Saturday, January 31, 2009

Presentation at CCCU Presidents Conference

I participated in a panel discussion this morning at the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities Presidents Conference in Washington, DC. The topic was "Legal and Public Policy Issues." I talked about religious staffing freedom -- recent events and imminent threats.

I asserted the threat that religion and sexual orientation nondiscrimination rules pose stems from a more foundational problem: the growing cultural acceptance of same-sex sexual conduct and the corresponding cultural condemnation of those who hold the traditional position on marriage and human sexuality.

I then ran through some developments in this area over the last twelve months: the passage of Prop 8 in California; the discovery of a right to same-sex "marriage" in the Connecticut constitution by the state's supreme court; Congress's failure to enact ENDA; DOJ's publication of the OLC opinion regarding RFRA, federal money, and religious staffing freedoms; the bad decisions in Truth v. Kent and North Coast Women's Health v. Superior Court; and the good outcomes in AFBO v. Iowa and Doe v. California Lutheran.

With regard to what the near future holds, I pointed to the emphasis on "LGBT concerns" on the White House website's "civil rights agenda" page; the likely introduction of ENDA; continuing litigation [much of which the CLS Center is involved in]; and the Obama Administration's approach to religious staffing freedoms in the faith-based initiative.