The random thoughts of an architect-turned- lawyer from the deep south living in Washington, DC...
Monday, February 28, 2005
God and gays...Reading Jeremy Ritchey's recent postings about the Christian Legal Society (CLS) has really gotten me thinking. I urge you to go over and read the dialogue (including comments) regarding the CLS and homosexuality. However, if you are lazy, allow me to give you a brief re-cap:
The national organization's rules preclude unrepentant sexual sinners--including fornicators, adulterers, and homosexuals--from becoming members or assuming leadership roles, but these individuals are certainly welcome to attend any meeting. Due to the membership restrictions imposed by CLS, a homosexual SIU student has requested that the administration review whether the CLS membership requirements violate the school's non-discrimination policies.
It is my understanding that this is not a case of a homosexual who is involved in CLS, wants to become a member or run for an office, and to his/her dismay found out that he/she is not eligible due to CLS national rules. On the contrary, according to Jeremy, this person has probably never attended a meeting and is merely making a political statement. I do not claim to be an authority on any of this, but it does incite anger in me. Must this person intrude into a Bible studying fellowship based group and their First Amendment freedoms in order to make a point?
Everyone seems to love to throw the word "discrimination" around. By one definition, discrimination is "treatment or consideration based on class or category rather than individual merit; partiality or prejudice." If this is the case, then discrimination is the woman at Target who would not ring up my white friend and I, but told the African American woman behind us that she could help her. Discrimination is the scholarships I am not allowed to apply for because I am white. Discrimination is the fact that there are no scholarships specifically for whites. Discrimination is receiving a letter from a firm saying they were impressed with my qualifications, but have restricted 1L hiring to minorities this year. Discrimination is getting rejected from a law school based on your score on a test. And yes, perhaps by the above definition, discrimination is a religious group getting together for fellowship while some student who has never attempted to get involved is excluded.
We must ask ourselves where we draw the line when discussing a "discrimination" policy? Our school recently approved the constitution for a new East Asian organization. Some of their functions and meetings include speaking in Chinese dialect. What about those of us that don't know Chinese?
My mother told me of an organization she came across called "100 Black Men" My first instinct was to get pissed. My first thought was of the headlines and Civil Rights Lawyers that would have a field day with "100 White Men". It seems so unfair. I went to the 100 Black Men website and noticed that part of the vision statement says "...by utilizing our diverse talents to create an environment where our children are motivated to achieve and to empower our people to become self-sufficient shareholders..." Powerful. It seems like this is an organization of like minded people getting together to achieve their goals and serve a purpose. Although I have not read their by-laws, it is probably safe to assume this organization would not open their membership to me. After looking at the site, however, it makes perfect sense that this organization is not one in which it would make sense for me to be a part. I am not sure that I could contribute to young African American children about "our" heritage and role in the country. This is something they need to learn from the successful black men that make up this organization. I do not feel as if this organization is discriminating against me. On the contrary. I feel this is an organization that, by virtue of their heritage, is adding to the diversity of thoughts and purposes in our country.
The same goes for the CLS. This is an organization that, by virtue of Faith, does not condone homosexuality. That being said, would a homosexual person truly be able to rationally contribute to a Bible discussion regarding the sins of sexuality? I am not sure what the answer to that question is. I will reiterate that the CLS does not inhibit homosexuals from attending meetings and voicing these concerns. However, this organization chooses to allow membership and leadership positions to be open only to those who truly believe and live their lives in a way that the CLS sees appropriate. This distinction in their rules is their right!
Hand in hand with the concept of discrimination as we know it is the concept of equality. Some of the policies in question have nothing to do with equality. In fact, I think what is going on at some of these schools with the CLS has nothing at all to do with equality. I am no less equal because I cannot speak Chinese or add to the racial diversity of a summer associate class at a law firm. I merely do not possess the qualities that would benefit these groups. Nor do they possess anything of extreme interest to me. Organizations are formed with the understanding of specific goals and purposes, of which not everyone will agree or be a part. This is what makes life interesting. I do not read CLS clause regarding sexuality and membership as saying "you are not equal to us, and therefore cannot be a part of us." Rather, I read it to say "you do not believe in one of the fundamental dogmas with which we were founded and we choose to reserve the rights of membership and leadership to those who do."
(The above opinions are expressed specifically for the topic at hand. You should, in no way, read anything above into my views on Christianity or homosexuality. You can, however, infer that I am a tad bitter for being born white:-)