Spirited Debate: Members of Congress Blast Vanderbilt University – FoxNews.com


Members of Congress Blast Vanderbilt University – Fox News Video – Fox News. Oct. 21, 2011 – 6:48

Kennedy Williams , Jennifer Miller and Lauren Green, host of Spirited Debate, discuss the uproar over the nondiscrimination policy at Vanderbilt University. Of the 38o student groups on-campus only four have not complied with the VU  nondiscrimination order. Those four groups, including the Christian Legal Society, now face loss of university recognition and funding.

Chris Sanders of the Tennessee Equality Project, a gay rights advocacy group, said it would be sensible for the school to deny official recognition and funding to a group that discriminates based on sexual orientation.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in 2010 that the University of California’s law school did not violate the First Amendment when it refused to officially recognize the Christian Legal Society unless the group allowed all students to join, regardless of beliefs.

Charles Haynes, senior scholar at the First Amendment Center, which has offices on Vanderbilt’s campus and in Washington, D.C., said competing principles are at play — barring discrimination versus supporting the freedoms of religion and association — and that a fair compromise would require religious groups to open their meetings to everyone while permitting restrictions on who can serve in leadership positions.

“It would be absurd to say a Jewish group can be led by a Christian,” said Haynes.

Readers should know that federal education law requires that all institutions receiving federal funds must comply with laws banning discrimination based on race, gender, sexual orientation and religious beliefs. The federal courts have upheld the federal education law. Just like the old saying, “he who pays the band, calls the song.”

Watch the video here:

Ms. Williams, the author of Processing Life’s Moments: Therapy for the soul, is a semi-regular guest on Foxnews.com LIVE. ‘Spirited Debate‘ is webcast Fridays at 2PM.

Do you think Vanderbilt University’s nondiscrimination policy goes too far and hurts religious groups? Leave your comments below!

About SquarePegDem

A former state legislator turned NY Post editorial board member, thought-leader, public affairs consultant and commentator, columnist and blogger. Michael has appeared on Al Jazeera America Tonight, NY1/Inside City Hall, FoxNews.com LIVE, YNN/Capital Tonight, The Brian Lehrer Show, The Fred Dicker Show, The Capitol Press Room, and The Daily Show. His op-eds have appeared in the NY Post, City and State, The Legislative Gazette, Bronx Times, The Troy Record, Buffalo News, and the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. To schedule speaking engagements, email MBenjamin9@optimum.net.
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