Distinguishing racial and religious "intolerance"
ecernyar at SATX.RR.COM
Thu Nov 1 16:45:19 PST 2001
I think there is good reason to make a distinction, assuming that the word
"intolerance" is defined as discrimination, preferential treatment, or
exclusion on the basis of X (X being skin color, ethnicity, sexual
orientation, religious belief, conservative v. liberal ideology, beliefs on
abortion, eating habits, etc.). If all of the above forms of "intolerance"
were banned, associations of all stripes would have a difficult time
I think a strong libertarian argument can be made that private groups should
be permitted to discriminate however they please, and on whatever grounds
they please. However, we as a society, informed by the long history of
oppression endured by African Americans in this country, have made an
understandable exception to that libertarian ideal with respect to race.
But that is no reason to effectively abolish the right of association
(including defining the criteria for membership or inclusion) altogether.
The Establishment Clause makes this particularly so with respect to
religious associations. (Caveat -- I am not arguing that the Boy Scouts
qualify as a religious association. They may be just a plain old 1st
Amendment association, but they still have a fundamental right to
From: Law & Religion issues for Law Academics
[mailto:RELIGIONLAW at listserv.ucla.edu]On Behalf Of Michael deHaven
Sent: Thursday, November 01, 2001 2:08 PM
To: RELIGIONLAW at listserv.ucla.edu
Subject: Re: Lawsuits filed over Judge Moore's Ten Commandments
The question of "toleration" in this case requires some acknowledgement
of the fact that "religion" is not at stake in this case. Rather, a
particular religion is at stake, and the proof of the pudding lies in
the fact that, I wager, the form of the Ten Commandments is the
evangelical Protestant form, not the form used by Jews, Catholics or
Lutherans. And I have not even gotten to non-Bible religions which do
not recognize the Ten Commandments in any form.
To my way of thinking, the only "surprise" in this case is that it has
taken the SPLC this long to weigh in on matters of this sort. I would
be concerned about any attempt to argue or suppose that racial
intolerance and religious intolerance were separate and distinct.
Will Esser wrote:
> I was simply commenting on the fact that an
> establishment clause action does not appear to be the
> typical fare of the Southern Poverty Law Center, while
> I don't think it would surprise anybody to hear that
> Americans United for Separation of Church and State
> had filed an EC challenge.
> Per its website, the SPLC is "a nonprofit organization
> that combats hate, intolerance and discrimination
> through education and litigation." Perhaps the SPLC
> felt that Judge Moore's actions were "intolerant" and
> therefore were appropriate subject matter to fit
> within their mission statement. This might give a new
> twist to the recent list discussions regarding
> "tolerance", i.e. a governmental action is intolerant
> to the extent it gives the impression of government
> support of religion.
> --- Michael deHaven Newsom <mnewsom at LAW.HOWARD.EDU>
> > Why is is surprising that the Southern Poverty Law
> > Center would file a
> > lawsuit in this mastter?
> > Will Esser wrote:
> > > It was just a matter of time, but two lawsuits
> > have
> > > been filed over Judge Moore's Ten Commandments
> > statute
> > > in the Alabama Supreme Court judicial building.
> > Not
> > > surprisingly, they were filed in federal court. I
> > > wonder how a state judge would feel in being asked
> > to
> > > declare the actions of the state supreme court
> > chief
> > > justice unconstitutional.
> > >
> > > The lawsuits were filed by Americans United for
> > > Separation of Church and State (not surprising)
> > and by
> > > the Southern Poverty Law Center (a bit more
> > > surprising). The story is found at:
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > > =====
> > > Will Esser --- Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam
> > > Parker Poe Adams & Bernstein
> > > Three First Union Center
> > > 401 South Tryon St., Suite 3000
> > > Charlotte NC 28202
> > > 704-372-9000
> > >
> > > __________________________________________________
> > > Do You Yahoo!?
> > > Make a great connection at Yahoo! Personals.
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> Will Esser --- Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam
> Parker Poe Adams & Bernstein
> Three First Union Center
> 401 South Tryon St., Suite 3000
> Charlotte NC 28202
> Do You Yahoo!?
> Make a great connection at Yahoo! Personals.
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