Honestly, is it so hard to ask these yahoos who propose laws in our state to outline, even briefly, how they think they’re going to hold up in court? The state legislature is trying to pass a bill that would require all state schools to allow religious organizations that receive school funding to discriminate in who holds their leadership positions. This is in response to Vanderbilt now enforcing a rule that organizations that receive school funding cannot discriminate in who holds leadership positions. So, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes could have an atheist treasurer at Vanderbilt if said atheist got enough votes.
Now, I love Vanderbilt. Don’t get me wrong. And they can and often do wonderful things for great reasons. But they would not have a.) had this rule or b.) started more strictly enforcing it unless they felt it was going to cost them money at some point. I have no inside knowledge of that. I’m just speaking the truth. A staid slow-changing institution doesn’t suddenly go “Oh, hey, big change, happening quickly!” unless something is forcing it.
And while I would have loved for the state legislature to look into this to see why a slow-moving institution would switch course so rapidly, to see if there was some legal liability they might face by not changing, before the state legislature possibly opened all the state universities to that legal liability, I know that’s wishful thinking. So, instead, I’d just like to hear how the State thinks it can defend this law in Federal court. If you have to be Christian to serve in the leadership of a Christian organization at a State school, then someone, acting in the capacity of the state, is going to have to make a decision on who’s Christian.
Once the state is in the business of defining who isn’t and is a Christian, as if the state is the ultimate religious authority, it seems to me you run into church/state issues and the State is clearly going to be in the wrong.
If we have to have fiscal notes on bills, can’t we have legal notes on bills just outlining possible legal challenges the bills might face? And then folks can explain how they think those legal challenges are going to be overcome.
Because you know it’s not going to be the atheist at UT who can’t be the treasurer of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. It’s going to be the Jehovah’s Witness or the Mormon or the Catholic kid.
And that’s going to be ugly.