June 28th, 2010
10:49 AM ET
13 years ago

Campus Christian groups loses appeal at Supreme Court

(CNN) - The Supreme Court has ruled against a Christian campus group that sued after a California law school denied it official recognition because the student organization limits its core membership to those who share its beliefs on faith and marriage.

At issue was the conflict between a public university's anti-discrimination policies and a private group's freedom of religion and association.

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Filed under: Supreme Court
soundoff (27 Responses)
  1. XWngLady

    I think that its ridiculous that a Christian organization should have to admit individuals who do not support or agree with their founding tenets (like a neo-Nazi in a pro-Jewish group). But I do understand the point that since its a public institution and the group would be using public facilities paid for by public funds, then they can't discriminate...

    June 28, 2010 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  2. Angus McDugan

    Of course she wrote the ruling.

    June 28, 2010 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  3. American Patriot - a "real" tea partier

    I'm not understanding - if it's an extra-curricular religious group (just on campus), then isn't it supposed to be able to institute its own guidelines for membership?

    What does it mean if other extra-curricular religious groups wish to have a select membership?
    Jewish campus group
    Muslim campus group
    Methodist campus group
    Presbyterian campus group
    Catholic campus group
    Pastafarian campus group (all hail the Flying Spaghetti Monster)
    Polar Bear campus group

    Does this mean that no extra-curricular religious campus group if its on campus is allowed to limit its membership to only those of the same faith? Doesn't that conflict with the First Amendment? I mean, I wouldn't expect someone who is obsessed with chess to join the photography club unless he had an interest in it....

    June 28, 2010 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  4. Donkey Party

    The conservatives want so much to have a Theocracy in this country. If they want that so badly, move to effing Iran.

    June 28, 2010 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  5. chris b

    Did Jesus teach discrimination or inclusion? I long for the day when Christians actually act Christian and love all...

    June 28, 2010 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  6. Marcus

    Justice Samuel Alito wrote, "I do not think it is an exaggeration to say that today's decision is a serious setback for freedom of expression in this country."

    They still had the right to have their meetings, reunions and all that. They can exclude whoever they want to based on whatever belief they might use as an excuse.

    They just won't gonna have the official recognition for their 'Non-Christian like us' ban.

    So what's the problem?

    June 28, 2010 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  7. Henry Miller, Libertarian

    By asking for "official recognition" of their group, the bible-thumpers were basically asking the law school to endorse and condone their religious discrimination–which, of course, the school wasn't about to do.

    Alito is dead wrong: nothing says that these people can't get together without that "official recognition"–under the First Amendment "right of the people peaceably to assemble"–and nothing is impeding them from expressing their silly superstitious bigotry.

    June 28, 2010 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  8. E T Widener

    This makes about as much sense as a golfer joining the tennis club. I doubt that an atheist would be interested in joining a christian club. What narrow minded vision.

    June 28, 2010 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  9. Dano

    Why is it that Christian groups have such a hard time understanding that public money cannot be spent on promoting religious beliefs? Despite what the hard right wing of the court says, this is not preventing anyone from expressing their religion. No one said you can't meet with like minded people and pray to the God you believe in. They're just saying that if you accept public money – and using the facilities at a public university to promote your cause & recruit members is accepting public money – your group can't exclude everyone that doesn't share your beliefs. It 's no different than an athiest or non-Christian group refusing to allow Christians to join their club.

    June 28, 2010 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  10. al in memphis

    What has it come to when an extreme political group has a better chance of being recognized by the university than it is for a christian group.
    What we fear most are those things that challenge our consciences and our own self-described level of what is moral.

    June 28, 2010 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  11. hobart

    Finally, the court gets one right. To all those liberals dissatisfied with Obama, or those who voted for Nader and indirectly for Bush in 2000, this is the consequence of a Republican administration. Our current Supreme Court verges on fascism. The so called conservatives on the Supreme Court are the most activist set of judges to serve in our Nation's history. They vote as a block on everything, without a single original thought that let's us know that they are four individual people.

    Why do justices Roberts, Alito, Scalia and Thomas hate America?

    June 28, 2010 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  12. Victim of George W's ECONOMY

    Silly Christians......MYTHS are for kids!!

    Don't these fools realize that THIS IS their armaghedon. Their world as they knew it, HAS CHANGED. The Christians arent' equiped to evolve with the rest of us.

    They have to learn to adapt to a life of love and inclussion, NOT HATE AND DISCRIMINATION.

    Silly, silly Christians.......

    June 28, 2010 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  13. La Piovra

    However, if that group doesn't like that ruling, they can always incorporate themselves, since corporations, as "persons", doubtless now have the right to bear arms. At that point, they can make the university an offer it can't refuse.

    June 28, 2010 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  14. Matthew

    How horrible! A group wants to be recognized for who they are, what they believe, and wish to interact with those of similiar beliefs! I mean seriously, what IS this country coming to when we can't even create groups of like-minded people!

    Anti-discriminatory rules are really starting to get out of hand. Pretty soon, "Men Only" and "Women Only" groups won't be able to exist because they are discriminatory.

    June 28, 2010 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  15. limits its core membership to those who share its beliefs on faith and marriage

    I totally agree with this ruling

    June 28, 2010 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  16. witch56

    at least they got this one right!

    June 28, 2010 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  17. chuck

    Conservatives will always be on the wrong side of gay rights by siding with those who wish to deny that these people are deserving Americans and deserving of all of its liberties. The case was framed around an organizations right to exclude individuals who are not like minded within a club at a public school, but the core of the case dealt with the clubs desire to continue the christian status quo of denying anyone who doesn't believe all of the tenants of their christian doctrine. The public shool's anti-discrimination policies usurp a small clubs desire to exclude – their desire to usurp the school rules. The club painted themselves as the victim and at least 5 educated members of the United States Supreme Court saw their true colors and voted against them. We are on a snails pace to equality – no thanks to christians or their benefactors on the Supreme Court.

    June 28, 2010 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  18. Dee

    Honestly, after all the time and money I'm sure this cost, what are the practical applications of this ruling? Who is going to join this group if they don't believe what it teaches?

    June 28, 2010 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  19. Alvino

    Doesn't Justice Alito know this country is NOT a theocracy? Or maybe he wants it to be. Shame on him.

    June 28, 2010 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  20. rita

    It is hard to imagine where we would be today in our social endeavors in this country without liberal members of the Supreme Court. The small conservative men on the Supreme Court are determined to remain small. Their ideology pulls the wagon and their critical thinking is in a jar in the wagon.

    June 28, 2010 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  21. ThinkAgain

    This is a public university – and this decision was correct. The Christian campus group wanted to discriminate, which is clearly not allowed at the university.

    I don't see a problem with this ruling.

    June 28, 2010 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  22. ysidero

    Suppose this had been a Muslim religious group that required all members to adhere to its "core principles"? Or a LGBTQ group? I have no doubt the dissenters would have been in favor of limiting their rights. Roberts, et al, need to step back from their exclusively "Christian" world view and recognize that right-wing "Christian" groups have no more rights than anyone else.

    June 28, 2010 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  23. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Is it really a surprise? It is a private group asking for public money. Free speech only goes so far.

    June 28, 2010 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  24. Al-NY,NY

    Just wait for the "Anti-Christian" blather from the usual talking heads..It's a pubic school so no $ churchies. Form your own school or go to one of the other "Christian" schools where they can discriminate.

    June 28, 2010 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  25. phoenix86

    Pretty funny since no where in the Constitution does it say "seperation of Church and State".

    However, I wonder if California would have taken this position had it been Islam instead of Christianity. I guess no.

    June 28, 2010 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
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