“Are Christians Losing Rights in America?” Part 2
As promised, Warrioress has provided a list of examples of Christian rights being eroded in the United States at Erosion of Religious Rights in America. Starting with a long list of cases that the ACLU has presented in court on behalf a Christian plaintiff. That list can be found here: ACLU Defense of Religious Practice and Expression.
The warrioress surprised me a bit here, because most conservative Christians I talk to totally despise the ACLU, which is a secularist organization and strong upholder of the separation between church and state. Several of the higher profile cases they take on are actually to defend non-Christians against Christians. For this reason they make a huge point on their website to prove they are not anti-religion, by posting such lists as the one I posted above. The ACLU, which I usually agree with and to which I give a monthly donation, has shown a track record of defending the rights of US citizens of every religion.
In light of all this, I can only see this long list of Christian lawsuits upheld by the ACLU as legitimate Christian (and other religious) rights upheld in the secular court of law, not eroded. So the bulk of her own examples belies the point she was trying to make.
The next example is of a Campus Crusade for Christ group that had difficulty getting approval to organize a group on their campus.
They denied Campus Crusade status as a student group, citing concerns about the group’s leadership, their views on homosexuality and the negative connotations of the word “Crusade.” As a result, student government said that Mark and others with Campus Crusade couldn’t advertise, seek membership, have an office or hold meetings on campus.
For all I know, this may very well be a legitimate case of discrimination, though a couple of red flags pop out at me. Later in the article it reads:
Across the country, there has been increased pressure on college campuses to quiet Christians about their beliefs. The challenges come on many fronts — restrictions on evangelism, “speech codes” (rules about what to say about sensitive topics like religion or sexual orientation), and about the teaching of evolution as the only acceptable view in science classes.
Which makes me wonder…were they really being blocked from creating an organization because they were harassing fellow students (“restrictions on evangelism”?), and discriminating against homosexuals for membership (which is easily against school policies)? Like I said, it’s possible that this could be religious discrimination, but I’d need to see the school official’s side of the story before making any judgement.
The other college example clearly had the group violating the anti-discrimination policy towards homosexuals. Apparently many colleges don’t consider discrimination based on sexual orientation to be a religious right.
And even if these are examples legitimate discrimination, would it really be a sign of a larger erosion of Christian rights? After all, just about every college campus in the country has Christian and other religious student groups. But there has also been an amazing surge of atheist and freethought student groups in the past few years, both in high school and in college, yet many of them face severe obstacles in getting the official recognition of their schools for no apparent reason other than their being atheists. The Secular Student Alliance does a great work in getting atheist campus groups started, and helping them when they face the typical obstacles. Many of these stories are not posted online in order to protect the privacy of the students involved, but this summary of the purpose of the SSA states exactly why we need secular clubs to assure that non-theistic students have their rights protected just the same as the religious students.
Here is a specific example I found from earlier this year in a very quick Google search. Southern Illinois University Rejects Atheist Student Group… Then Quickly Backtracks. And there are plenty more where that came from.
Christian rights are not being undermined in this country. They have been losing their accustomed privileges, such as the ability to discriminate against others based on sexual orientation without consequence, as shown above. And when their rights really are being stepped on, they will be defended in the court of law even by a secular organization like the ACLU.
(There was also one other example given, of the guy who was denied a post at the University of Kentucky in part because of his creationist views, but not because he is a Christian. There is a lot to that one, and that was a case I followed as it was unfolding, and it will take up a whole post of it’s own. And I need a break after writing this one, so I will address it later if needed. )