Sunday, April 18, 2010

Discriminate If You Like, It Let's Me Know Who The Bigots Are

The Supreme Court is going to be hearing a case this week, Christian Legal Society Chapter v. Martinez, that has some pretty hefty implications for college groups across the nation. The Christian Legal Society is arguing that the policy of non-discrimination when it comes to admitting groups on the University of California, Hastings College Of The Law campus is unconstitutional because it doesn't allow the groups to bar people from joining them based on religious or sexual orientation reasons.

Who would have thought that it would have been a Christian group that wanted to discriminate against gays and atheists? I mean, it isn't like religion has a long history of openness and acceptance. But I digress.

In this particular case, as much as it pains me to say, I have to agree with the Christian group. The implications of this case reach a little further, a lot further, than just not discriminating against someone who wants to join your club. For example, if there was an atheist group that was not allowed to discriminate against religious people, a christian group could effectively pile the group with Christians, take all of the officer positions, and shut the group down. Easy peasy.

The sticking point is going to be that a group that operates on the campus actually receives funding from the state university system.
Official recognition brings the right to use the Hastings name and logo, access to an e-mail address with a link to the law school's network, office space and meeting rooms, and small grants from student-activity fees and university funds.

That is where you have to draw the line, for religious, atheist, gay, or white-supremacists groups. You shouldn't stop anyone from forming a group. Ever. But, if the group is based on something that does not correlate to education at the school, then there should be no help at all from the university system. This is not to say that you couldn't have a "LGBT Rights" group on the campus of Hastings that received funding from the state. That is an issue that attracts straight people and the LGBT community alike. There could also be a "Religious Freedom" group that received benefits. However, when you have a specifically Christian or Muslim or Jewish or, yes, Atheist group, then there should be no funding from the state system.

Besides, having the Christian group take a stand like this is fantastic. I love it when I can easily pick out a group of bigoted idiots.

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