A Grateful Yet Sober Reflection As America Celebrates its 234th Birthday

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An Advocates International Advocacy Briefing            
July 4, 2010
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 CLS v. Martinez

The case concerned UC Hastings College of the Law's refusal to recognize the Christian Legal Society (CLS) as a registered student group. Hastings based its refusal on the fact that even though all students may attend and participate in CLS meetings, events and activities, voting members and group leaders must sign a "Statement of Faith" that expresses CLS' belief in  a Christian worldview. 

At issue is a provision stating that "[a] person who advocates or unrepentantly engages in sexual conduct outside of marriage between a man and a woman is not considered to be living consistently with the Statement of Faith and, therefore, is not eligible for leadership or voting membership." The statement clarifies that "[a] person's mere experience of same-sex or opposite-sex sexual attraction does not determine his or her eligibility for leadership or voting membership." Hastings argues that this provision violates the university's ban on "sexual orientation" discrimination, despite the fact that the provision conditions membership on changeable conduct and belief, not immutable status. 

Hastings' restriction on freedom of association was eventually found constitutional by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on the ground that the policy was viewpoint neutral and applied equally to all student groups, even though in practice it prevented only CLS from existing with equal (or any) recognition on campus.

Over the strong dissent of four of its justices, the United Supreme Court remanded the case to the Ninth Circuit and narrowly held that Hastings' so called "all-comers" policy, on its face and so long as it is evenly applied, does not constitute an unconstitutional deprivation of CLS law students' rights of free expression, religion and association.  Practically speaking,  this decision forces the law school to deny the right of all student  groups to limit their membership or leadership to those who share that student  group's purpose or viewpoint.  The Court leaves it to the courts  and parties below to litigate whether  the law school  has applied its policy only against CLS in an unconstitutionally pretextual or         discriminatory fashion.

For CLS' more detailed response to the Court's Decision click here.

For a complete case history, click here.

For a history of all the universities who have so discriminated against CLS since 1993 clickhere.
 

 
 
  A Grateful Yet Sober Reflection As America Celebrates its 234th Birthday
 

 

Dc Court of Appeals sealAs we reflect upon America's 234th birthday party, we are reminded that civil freedom is never free. We are also sobered by our Supreme Court's disappointing Martinez v Christian Legal Society decision 

 

last week that serves to remind us of the discrimination that  advocates may have to suffer at the hands of government for the public confession of our Christian faith.  Regardless of what future legal decisions may hold, as advocates who share a common confession of Christian faith, no matter our national citizenship or where we reside, we understand our national citizenship to be a penultimate allegiance under our ultimate allegiance to God.  We are submitted to God's authority and are, therefore, submitted to every authority that He allows on earth. Romans 13:1-7.
 
           As we think about God and country this July 4th , we would like to take you to the very top of the Washington Monument for a moment and ask you to imagine yourself standing on the outside of the Monument at its highest pinnacle, looking around, in all directions, on a beautiful summer day.
 
           To the West is the Lincoln Memorial and everything it symbolizes from Lincoln's "new birth of freedom" to Martin Luther King's call to '"all of God's children" to live together in equality. To the East is the "Peoples House" - the Congress where our representatives contend for our national life together. To the North is the White House where the burdens of a nation and an entire world are daily considered and acted upon.To the South we see the Tidal Basin and the Thomas Jefferson Memorial where the "inalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" as given by a "Creator God"  are remembered.  Finally, looking further south down the Potomac River to Mount Vernon you see the resting place of America's first President, George Washington, upon whose national monument you are now standing. 


            Then you look down, and at your feet you notice for the first time an aluminum cap on which are etched in large letters two words: Laus Deo. [Lah-us Dee-o] No one can see these words. In fact, most visitors to the monument are totally unaware they are even there and for that matter, probably couldn't care less. Once you knowLaus Deo's history, you may want to share this with others you know just as an advocate from Florida first shared it with us back in 2004....(more)

Sam 1 & 2For justice with compassion,

 Sam 1  & Sam 2

 

 

What Can you Do Now about CLS v. Martinez ?
You can make a difference. You can pray. You can give to help defray the costs AI incurred to write, print and file its "friend of the court" brief in support of the Christian Legal Society (CLS). You can share the lessons of this case with others and start a similar organization on your law school campus, if one does not already exist.
 
AI Attorneys Sam Ericsson, Sam Casey and Bart Waxman with Professor McConnell  (2nd from the left) in front of the U.S. Supreme Court
Say a prayer of thanksgiving for Professor Michael McConnell who  argued the case and told the press where we are seeking to go from here: 
 
"We believe we will ultimately prevail in this case. The record will show that Hastings law school applied its policy in a discriminatory way -- excluding CLS from campus but not other groups who limit leadership and voting membership in a similar way. The Supreme Court did not rule that public universities can apply different rules to religious groups than they apply to political, cultural, or other student groups."

Please also pray for the entire CLS-ADF team who brought this case forward. and are now handling the case on remand.l  Pray 

that courts will ultimately affirm students' freedoms of expression, religion and association to freely meet together without preference or discrimination by the government.

CLS & Alliance Defense Fund Litigation Team
CLS -ADF Team

Please pray for and encourage law student organizations, like CLS, all over the world that they will be inspired to bear witness to their faith, doing justice with compassion, redeeming the times,  not only in the class room and on campus, but in all they do in the study and practice of law.

 

Calling all Advocates
           We are looking to identify, train, equip and mobilize advocates,like you, all over the world who are inspired by our core values and want to protect and defend religious freedom, the rule of law, the right to life, peace and reconciliation, human rights and justice for the poor.  

           You can join with us by going to our web site and signing on!  Thanks.


Thank You for Your Financial Support


        AI is not a recipient of government funding and is solely dependent upon the financial contributions of those who believe in its mission, thereby enabling it to serve "clients" ranging from heads of state seeking to implement constitutional reforms to persecuted and imprisoned believers sentenced to death for their faith. We are most grateful and thank you for whatever financial support or voluntary service you can provide in support of AI's mission. Here's how you can help: (more)