Monday, December 31, 2007

What's the Transhumanist Libertarian Professor up to?

Everyone makes mistakes, but some are more worth contemplating than others. Is a libertarian who usually supports Bush against the left giving a bit more to the religious right than he realizes with his reflexive sneer at the 'left wing academic elite'? Is he eager to please them without actually contradicting his own beliefs, as long as they don't vote for Huckabee?

If you follow Reynold's own link, you'll see two errors in his two sentence post. The group wasn't banned, and action wasn't taken based on 'unacceptable views on premarital sex'. The group was denied funding because it excluded people who refused to 'agree with a “statement of faith,” including its interpretations that Christians should not engage in sexual activity outside the context of marriage between a man and a woman.'

Is that reasonable? Maybe not, but the University of Montana has a rule that groups funded from student dues must potentially benefit and be open to all students. In practice, this doesn't seem to be a problem for most Christian groups. Some of the student groups on this list probably have members with religious reservations about homosexuals, and at least some probably don't have any homosexuals eager to join anyway:

List of University of Montana student groups, bookmarked at religious groups.

So why pick on the Christian Legal Society? Both sides seem all lawyered up, and one consists mainly of lawyers. The Missoulian seems to have covered the viewpoint of the CLS:

The students allege that UM's Student Bar Association granted their organization preliminary approval for both recognition and funding, but when the matter was up for final ratification, funding was denied because of e-mail objections by other students.

“In response, the next day the Student Bar Association Executive Board derecognized the chapter, stating the Christian Legal Society-University of Montana's Statement of Faith requirement and its interpretation to prohibit sexual relationships outside of marriage for its voting members and leaders violated the Student Bar Association nondiscrimination rule,” the lawsuit states.

The group also contends that when asked to reverse the decision, Eck upheld the Student Bar Association's decision.

“To date, CLS-UM has still not been told how its membership and leadership policies conflict with any SBA bylaw,” the group states in its complaint, adding: “The SBA is facially flawed in that it provides unbridled discretion to the SBA and law school student body and does not adequately ensure against viewpoint discrimination.”

I e-mailed the President of the Student Bar Association for an opposing point of view, and was told all questions were being referred to UM Legal Counsel David Aronofsky, who is out of the country until Jan. 20th. The lawyer is already quoted in the article as wanting to study the case further.

Without seeing those e-mail objections it's difficult to say who is right or wrong, but it might be interesting to learn about the group Instapundit speaks up for.

Here's their homepage.

The aren't libertarians. Go to the right hand column and follow the link urging dismissal of a lawsuit against Kentucky Christian College. It seems the State of Kentucky gave this private university a few million to build a school for pharmacists, and its only open to students who accept the college's policy about only having sex in a marriage. It may be enforced slightly more aggressively against homosexuals.

According to Medical Right Watch they are involved in back door attempts to fight Roe VS Wade.

Here's an opinion from FindLaw:

Turning to the political context, the CEF case was brought by the Christian Legal Society on the merits, with the National Legal Foundation, another Christian organization, submitting an amicus (friend of the court) brief. These two organizations are part of a larger movement dedicated to re-introducing Christianity into the public schools -- and, failing that, to siphoning public funds from the public schools to private religious schools and home-schoolers.

The political reality is that these organizations are using equality principles to further Christian ends; except in the courts, their devotion is not to equality, but rather to Christianity above all other faiths.

Read the whole thing.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

In Vitrio fertilization

Futurepundit links to an article in the British Times Online about embryos being destroyed at British fertility clinics. He writes some interesting stuff about how this might change in a few decades, and a little about the contrast between the American religious right protesting stem cell research and remaining silent about this.

For those who truly believe the destruction of a fertilized human egg is murder, there must be a terrific internal cost to remaining silent about IV fertilization. There are indeed Christians who won't use it, but none who speak loudly of it in the national political arena - at least in the United States.

What Erick on Redstate calls the New York-Washington Corridor of Conservative Intelligentsia is willing to tolerate the overturning of Roe VS Wade. They don't live in the states which might outlaw abortion, and could afford to have it done safely and secretly if their daughters needed one, whatever the law. Fertility treatments are more expensive - a genuine industry. An attack on those would show who finances the Republican tent, and who is tolerated as long as they shut up and vote Republican.