Primarily Christians are under attack in this country, not muslims or Jews. Whether a student with shirt "I like Big Butts" defended by ACLU successfully against school district, but not a student wearing a shirt saying "John 3:16" or a nurse who refused to participate in a late term abortion, or an accounting graduate student expelled for not 'affirming the gay lifestyle', there are countless examples of the Far Left at war with Christianity and the moral foundations that have allowed this country to be #1 and world-leading. A stealth campaign of sorts, with many current cases in the courts at this moment you'll never hear about, this virus creeps slowly across the landscape. Obamacare ignores all whose religious convictions forbid them from using a hospital, and there is nothing in our Constitution to, in any way, allow or justify this state control.
Think of it this way: Should a Young Democrats club on a university campus be compelled to elect Republican officers? Should a student chapter of PETA be forced to be led by an ardent hunter and taxidermist?
If you say no, you're one up on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which ruled in a crucial case earlier this year that Christian clubs on university campuses forfeit official recognition unless they're open to non-Christian leaders and voting members.
The case, Christian Legal Society v. Martinez, centers on the contention by administrators at Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco that a campus chapter of the Christian Legal Society -- a nationwide association of Christian lawyers, judges, law students and professors -- is discriminating against people on the basis of religion because the chapter requires its elected officers and official members to sign a statement of faith embracing Christian theology and behavior.
CLS is challenging Hastings' superficial, unthinking and mechanical application of its nondiscrimination policy because it crushes rights protected by the First Amendment. Every student group on campus should be able to make sure its leaders and voting members agree with the purpose of the group.
Hastings didn't care to follow that logic, and neither did a district court or the Ninth Circuit, on consecutive appeals.
The Supreme Court likely took the Martinez case due to increasing numbers of such cases around the nation. A federal appeals court in Chicago ruled in favor of the Christian Legal Society in a similar dispute involving the nondiscrimination policy at Southern Illinois University.
The Alliance Defense Fund Center for Academic Freedom and the CLS Center for Law & Religious Freedom are involved in both that lawsuit and this one. ADF and its allies have sued to get Christian groups back on campus at numerous universities around the nation, including the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of Wisconsin.
As Christian beliefs stand in ever starker contrast to the campus culture, it has become academic de rigueur to punish the free association of Christian students and the free expression of their ideas on campus.
The persecution ranges from the simple cold-shoulder denials of official recognition, of rooms to meet in, and of the right to advertise Christian student events, to campus police breakups of Christian gatherings, threatened arrests of students expressing their faith, and even death threats from fellow students against Christians who persist in sharing their beliefs in the academic "marketplace of ideas."
The high court's newly announced intention to hear the Martinez case has profound implications for the religious freedom of students on American college and university campuses. The importance of the case is twofold:
First, the Constitution protects the rights of private student groups to select their message and their officers. The Supreme Court needs to rule emphatically against the renegade disregard the universities have shown these freedoms, which the First Amendment was meant to guarantee.
Second, universities are doing a tragic disservice to students -- the future leaders of America -- by training them to believe that it's appropriate for government officials to coerce and ostracize private organizations in order to conform to the prevailing orthodoxy that rules most college campuses today.
Do constitutional protections of free speech, free assembly and conscientious religious expression still apply in an academic environment increasingly controlled by Leftist philosophy and the legal hyperventilations of political correctness?
They should, and for precisely that reason.
Alan Sears is president and CEO of the Alliance Defense Fund, which is representing the Christian Legal Society together with the CLS Center for Law & Religious Freedom in the case before the U.S. Supreme Court.
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