On Monday, April 19th, the 9 justices of the U.S Supreme Court are scheduled to hear arguments in the case of the Christian Legal Society vs. Martinez. InterVarsity is among a large number of organizations who have filed 34 amicus (friend of the court) briefs in this case. The justices’ decision will majorly impact campus ministry.
That’s why 17 other organizations and 13 state attorney generals have urged the justices to make a ruling that protects the rights of religious groups to set their own membership and leadership requirements. The ruling will either allow these groups to operate the same as all other campus organizations, or it will allow state colleges and universities to deny recognition to Christian groups on their campuses.
Please pray for this critical ruling!
Here is an interview by journalist Tim O’Brien with Leo Martinez, dean and acting chancellor of the Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco and the defendant in this case, and Greg Baylor, attorney for the Christian Legal Society.
I’m not a lawyer (even though my Mom still wishes I would go to law school) but I scanned through a few of the amicus briefs for both sides of the case. This case begins with the Christian Legal Society but the impact of the case would be felt by religious organizations with further implications on all organizations. The Christian Legal Society wants its voting membership and leaders to be Christians and abide by certain standards. That’s just Christians wanting to force their religion on everyone, you say. Well, if the U.S. Supreme Court rules in favor of Martinez and stop Christians from forcing their brand of religion on everyone it will, in effect, be telling Muslim, Jewish and all other religious organizations that they no longer have to be recognized by public colleges and universities.
It’s easy to pick on Christians. Some of us in God’s name have done horrible, awful things that have nothing to do with God. Admittedly we can often make it pretty easy to pick on us. But imagine if an Asian American student group at a public university or college, a group with no religious affiliation, denied a White supremacist a leadership role because she/he was a White supremacist. Inclusivity can only go so far, and this is where this case gets dicey. Where and how will we define freedom and public and justice?
So even if you don’t pray, this is worth thinking and reading about…
Here’s an update on the case…looks like there are many, many more questions that need to be asked before the justices will be able to rule.