The Hastings Christian Legal Society vs. Martinez case is about separation of church and state, not free speech

by CynthiaYockey on April 18, 2010

Tomorrow, April 19, 2010, the Supreme Court will hear arguments for Christian Legal Society vs. Martinez, and I happened to catch a discussion of the case on Fox News that I would love to post, but it’s not up on the Fox News site and I don’t know if it’s a segment they will post.

However, I can summarize the Fox News interview. The Christian Legal Society is claiming that its freedom of speech and freedom of association are being limited by the University of California’s Hastings College of Law because they require members to sign a Statement of Faith and declare whether or not they are heterosexual. As I recall the discussion, gays and lesbians may join, but are not allowed to serve as leaders of the group because of their sexual orientation. The CLS representative claimed that Hastings was oppressing the group by dictating what it c0uld believe and violating its freedom to choose its leaders.

The representative for Hastings College of Law replied that the only thing that the college is denying the Christian Legal Society is a cut of student fees because separation of church and state requires that the state does not provide funds to religious organizations.

Here’s the thing: gay and lesbian equality is like a radioactive dye that shows the extent to which various religions have created enterprises for the purpose of getting the government to give them money that they can use to maintain and grow their organization.

When these religions are caught red-handed and armpit deep in the public purse, they have wall-eyed fits about the devastation that will befall the hostages they will abandon — widows, orphans, the sick, whatever — if they have to follow the same policies of non-discrimination that everyone else must adopt to receive government money. They chew the scenery about their freedom of speech and freedom of association. Basically, they create huge dramas to excite pity, demonize gays as the real bad guys, and drown out any honest dialogue.

These religions also use situations like this for fundraising purposes, so I expect it has been a HUGE cash cow. They also are used for propaganda purposes — in this case, further demonizing and de-humanizing gays and pushing the totally false objection to gay equality that it will mean religious groups can no longer discriminate against gays. Actually, thanks to the separation of church and state, religions always will be allowed to discriminate against gays all they want — AS LONG AS THEY ARE NOT USING GOVERNMENT MONEY TO DO IT AND/OR ARE NOT DOING IT ON GOVERNMENT PROPERTY. In fact, in this case, the Christian Legal Society IS being allowed to use government land and buildings for their meetings and to discriminate against gays as much as they want — they just are barred by the Constitution from getting a cut of the Hastings’ student fees to do it.

If you think the Christian Legal Society SHOULD get a cut of student fees — money exacted from the students by force, just like taxes — then does that mean you are OK with the reverse situation of having government health insurance programs pay for abortions?

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  • Ron Pittenger

    It sounds as if both sides of this legal battle have gone crazy.

    No one–including the school– should be requiring forced donations to ANY religeous organization. If the individuals choose to make a voluntary donation OF THEIR OWN MONEY, then God bless’em, that’s a private matter.

    The school, on the other hand, has no right to violate the privacy of the students by questioning who they sleep with. One of the most basic of all conservative principles is for your neighbors and the government to mind their own business. (Possible exception for intimate partners; I think they do have a right to know who they are sharing with; but, being screwed by the government doesn’t qualify the government as an intimate partner!) The only “right” answers I’ve come up with in a long and borderline evil life to “Who are you sleeping with?” are either “None of your business,” or “Are you making me an invitation?”

    Ron P.

    • Ron Pittenger,

      Please read the post again. It is the Christian Legal Society that requires students to declare their sexual orientation for the purpose of denying them equal treatment. The Hastings College of Law has no such requirement.

      Cynthia

    • Liz

      “The school, on the other hand, has no right to violate the privacy of the students by questioning who they sleep with.”

      Whut?

  • Lanny Short

    Hmm… That is an interesting question indeed. However, I think that God is going to take care of those idiots himself. Why does it seem that those who claim to be God’s Guys are some of the most scummiest of the scum bags?

    • Lanny Short,

      God seems to take the long view on these matters — what’s the expression? “The mills of divine justice grind slowly, but they grind exceedingly fine.”

      However, the Christian Legal Society has provided the case law to support the angle that I think I am the first to propose for obtaining equality for lesbians and gays, which really is only going to come through the courts: since the motive for denying equality to gays always is pushed by a coalition of religions, or individual religions, it is an effort to impose religious beliefs on the general population through the coercive powers of the government. That is a violation of the separation of church and state. The reality is that the religious beliefs of gays and lesbians that we are equal to heterosexuals and should have all the rights and responsibilities they do is being denied through the power of the state. Religions are required to stay within the realm of persuasion when they interact with the general public not of their faith. They may use their powers of coercion stated in the rules of their faith only on their own members. They have no right to impose these beliefs on others, especially when they are doing so in order to disadvantage or destroy members of a minority.

      Cynthia

  • Liz

    Well yes, but there is also the case to be made for just allowing students to pay for their own clubs. I for one would happily take a cut in my fees and pay for membership out of my own pocket. It wouldn’t solve the issue of using university grounds, but it would mean that people might not have to pay for clubs and societies they find repugnant.

    Reading this, I’m reminded of a case I read about, where a Catholic university was taken to court by some of its employees for not providing birth control in its insurance plan. People were pointing out that the university had a right to enforce its ethos and disgruntled employees could go elsewhere. That’s a better social conservative equivalent to the case you’re describing than abortion and healthcare, because it involves a university. It also sets the principle that these insitutions have a right to decide where their money goes.

    • Liz,

      The government-financed institution does not have a right to play favorites with student organizations. It has rules for deciding what criteria student groups must meet to be eligible for a share of student activity fees. All of the other groups obey Caesar’s rules to get Caesar’s money — well, their money that Caesar took and has a system for sharing out to them after taking his cut. The Christian Legal Society is claiming it is entitled to have sovereignty over the government — that they can defy the government’s rule prohibiting discrimination and still receive government money. So, basically, they want to render unto God that which is God’s, but they want Caesar to render unto them because they hope to find Caesar can be addled with their phony claims of oppression and victimhood and their divine entitlement to having Caesar foot the bill. And they are using their temper tantrum about Caesar’s refusal to go along with this as a means of self-promotion and to raise money. So for them, no matter how this scam turns out, they win. Well, except for having awakened the gay and lesbian community to the fact that the legal argument to make to win our equality under the law is that separation of church and state requires gay equality, since there is no reason for secular government to impose inequality and every reason to provide equality to lesbians and gays. Oops.

      Cynthia

  • What too many of the infantile fools who scream about their “religious freedom” — while attacking everybody else’s — do not understand is that ALL FREEDOM STANDS OR FALLS TOGETHER. There simply is no way to attack even one other person’s freedom of conscience without also undermining your own.

    I am a Christian, as well as a lesbian, and I am deeply worried about the future of religious freedom in this country. If it is destroyed, make no mistake about it, the damage will have been done by the very people now screaming the loudest about their religious freedom.

    How do our enemies — those who wish to destroy this country — get us to help them commit their mayhem against all we hold dear? Why, they do it by inflaming our hatred and outrage against our fellow Americans, and telling us that we can destroy them without at the same time destroying ourselves.

    It is a lie. If we don’t wake up and recognize that fact pretty soon, our country is done for.
    .-= Lori Heine´s last blog ..Tea Party in the Cafeteria =-.

  • AndyOH

    OT, is MS SmartScreen reporting this site as unsafe to anyone else ? or is it just me ?

    Andy

    • AndyOH,

      This is the first I’ve heard of it — thanks for letting me know. What search engine did you use? Which key words?

      You are allowed to report my blog as a safe site — in the warning, click the link for “More information,” then click, “This site contains no threats.” It would be very helpful if you report my site as safe — thank you!

      Cynthia

  • AndyOH

    I’ve had you in my favorites list since last fall as I recall, and thats how I normally navigate to your site.

    If it warns me again I’ll select the “safe” button.

    Thanks

    Andy

    • AndyOH,

      Thanks for being a reader and for the heads-up!

      I did a little research and it seems MS Smartscreen is a feature of the Internet Explorer 8 browser that is supposed to block “phishing” sites. As you know, I don’t “phish,” but the only way Microsoft provides for Web site owners to get off their naughty list is through IE 8 when one of the warning messages comes up. I used IE 8 to search on “A Conservative Lesbian” and clicked on the link, but did not get the warning so there was no way for me to send them a message. So I am grateful that you will click “safe” if you get the message again. Thank you!

      Cynthia

      • Amy

        ^ Totally unsafe girl blogger. Watch out for her!

    • AndyOH,

      Thanks for the heads-up. My Web host was hacked, but they’re cleaning my site, so it should be fine again very soon.

      Cynthia

  • Amy

    Well, now, I was not in a thinking mood tonight. Finally got to watch my Glee as DH finished up his sports and Lost.

    So I’ll throw in my two cents FWIW (it’s late and I’m a bit fuzzy over Finn).

    Oh, s-word. Nevermind…I will come back to this when I am thinking more clearly because everything I am trying to say sounds like something else. Every thought branches off into a different one.

    Basic point: when I heard about this on Medved a week or two ago, the aspects that you brought up, Cynthia, were NOT mentioned on his show. So now I am having to rethink.

    I’m gonna go back to analyzing tonight’s Glee for now.

    Great work, as always.

    • Amy,

      The Christian Legal Society has gotten their spin to dominate the discussion — they’ve learned the tactics of Alinsky and identity politics well and they are playing the victim for all it’s worth. But they are proto-lawyers represented by real lawyers who know, or ought to know, that the Constitution bars them from getting government money for religious purposes. This case is a base deception.

      I think what we are watching is a long term campaign to overthrow the Constitution and establish a theocracy — THAT’S the slippery slope we are on.

      Cynthia

      P.S.

      How did “Glee” end? I recorded it and “American Idol” ran into its time slot about 10 or 15 minutes, and the recording cut off after an hour. Arrggghhhh!!!!

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