Thursday, July 01, 2010


In Christian Legal Society v. Martinez, the Supreme Court ruled that a Christian campus group recognized and funded by the University of California's Hastings College of the Law can't deny membership to those who don't subscribe to its tenets (notably on homosexuality) because that violates the schools "accept all comers" policy for group funding. Lou Engle, a prominent leader of the religious right, thinks that's going to lead to the Apocalypse for Christians:

A 5-4 Supreme Court decision Monday requiring Christian campus groups on public universities to accept gay students as members and leaders may signal the beginning of religious persecution in the U.S., says prayer leader Lou Engle.

"This is the first time in U.S. history where the Supreme Court has actually ruled that gender rights now trump religious rights, which means this is the beginning of the possible coming harassment and persecution of the church because it's going to be clear that the true church will take a stand only on the Word of God," Engle, founder of TheCall prayer movement, said today....

Um, this applies only to schools, and publicly funded schools at that, and only to schools that require all school groups to accept all comers, and then that applies only to campus groups that seek to be recognized and funded by the school ... but never mind. Engle says it's the beginning of the end of Christianity in America, so I guess it is.

Seriously, if there's any real consequence to this, I think it might be an unintended one. At Townhall, Mike Adams (who teaches at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington) makes this "immodest proposal":

I can't stand atheists. And I plan to do something about them. Thankfully, the U.S. Supreme Court has given me a powerful tool to use in my war against the godless. Earlier this week, the Court ruled that a public university may require all student organizations to admit any student as a voting member or officer. The decision applies even to a student who is openly hostile to the group's fundamental beliefs.

So, when I get back to the secular university in August, I plan to round up the students I know who are most hostile to atheism. Then I'm going to get them to help me find atheist-haters willing to join atheist student groups across the South. I plan to use my young fundamentalist Christian warriors to undermine the mission of every group that disagrees with me on the existence of God.

... we will seek to destroy groups whose names are even remotely suspicious. If I see any words like "atheist," agnostic", or even "free-thinker" I will know they are a group of godless heathens. Then we'll move in for the kill....

Is he really going to do this? I dunno. But, wherever this ruling is held to apply, I could easily imagine James O'Keefe-style harassment, in which smirking pranksters wave copies of this decision and demand to become members of liberal, Democratic, Muslim, and atheist groups (videotaping themselves all the while). Like Adams, they'll want to destroy these groups, or at least make their activities difficult if not impossible.

Meanwhile, right-wing and Christian-right groups on campuses with policies of this kind will simply exempt themselves from school funding, turning instead to deep-pocketed conservative foundations, just like the right-wing campus press.

Eventually it's going to turn out that an "accept all comers" policy is more trouble than it's worth -- for liberal and non-Christian groups more than anyone else.

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