More on funding religious groups on campus
Kevin T. McGuire
kmcguire at unc.edu
Thu Sep 23 13:50:33 PDT 2004
We face a very similar situation here at the University of North
Carolina. Recently, a Christian fraternity was denied recognition as a
campus organization --- and thus denied access to campus funds ---
because of its refusal to sign the university's non-discrimination
policy, which prohibits campus groups from excluding potential members
on several bases, including religion.
The University maintains that it is bound by various federal and state
laws not to discriminate, while the group claims that, by being forced
to accept those who don't share their faith, its First Amendment right
of association is being abridged.
In some ways, it is similar to the situation presented in the Roberts
and Rotary cases, but those dealt with large, amorphous organizations
with no distinct viewpoint. This is a small (only 3 members at present)
fundamentalist group, and admitting non-adherents would probably
undermine its message. In light of Boy Scouts v. Dale, which I read to
suggest that the state cannot apply anti-discrimination law against a
group if doing so would undermine that group's basic message, it seems
to me that the fraternity probably has the more solid argument.
Does that strike others as sensible, or are there other issues that one
ought to consider here?
*Kevin T. McGuire*
Department of Political Science
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3265
Telephone 919-962-0431 FAX 919-962-0432
Email: mcguire at unc.edu Web: http://www.unc.edu/~kmcguire
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