On June 28, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in favor of a decision by the UC Hastings School of Law to reject an application by a faith-based student group, the Christian Legal Society, to register as a student organization at the San Francisco campus. Hastings officials had rejected the society's application because the society's bylaws allegedly violated the campus's nondiscrimination policy by discriminating against homosexuals. Do you think that this ruling by the high court reveals a pro-gay bias in the American legal system that stacks the odds for a legal victory against religion-based organizations like the Christian Legal Society?
Would a student group be welcome on a public school campus if its bylaws discriminated against African-Americans, students with disabilities or women? This is not a matter of legal bias: It is about protecting the civil rights of minorities — in this case, gay students.
Groups like the Christian Legal Society, which have anti-gay agendas, do have a right to exist but they should remain off campus rather than expecting official university recognition and public funding. Progress is being made when the civil rights of gay students to be free of discrimination at a public institution trumps the right of these kinds of religious groups to promote their anti-gay beliefs.
The Rev. Dr. Deborah Barrett, Zen Center of Orange CountyCosta Mesa
From one point of view, "If you want to play the game, you must follow the rules." So long as the rules apply equally for everyone, it would seem like the Court's decision is fair and just. This does not seem to be the case here. The bias seems to be against religious groups. The Christian group required all of its officers and voting members to agree with its basic Christian beliefs.
As one of the lawyers pointed out, "The Hastings policy actually requires CLS to allow atheists to lead its Bible studies and the College Democrats to accept the election of Republican officers in order for the groups to be recognized on campus," though evidently the policy is applied in a discriminatory way.
Consider the words of dissenting Justice Samuel Alito: "Brushing aside inconvenient precedent, the Court arms public educational institutions with a handy weapon for suppressing the speech of unpopular groups … I can only hope that this decision will turn out to be an aberration."
Fr. Stephen Doktorczyk, St. Joachim ChurchCosta Mesa
The Supreme Court ruled that, when it's recess, everyone can play at the playground. But you have to follow playground rules. So what if someone wants to play at the playground and doesn't believe in or want to follow the rules?
The court decided that the playground teacher can make and enforce the playground rules so long as the same playground rules are enforced the same for everyone. The teacher can ask that person to leave the playground, but cannot take away that person's recess.
The court left in place the idea that each person or group could have their own club with their own rules at the lunch tables. I am not sure this represents a pro-gay bias. But it does not resolve the core issue: the three-way tension between the rights of those who believe homosexuality is an affront to God, those who believe homosexuals can be good and faithful persons, and those who believe homosexuals deserve full human and civil rights.
Pastor Mark Wiley, Mesa Verde United Methodist ChurchCosta Mesa
I am not familiar with the facts of this case and could not comment on its validity. As far as your question concerning a pro-gay, anti-Christian bias in the legal system, I think there obviously is one. I am of the opinion that politically correct pro-gay sentiment has reached the highest levels of our society, including the legal system.
From the White House on down, the homosexual agenda is pushed on Americans, as the mayor of San Francisco so infamously said, "whether you like it or not."
The truth is that most Americans don't "like it" when the freedom of religious expression, which is guaranteed by our constitution, is silenced so that someone's sexual orientation can be given a place of prominence.
Pastor Dwight Tomlinson, Liberty Baptist ChurchNewport Beach