Print | Share | Calendar | Diocesan Locator
|   No Spanish version at this time
FOLLOW US  Click to go to Facebook.  Click to go to Twitter.  Click to go to YouTube.   TEXT SIZE Click to make text small. Click for medium-sized text. Click to make text large.  

Find Out More


Find the Latest News on our homepage

Learn more about Religious Liberty at Home 

Learn more about International Religious Freedom

Take Action! Text the word FREEDOM (or LIBERTAD) to 377377 for updates

Watch current Videos on Religious Liberty

Pray for Religious Liberty at home and abroad

View our Fortnight Image Gallery

fortnight-freedom-texting-campaign-help-montage.jpg

Daily Message

"We have a great task in front of us. It will not be easy, and we may well suffer, as we are called to do. But we will not fail. And that is because we are well-equipped with the tools we will truly need—the love of Christ and the truth about the human person. All that remains for us to do is to take up those tools and put them to work." 

– Archbishop William E. Lori, Archbishop of Baltimore

Catechetical Sunday 2014 - Web Ad 270 Montage
 

Discrimination Against Christian Students on Campus

 

Religious liberty under attack: Christian Students on Campus

In its over-100-year history, the University of California Hastings College of Law (UC Hastings) had never denied student organization status to any group.That is, until the law school decided in 2004 to strip the campus chapter of the Christian Legal Society (CLS) of recognition.

The UC Hastings student CLS chapter welcomed all members of the university community to participate in its activities but required its officers and voting members—who spoke on its behalf, voted on its policies and programs, and led its Bible studies—to share and abide by the group's core beliefs.These beliefs included being Christian and abstaining from sexual activity outside of marriage.UC Hastings decided at the beginning of the 2004 school year that CLS's voting membership and office-holder requirements violated the religion and "sexual orientation" provisions of its Policy on Nondiscrimination.UC Hastings then denied CLS "Registered Student Organization" (RSO) status.

That same year, approximately sixty RSOs—organized around diverse interests in politics, religion, culture, race, ethnicity, and human sexuality—existed on campus.However, the CLS student chapter became the only group ever denied RSO status at UC Hastings.

CLS then sued, claiming that UC Hastings violated its constitutionally protected rights of free speech, expressive association, free exercise of religion, and equal protection of the laws. Unfortunately, CLS was denied relief by the federal courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, because of the specific nature of the policy at UC Hastings, which allegedly required student groups to accept all students, regardless of their status or beliefs.The Court concluded that public universities may override a religious student group's right to determine its leadership only if it denies that right to all student groups.

The decision in CLS v. Martinez, 561 U.S. __ (2010) could have a damaging effect on the religious liberty of all students attending public colleges and universities.The decision puts many other student groups across the country at risk and leaves room for absurd scenarios, such as requiring CLS to allow atheists to lead its Bible studies.Recently, a similar policy at private Vanderbilt University forced the school's Catholic student group off campus because Vanderbilt Catholic requires that its leaders be Catholic (although it allows anyone to be a member of the group).

Is our most cherished freedom truly under threat?Among many current challenges, such extreme "nondiscrimination" policies deprive students of the right to exercise freely and fully their religious beliefs.Religious liberty is not only about our ability to go to Mass on Sunday or pray the Rosary at home.It includes our ability to gather with other members of our faith outside of church and reinforce our beliefs within a group setting.Without religious liberty properly understood, all Americans, including students on campus, suffer.




By accepting this message, you will be leaving the website of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. This link is provided solely for the user's convenience. By providing this link, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops assumes no responsibility for, nor does it necessarily endorse, the website, its content, or sponsoring organizations.

cancel  continue