Saturday, August 25, 2007

High School's Refusal to Recoginze Bible Club Limited to Christians Upheld

In Truth v. Kent School District, (9th Cir., Aug. 24, 2007), the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a decision made by the Associated Student Body Council in a Washington state high school. The Kentridge High School Council refused to grant official recognition to a student Bible club that limited its membership to those "complying in good faith with Christian character, Christian speech, Christian behavior and Christian conduct as generally described in the Bible." The school argued that state anti-discrimination laws precluded recognition of the club. The court held that the denial of recognition violated neither the federal Equal Access Act nor the club’s First Amendment rights. The court said that the club's policy of excluding those who do not meet Christian criteria did not have an expressive function, and forcing the group to include them as non-voting general members would not convey a message in conflict with the club’s views. Yesterday’s Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports on the decision.