Ethical Justice vs. Legal Right


This first post is an assignment I wrote for one of my university classes and the origin of inspiration for this project. Article

Recently, California State University implemented a rule derecognizing any campus organization that restricts leadership positions to those of particular religious beliefs. This article specifically discusses the derecognition of the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship (IVCF) by any of the twenty-three California State Schools. The author of the article believes that this rule is discriminatory and ironic in that the university, “…in the name of non-discrimination, are creating rules that push those who ‘discriminate’ based on biblical belief statements.” Thereby, their discrimination is justified by their religious beliefs and they should not be persecuted. This standpoint lacks reasonable credit as the rule only opens up leadership positions within the organization rather than restricting it. It does not exclude the right for a Christian person to hold leadership, but now, it won’t exclude the right for a non-Christian person to hold leadership as well. Correspondingly, certain leadership positions may not justify being exclusively available to Christians. Areas such as finance and legal departments can function passably with a non-Christian as leader. Moreover, this article illuminates the similar traits of the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship to that of a political religion in the world of academia. Exclusive in leadership employment, rejecting to coexist within the organization with those of different ideologies, and obligatory compliance with the Christian commandments align with characteristics of a political religion. If further developed in this direction, more hostile and discriminatory actions can be predicted through definition of a political religion. Conflictingly, though the requirement to be Christian to hold a position of leadership is unjustified and discriminatory, the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship has the legal right to do so and still claim the title of “Equal Employment Opportunity” according to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Section 702[1]. It states an exemption to the rights of the title to religious corporations, associations, or societies thereby giving the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship legal rights to hire based on religious belief. It also gives them the right to exclusively employ those who agree with the “InterVarsity’s Statement of Agreement: Purpose and Doctrinal Basis”[2] which outlines a set of beliefs parallel to Christian beliefs. This leads to question whether the California state was justified in derecognizing the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship as a campus organization in regards to their civil rights rather than ethics. From an ethical standpoint I support the action taken by the state, as employment should not be conducive to religious belief if job performance is not at risk. Therefore I do not consider Christian beliefs to be a bona fide occupational requirement for InterVarsity Christian Fellowship employees. But, from a legal perspective, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship has the civil right to employ based on religious beliefs. Thereby, based solely on this one aspect, these rights are impeded on by their loss of recognition as a campus organization and, consequently, the tremendously benefiting campus privileges that correspond.




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