Discrimination has no place on campus

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Newt Gingrich and Jim Garlow make a superficially attractive case for official "recognition" of the Christian Legal Society at the University of California's Hastings College of Law ["Campus test of religious freedom," op-ed, April 16].

To hear Mr. Gingrich and Mr. Garlow tell it, one might conclude that Christians at Hastings cannot form their society, cannot meet on campus, cannot limit membership to Christians and cannot require members to observe Christian principles. Disturbing.

But it's just not true.

The real concern is that "recognized" student organizations are eligible for university funding -- public money collected from student activity fees and other sources -- for conferences, travel and other purposes.

Therefore, consistent with Supreme Court cases and applicable laws, the University of California, a public school, requires groups seeking "recognition" not to discriminate on the basis of religion, race, sexual orientation or other factors. Faith-based groups can be formed and can meet on campus but without "recognition" and the public funding that recognition entails.

The Christian Legal Society wants to "discriminate" -- by being Christian.

Perfectly sensible.

What makes no sense is to require taxpayers and students who pay mandatory activity fees to fund the society -- a society from which many are excluded on the basis of their different religious beliefs.

Michael Sandberg, Great Falls


The April 19 editorial "Politically correct, legally wrong" missed one important factor: What is wrong with diversity? If an organization is unable to withstand a democratic challenge to its core values from within its own ranks, then maybe there is something wrong with those core values and the organization doesn't deserve recognition as a student organization.

Daniel Davidson, Rockville

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