Ministry Today – Serving and empowering church leaders

Christian campus groups that are officially recognized by public universities must be open to accepting gay students as members or they risk losing recognition and funding, the Supreme Court ruled on Monday.

In a 5-4 split decision, the court ruled in favor of the University of California’s Hastings College of the Law, which barred the Christian Legal Society from recognition and funding because it would not accept members who were engaged in homosexual relationships, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. The ruling states that campus groups cannot bar any student that wishes to become a member or move into a leadership position, even if that person does not agree with the group’s beliefs.

A school "may reasonably draw a line in the sand permitting all organizations to express what they wish but no group to discriminate in membership," wrote Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in the majority opinion that hailed from the liberal side of the bench.

The Christian Legal Society (CLS) says that it welcomes all students to join its meetings and Bible studies, but requires voting members and leaders to sign a statement of faith that includes, among other beliefs, a line about “unrepentant participation in or advocacy of a sexually immoral lifestyle.”

The group says that it does not expect the ruling to have an immediate effect, because it is not aware of any other schools that have the same policy as Hastings. However, it is concerned about the long-term effects of the decision.

“The Hastings policy actually requires CLS to allow atheists to lead its Bible studies and the College Democrats to accept the election of Republican officers in order for the groups to be recognized on campus,” Gregory S. Baylor, a lawyer representing the Christian Legal Society, said in a statement.

Official recognition gives groups access to small grants, the college’s e-mail network and meeting rooms on school property. Now the Christian Legal Society will not have access to any of these things.

Justice Samuel Alito, in a minority opinion, called the ruling "a serious setback for freedom of expression." He was joined by conservative Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas and Chief Justice John Roberts.

"The court arms public educational institutions with a handy weapon for suppressing the speech of unpopular groups," he wrote. [sfgate.com, 6/29/10, washingtonpost.com, 6/29/10]

Leaders are readers! Subscribe now and get 3 magazines for the price of 1. Get Ministry Today, Charisma and SpiritLed Woman all for $24. YES - I'm a leader!

Ministry Today Subscription Special - Subscribe to Ministry Today magazine today and get 12 issues (2 full years) plus Amplified Leadership, a free leadership book for only $24.

Your Turn

Comment Guidelines
  • Discouragement can be a serious struggle.

    Guard Your Spirit Against These 4 Crippling Attacks

    Are you struggling this Valentine's Day with one of these discouraging issues?

  • Worship leaders, keep your team's attitude in check.

    This Can Quickly Erode a Worship Team's Culture

    God has given us talent and He calls for excellence, but excellence with this is not honoring ...

  • A 'What's in it for me?' mentality could bring your church down.

    The Mentality That May Be Killing Your Church

    And we wonder why so many congregations are stagnated, plateaued or declining.

  • Why Many Christians Misunderstand This Crucial Leadership Trait

    Great leadership doesn't start with a great education, although that is incredibly valuable. ...

  • Start a Wildfire of Spiritual Growth in Your Church

    Start a Wildfire of Spiritual Growth in Your Church

    Watch how God can take one spark and turn it into a wildfire that impacts your ministry, your community and even future generations.

  • What reasons can you think of that leaders might not choose to delegate authority?

    7 Reasons Some Leaders Dump Delegation

    These could have a lot to do with stalled growth and low team morale.

  • Your Source of Unlimited Kingdom Energy and Power

    Jesus said that we can do greater works than He did and that He will do whatever we ask in His Name.

  • Don't bring your sermons in for a crash landing.

    4 Terrible Ways to Close a Sermon

    People need an opportunity to respond to the Word of God.

  • These seven responses can get you on the right track.

    Responding Like Jesus When Your Church Kicks You Out

    It's a pain that many in the ministry have felt at least once and maybe more.

Use Desktop Layout
Ministry Today Magazine — Serving and empowering church leaders