Harvey Silverglate gets the facts wrong in his opinion piece for the Wall Street Journal on Christian Legal Society v. Martinez, a case the Supreme Court is expected to hear today. And it’s not because he doesn’t know better. Silverglate is the board chairman of the conservative group The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (with the catchy, ahem, acronym FIRE) which contributed a friend-of-the-court brief on behalf of Christian Legal Society. Instead of looking at the Establishment clause and Jefferson’s infamous “separation of church and state,” Silverglate prefers to inflame concern for free association. The case asks if the evangelical Christian law group can require voting members to sign a statement that “endorses ‘biblical principles of sexual morality,’ and… makes clear that a student who ‘advocates or unrepentantly engages in sexual conduct outside of marriage between a man and a woman’ isn’t eligible to vote for or become a group leader” — and still receive funding and resources from University of California’s Hastings College of Law. The case does not challenge the group’s right to meet or associate, just their right to be financially endorsed by the university. Noting other schools that have chosen not to fund such groups, Silverglate writes they have determined that, “the requirement that would-be voting members actually agree with a group’s understanding of Christian doctrine amounts to ‘discrimination.’ (Never mind that CLS accepts gay students—or students who have engaged in premarital heterosexual sex, for that matter—as long as those students accept the society’s standards of sexual morality and are repentant for their own occasional failures.)” I guess if your objective is to counter-claim intolerance and you consider having sex or being gay a failure, you put your own discriminating in quotes.
UPDATE: Read about today’s hearing here.