Supreme Court to Decide Christian Legal Society v. Martinez

Ashley Thorne

The Supreme Court has granted certiorari in the case Christian Legal Society v. Martinez. The case aims to settle a longstanding controversy: whether a religious student group, recognized or funded by a public university, has the right to specify that its members must share the group’s religious beliefs. 

Christian Legal Society (CLS) is a group of Christian lawyers (“Seeking Justice with the Love of God”) with chapters in multiple cities. The Hastings College of Law of the University of California denied recognition to the CLS chapter on campus, claiming that the Society violated the College’s policy on nondiscrimination.  

Hastings, however, does recognize Law Students for Reproductive Justice, the La Raza Law Students Association, the Hastings Animal Law Society, the Hastings Jewish Law Students Association, and a group called OUTLAW, which exists “To promote a positive atmosphere at Hastings for lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgendered, and queer students. This includes educating the community at large in order to alleviate and eradicate homophobia and other affronts to human dignity.” Each of these groups is ideological in nature, and participation in them means sharing their values.

An animal rights club wouldn’t admit someone who supports tests on animals; a Jewish group wouldn’t admit anti-Semitic people. It seems to us common sense that a Christian group should be given the same respect as other cause-driven student organizations.  

This appears to be a case where secular academe tries to crowd out organizations that don’t tow the politically correct line. We can only hope that the Supreme Court will choose to end this folly. 

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March 23, 2011


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