Thursday, April 20, 2006

Federal Judge Rules Against Christian Club

From Christian Wire Service -- A federal judge has ruled that the University of California’s Hastings Law School can deny official recognition and funding to a Christian student club that requires its members and leadership to sign a statement of faith. The law school denied funding to the club because the statement of faith violated the school’s anti-discrimination policy.

The club argued that the law school, in denying official recognition and funding, had violated its free speech, free exercise, free association, due process, and equal protection rights.

The court rejected the club’s claim that it could not comply with the nondiscrimination policy without abandoning its Christian mission, the very reason for the club’s existence. Judge Jeffrey S. White found instead that the club did “not demonstrate how admitting [as members] [unrepentant and/or practicing] lesbian, gay, bisexual, or nonorthodox Christian students would impair its mission.”

American Family Association Center for Law & Policy senior trial attorney, Brian Fahling, said a “particularly troubling aspect of the court’s ruling was the judge’s astonishing assertion that there was no evidence that the Christian mission of the club would be impaired by the admission of voting members who were practicing homosexuals or members of different faiths.”

Fahling noted, “the club allowed anyone to attend meetings and to participate in club sponsored events; but to preserve the distinctly Christian mission and character of the club, it was necessary that members and leadership actually be Christians. Yet the court effectively said, ‘I know better than you, or two millennia of Christian teaching, about what your faith requires.’”

Fahling thought it is likely that the club will appeal the district court’s decision.