On June 28th, the U.S. Supreme Court—in a bitterly divided 5–4 vote—upheld a public university's right to enforce an "all-comers" antidiscrimination policy against a student group affiliated with the Christian Legal Society (CLS). 

As president of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship USA—and as a former professor of law—I have concerns about how this decision may impact our 860 chapters and other campus ministries.

1. Legal Impact

Narrowly construed, the court upheld Hastings Law School's right to require all recognized student organizations to abide by its "all-comers" antidiscrimination policy. This unusual policy mandates that all school-approved groups "allow any student to participate, become a member, or seek leadership positions in the organization, regardless of [her] status or beliefs."

To date, I am aware of only one other public university—a regional school in Maine—that has a similar policy. On its face, the policy seems logically inconsistent and impossible to enforce. Will Democratic student clubs really accept Republicans as leaders? Will Hillel, a national Jewish campus group, embrace Muslim students as voting members? Will Sierra Club chapters follow student leaders who deny global warming?

It is difficult to imagine a large university like Ohio State adopting an "all-comers" policy. Student groups representing affinity groups such as sororities, Latinos, atheists, or the LGBT community would be required to admit anyone and everyone into their inner circles. Sororities, for example, would have to admit male students. The result would be chaotic.

Two factors make this decision particularly disconcerting. First, despite the technical narrowness of the holding, the majority ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

May
Subscribe to CT and get one year free.
Read These Next
Current IssueWhy the Church Needs the Infertile Couple
Why the Church Needs the Infertile Couple Subscriber Access Only
We're missing a broader scope of familial love.
RecommendedTrump’s Religious Liberty Order Doesn’t Answer Most Evangelicals’ Prayers
Trump’s Religious Liberty Order Doesn’t Answer Most Evangelicals’ Prayers
Prayer breakfast pledge to ‘totally destroy’ Johnson Amendment comes up shy; conscience exemptions from LGBT anti-discrimination rules missing.
TrendingThe Theology Beneath the Trump-Comey Conflict
The Theology Beneath the Trump-Comey Conflict
How the former FBI director’s interest in Reinhold Niebuhr shaped his approach to political power.
Editor's PickThe Greatest Threat to the Church Isn’t Islam—It’s Us
The Greatest Threat to the Church Isn’t Islam—It’s Us
A leading Nigerian theologian believes the real danger to Christianity in Africa is in the church.
Christianity Today
Is the Christian Legal Society's Loss a Loss for Everyone?
hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

July 2010

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.