Check out the short and sweet article by Associated Press writer Chris Newmarker about the Princeton religious liberty victory we announced yesterday. I was quoted: “We found Princeton’s quick and fair response very encouraging. We’ve found other colleges who haven’t been particularly fair to religious groups, sometimes in an unconstitutional way,” which captures what I find refreshing about this case.
Princeton joins schools like LSU in working in good faith to treat religious students fairly after FIRE raised concerns. This is in stark contrast to schools like UNC-Chapel Hill which would rather duke it out in court than allow their religious groups the same rights afforded to other groups. Of course, UNC argues that it is treating all of its students in the same way by preventing religious groups from “discriminating” on the basis of religion. While, yes, telling the chess club that it cannot exclude Mormons or the College Republicans that it may not exclude Jewish students is fair (since there is nothing about either of those faiths that prevents someone from liking chess or voting as a conservative), telling a Mormon group that it has to include students who think Mormonism is wrong is an act of intolerance, not tolerance. Religious groups must be free to exclude people who do not share their core beliefs or freedom of association for the religious means nothing. That a heathen like me has to explain this basic principle of a tolerant and pluralistic society to anyone never ceases to amaze me.