By Tom Quiner
The Supreme Court has decided: Christian college students who wish to form a group sanctioned by Universities are not allowed to require that their members be Christian. Even more, Christian groups may not require that their members abide by Christian principles.
All of this came about because of the court’s decision in the case of Christian Legal Society v. Martinez. Read the background on the case on my earlier post titled “Political correctness vs. common sense” (https://quinersdiner.com/2010/04/).
The liberal block of the court was joined by Justice Anthony Kennedy. They determined that a Christian group acted inappropriately in demanding that their members refrain from sexual activity outside of marriage, and that sexual relations be confined to only heterosexual married couples. Specifically, the court said that the Christian Legal Society overtly discriminated against prospective members on the basis of religion and sexual orientation.
College students have been denied the right of freedom of association, a ringing triumph for political correctness over common sense. Here is what Justice Alito, joined by Justices Roberts, Scalia, and Thomas, wrote in dissent:
“The proudest boast of our free speech jurisprudence is that we protect the freedom to express ‘the thought that we hate.’ United States v. Schwimmer, 279 U. S. 644, 654–655 (1929) (Holmes, J., dissenting). 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.
“The Hastings College of the Law, a state institution, permits student organizations to register with the law school and severely burdens speech by unregistered groups. Hastings currently has more than 60 registered groups and, in all its history, has denied registration to exactly one: the Christian Legal Society (CLS). CLS claims that Hastings refused to register the group because the law school administration disapproves of the group’s viewpoint and thus violated the group’s free speech rights.
“I do not think it is an exaggeration to say that today’s decision is a serious setback for freedom of expression in this country. Our First Amendment reflects a “profound national commitment to the principle that debate on public issues should be uninhibited, robust, and wide-open.” New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, 376 U. S. 254, 270 (1964). Even if the United States is the only Nation that shares this commitment to the same extent, I would not change our law to conform to the international norm. I fear that the Court’s decision marks a turn in that direction. Even those who find CLS’s views objectionable should be concerned about the way the group has been treated—by Hastings, the Court of Appeals, and now this Court. I can only hope that this decision will turn out to be an aberration.”
I discussed the issue with a law student enrolled at Duke University. I told him that my concern was that individuals unfriendly to Christian groups would be emboldened to join those groups just to agitate and disrupt the group’s Christian mission. He countered that no one would want to subject themselves to such an effort, that no one would want to associate with people with whom they had such profound disagreements.
What do you think?
Are there enough evangelical atheists on college campuses, for example, who would band together to try to hijack a Christian group on a college campus?
Am I being too sensitive? Or are the forces of political correctness that motivated to disrupt Christian and other conservative groups?