Gonzaga Law School Denies Another Christian Group Recognition

By on March 15, 2004

A Catholic law school in Washington State is being accused of stifling religious freedom by rejecting yet another Christian student group on campus.

Despite its professed commitment to be “a welcoming environment for students of all religious backgrounds,” Gonzaga University Law School has denied recognition to the Christian Legal Society. The law school’s Student Bar Association claims the Christian group’s requirement that its leadership be Christian is “discriminatory.”

 

But Greg Lukianoff with Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) says such an argument flies in the face of Supreme Court jurisprudence. He believes the Student Bar Association is violating basic human rights.

“Saying that the Christian Legal Society cannot actually be a Christian group is to say that the Christian Legal Society cannot exist as it intended,” Lukianoff says, “so in this claim that it’s defending students from discrimination, it is actually engaging in the crudest form of religious discrimination that you can think of. And this has been a habit of the Student Bar Association.”

 

And FIRE’s spokesman says he knows of no other school where the Christian Legal Society has been rejected on the basis of so-called religious discrimination.

 

“Certainly at a public school you couldn’t deny a Christian group recognition if it chose to limit its membership to Christians,” Lukianoff says, “and Gonzaga University is a Catholic School. So, if anywhere in the world should understand the idea that if you wish to associate around your religious identity that you should be allowed to, it should be a Catholic school. But somehow they’re just not getting it.”

 

Last fall, Gonzaga Law School refused to recognize the Christian Pro-Life Law Caucus because it wanted to restrict its membership to Christians. And on another recent occasion, Gonzaga censored a flier put out by the College Republicans, branding it as hate speech merely because it contained the word “hate.”

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Schools: Gonzaga University