The U.S. Supreme Court will need the wisdom of Solomon as it navigates the case of Hastings vs. Martinez. At stake are questions of free speech in America and whether faith groups are being unduly targeted for discrimination. In 2004 Hastings College in San Francisco withdrew the Legal Christian Society’s right to be recognized as an official club on their campus. The reason? The society asked would-be members to sign a statement of faith consistent with a biblical standard of sexual morality.
Hastings College maintains that such a criteria discriminates against homosexuals. The Christian Legal Society states that all people are welcome to participate but voting members and officers should be those who share the unique beliefs of the club to which they are seeking membership. With club status comes access to campus facilities, student e-mail lists and activity fee funds.
The following are 10 questions pertaining to Christians, discrimination and the Supreme Court:
1. Hastings recognizes clubs that center on beliefs as diverse as Judaism, feminism, gay and animal rights. Why the undue calling out of a Christian group?
2. Although Hastings bases its argument on discrimination against homosexuals, no avowed homosexual ever sought acceptance into the C.L.S. at Hastings. Why the contrived argument?
3. What happened to First Amendment Rights?
4. Are we ready for White Supremacists being given the right to be officers of the Black Law Student Association for fear that any other action would constitute discrimination?
5. Why are we not highlighting the outstanding contributions to community and society by faith-based clubs across America?
6. If people of faith are tolerant of clubs that adhere to beliefs that are contrary to their convictions, why is the adverse not true?
7. Is it possible that the true discrimination in this case is against those who practice their faith in an increasingly secular society?
8. Have we become so politically correct that we no longer feel comfortable being biblically correct?
9. Should people be given second-class citizenship based on their beliefs?
10. Are we on the verge of outlawing groups in America solely on the basis that we disagree with their views?
The Christian Legal Society would still be an official club on the Hastings College campus if they had agreed to be Christian in name only and not in practice. The C.L.S. asks for nothing more than is guaranteed in the First Amendment: The free exercise of their religious beliefs, the freedom to speak and the ability to peaceably assemble. The reverberations of this case will be felt for years to come with the rights of far more than Christian clubs at stake.
Rev. Bill Shuler is pastor of Capital Life Church in Arlington, Virginia. For more, visit CapitalLife.org.