Friday, April 16, 2010

US Supreme Court and the place of religious societies at secular institutions

The supreme court is now considering Christian Legal Society vs Martinez which involves important aspects of religion in society.  And it's not an easy case to evaluate.  At issue is a pledge that the Christian Legal Society at the Hastings College of Law in San Fransisco requires all members to sign.  That pledge espouses what are commonly accepted now as Christian values (although these eternal truths seem to change with society), including a ban on "all acts of sexual conduct outside of God's design for marriage between one man and one woman."  The college, in the body of the Dean, Leo Martinez, banned the organization based on this requirement.

So does the group have the legal right to associate as they see fit?  The example they give is that the university won't force a black student group to accept a KKK member.  Altough the university sees it the other way:  they would demand that a white supremicist group accept black members.  Of course, there probably isn't a white supremecist group at Hastings, but considering the college's location, the Christian pledge does not seem far removed from that type of ideology.

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