLS already allows) but to serve as leaders and voting members. There is no evidence that such a student ever existed, and it is difficult to imagine what legitimate motive such a student might have.  Instead of protecting actual people from the unjust denial of some valuable benefit on an irrelevant and invidious basis, Hastings is simply trying to “send a message.” Its message is that CLS’s religious and moral beliefs are wrong.  Hastings is trying to communicate its own view that same-sex sexual conduct is not immoral.  Hastings wants to loudly proclaim that it disagrees with CLS.

Read the whole thing.


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