Distinguishing racial and religious "intolerance"
Michael deHaven Newsom
mnewsom at LAW.HOWARD.EDU
Fri Nov 2 12:10:59 PST 2001
But suppose that religious discrimination were a proxy for racial
discrimination? Does a good reason still exist to make the distinction?
Some of us are exploring the link or nexus between the two "forms" of
discrimination and are convinced that they are in fact closely related. An
analysis of the vote in the 2000 presidential election by race and by religion
suggests that we should indeed investigate the possibility that the link or
nexus is significant and substantial. The issue, therefore, cannot be about
some abstract right of association, bracketing race. Because bracketing race
may distort the underlying reality of discrimination. That at least, is what I
believe to be the case.
It seems to me, and I could be wrong, that the most fervent proponents of the
right of association these days (and I mean these days, I do not mean the 1950s
when white segregationists were attempting to destroy the NAACP) are the ones
with the least credibility on the matter of racial discrimination.
Eric Cernyar wrote:
> 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
> defining themselves.
> 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
> -----Original Message-----
> 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.
> > Will
> > --- Michael deHaven Newsom <mnewsom at LAW.HOWARD.EDU>
> > wrote:
> > > 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:
> > > >
> > > >
> > >
> > http://www.cnn.com/2001/LAW/10/31/tencommandments.ap/index.html
> > > >
> > > > =====
> > > > 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
> > > >
> > > > __________________________________________________
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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
> > 704-372-9000
> > __________________________________________________
> > Do You Yahoo!?
> > Make a great connection at Yahoo! Personals.
> > http://personals.yahoo.com
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