Thursday, July 20, 2006

Gay rights vs Freedom of Religion

When “religious rights” and “gay rights” come into conflict, which side should win? Southern Illinois University is one of the latest to attack freedom of religion by seeking to force a Christian group to include those who openly practice homosexual sex.

In an excellent article in the National Review Online, David French argues that this is not about competing rights at all. He asks:

“Since when has any person of any race, creed, color, gender, or sexual orientation ever had a ‘right’ to join a private, expressive organization when he or she does not share that organization's goals, mission, or values? This is not a ‘right’ that exists in American law. Let's be clear: the case at SIU (as well as the current, similar lawsuits at Hastings, Cal State, and elsewhere) do not involve competing ‘rights’ but instead represents an assault on fundamental and traditional constitutional liberties by identity-group activists who cannot abide the existence of coherent, dissenting views on campus (or, more broadly, in society at large).”

Mr. French concludes, “So, when universities—in their zeal to indoctrinate their students in cultural leftism — seek to stamp out dissent by demanding that Christian groups open their leadership and membership to individuals who are actively opposed to orthodox Christianity, they are not defending any group's "rights" but instead making ideologically motivated demands that would dramatically restrict the fundamental liberties of Christians (and all other expressive organizations).”

Please read the rest of David French’s short, but excellent article at NRO.


Comrade Anonymous said...

While I don't believe a religious group should be forced to include gays, the issue at hand is actually framed quite a bit differently than the National Review article claims. If you look at the article it refers to, the issue in the case is whether the university should be forced to officially recognize a group that does not abide by its anti-discrimination policies. The question is actually whether the Christian Legal Society has a "right" to be officially recognized by the university. It is perfectly free to exist and meet without official recognition. But the CLS is claiming that it has a "right" to be officially recognized by the university even if it disobeys the university's stated policy. No one is "forcing" CLS to accept gays. The university is merely saying tht if the group wants to be officially recognized it must abide by the university's stated policy. It seems to me it is the Christian group that is demanding a "right" that doesn't exist not gays.

Ed Merwin, Jr. said...

Comrade A: The issue of free association (a constitutional first amendmant right) is what is exemplified in this case, as well as others across the country. Fortunately there are groups such as the Christian Law Association that are helping to maintain this view.