There is a student group on campus that does not permit persons born homosexual or lesbian to be full members, but which wants the State of California to subsidize its discriminatory student activities. The state has refused to do so. Put that way, it makes perfect sense–but it does not make perfect sense.
The student group in question is the Intervarsity Christian Fellowship (I.V.C.F.), the local chapter of a national organization founded as part of an international cooperative with its roots in Cambridge, England in 1877 and its United States incorporation in 1941. It is a known interdenominational Evangelical Christian college organization rated a four-star charity that runs evangelistic meetings and publishes books and other literature, promotes ethnic integration, and applies itself to social issues such as human trafficking. It has always stood for a rational conservative view of Christian faith. That includes the religious position that homosexual conduct is an offense to God. This is not the focus of the group, but it is an issue–as it was with the Boy Scouts, who were told by the Supreme Court that as a private organization they could make their own rules concerning the participation of homosexuals. I.V.C.F. has been a recognized campus “club” for decades, and has not changed its position.
California provides funds for recognized on-campus groups. It does so fairly, without regard for the purpose of the group, or at least that is the concept. Religious groups are not denied such funding merely for being religious; nor are political groups denied funding for holding specific political positions. Yet I.V.C.F. has been denied the ordinary student group funding provided to other groups because of a long-held religious view about a political position–because it will not admit members who do not agree with its core principles. That’s not an unusual requirement for membership in a group. It just happens that the State of California has decided that the religious and political view of this group is discriminatory against a group who cannot help having been born members of that group.
Yet that is precisely the issue. The belief that people are born homosexual is fundamentally a religious belief expressed as a political position. There is no science for it–the current science says there is no genetic basis for homosexuality. The prevailing opinion at the moment is that people who “are homosexual” cannot be otherwise, but being the prevailing opinion makes it no more valid than previous prevailing opinions such as that blacks were an inferior sub-human race of hominids somewhere slightly above gorillas and chimpanzees.
Also of concern, the decision to decline funding for the student group is a step toward denying access, to telling this solid and internationally respected Evangelical student organization that it cannot have a recognized chapter on campus. It is a step toward banning political and religious speech that is contrary to the positions of the ruling class.
Moreover, groups that agree with and promote the prevailing religious/political view on this subject are given state funding. The state will provide funds for homosexual and lesbian student groups whose purpose is to promote the L.G.B.T.Q. viewpoint and agenda. Since this is a controversial religious and political issue, the state ought to treat all groups expressing a view on the subject equally. All religious and political groups get to make their own rules and promote their own positions, and the question of funding them should not be based on those positions and rules. If the state cannot fund a group that promotes a belief that homosexuality is a lifestyle choice that destroys both those involved and society generally, then the state ought similarly to be unable to fund any group that promotes the opposite belief. Yet college groups thrive on having diverse groups expressing and promoting and debating opposing viewpoints–the Young Republicans and the Students for a Democratic Society, the Asian Student Council and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, socialists, feminists, environmentalists, and many others. To deny a group equal access to campus benefits because it promotes a religious or political view with which the state currently disagrees is a clear violation of First Amendment protections.
Those who disagree with the traditional Evangelical viewpoint that homosexual conduct is “sin” will of course say that the beliefs of the group are discriminatory, and in the literal sense they are–just as it would be discriminatory for a drug and alcohol treatment program to refuse to employ active substance abusers. It is equally discriminatory to deny to a well-established student group funding available to all student groups based solely on the fact that a religious/political position it has always held has fallen into disfavor with the ruling class. Provide funding without reference to political and religious opinions, or deny it to everyone, but do not base funding on accepting current religious/political positions. That is something the state is not permitted to do.