The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America (UOJCA), expressed its deep disappointment with today’s 5-4 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court allowing a state government entity to deny the First Amendment rights of a religious organization.
The Supreme Court ruled a law school can legally deny recognition to a Christian student group that won’t permit those who refuse to agree with its statement of beliefs join its membership. The Court rejected an appeal from the Christian Legal Society, which sued University of California’s Hastings College of the Law because the school had denied the CLS club official recognition as a campus group and thus equal access to law school meeting rooms and other resources. CLS requires that voting members sign a statement of faith that, among other points, regards “unrepentant participation in or advocacy of a sexually immoral lifestyle” as being inconsistent with that faith. But Hastings said no recognized campus groups may exclude people due to religious belief or sexual orientation.
The majority opinion, written by Justice Ginsburg, upheld the lower court rulings saying the Christian group’s First Amendment rights of association, free speech and free exercise were not violated by the college’s decision. The central rationale for the majority was that Hastings Law School was not singling out CLS, or any religious group, for this treatment but that it applied its “reasonable” policy requiring students groups to admit “all comers” equally and consistently. The opinion also emphasized that this analysis is in the unique context of a university environment.
A dissenting opinion, written by Justice Alito, reviewed the factual record of the case extensively and demonstrated that the Hastings policy was neither consistent in its content nor application and was, in fact, designed to target CLS, and groups like it, for exclusion. The UOJCA filed a “friend of the court” brief in the case in support of CLS – a brief which was cited in Justice Alito’s dissenting opinion.
Nathan Diament, UOJCA director of public policy, issued the following statement:
“We are deeply disappointed by the Supreme Court’s ruling today. If the First Amendment guarantees anything, it guarantees the right of people of faith to associate and join in expressions of faith without state interference and without the state placing a burden on their religious activities. Today, the Supreme Court’s majority has given state universities a green light and a roadmap to condition a religious group’s rights on the state’s preferred beliefs. This decision should deeply trouble all those who cherish religious freedom.”
(YWN Desk – NYC)
i guess we won one and lost another
I agree with the OU. It opens the door for admission for the greatest Arab haters of Israel to every Hillel Society between the Verrazano to the Golden Gate.
“We are deeply disappointed by the Supreme Court’s ruling today. If the First Amendment guarantees anything, it guarantees the right of people of faith to associate and join in expressions of faith without state interference and without the state placing a burden on their religious activities.
It still does. But you DON’T have the right to the institution/state’s money. There’s a saying about having your cake and eating it too…
Where I went to school, we had a very nice black woman who joined the Jewish Student Union. It didn’t detract at all.
This is an extremely carefully written article. Kudos to the UOJCA for finding a way to make what the CLS did sound noble.
The Court’s decision doesn’t prevent any organization from limiting membership based on support for an ideological goal. What it prevents is having a religious or sexual “test” for becoming a member. The “Religious zionist” group can require that supporters favor religious zionist, and the “Neturei Karta” group can require that one oppses zionism (or the young Democrats can require that one supports the Democrats) – but saying a class of persons can’t join is the problem.
The campus atheists and the campus gay rights groups exist, but don’t have an elaborate faith test for joining, and they manage fine. As long as the Christian group and the anti-gay group are treated the same as the atheists and the gay groups, there is no discrimination issue.
It should be noted the US abolished “faith tests” in 1787, and have managed to discriminate nicely ever since. As this is a law school, the students should be clever enough to figure out how to exclude people they disagree with without reliance on a prohibited test.
is the OU a kashrut organization or are they in politics.
Besmart, go the website of the Orthodox Union of Jewish Congregations of America (that’s the full name, IIRC but you’ll find it under OU) and you’ll see just what else they do. (Many of us can and should thank them for the pillars of our communities who are NCSY alumni, for starters.)
Whoops, no edit function. This is what happens when you skim.
Read the first line of the article. OU kashrus is just one function of the UOJCA.