A Lutheran high school in Riverside, California is being sued for discrimination after expelling two students suspected of lesbianism. The case is a bit convoluted, but the arguments put forth by the attorney representing the girls and their parents are very straightforward. Here is a summary from the North County Times in Riverside:
[Christopher] Hayes would not say whether the two students are lesbians, saying the issue is irrelevant as well as an invasion of their privacy. “The law protects actual as well as supposed sexual orientation,” he said. With regard to the legal merits of the case, Hayes said the law is clearly on his clients’ side. “We don’t believe that it is literally new legal ground,” Hayes said. “We believe that California law is clear. The California Unruh Civil Rights Act … prohibits businesses from discriminating against people for various reasons. “According to the state’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing Web site, the Unruh law requires “full and equal accommodations in all business establishments,” including with regard to sexual orientation. “This is not a church, it is a fee-taking school,” Hayes said. “They accept non-Christians and … they accept Jews, who as a fundamental doctrine of their religion do not accept Jesus Christ. What can be more antithetical to Christianity than Judaism? California law says you cannot pick and choose who you discriminate against.”
By this logic, any “fee-taking school” would be fully covered by all anti-discrimination laws and policies. This would effectively mean the end of Christian schools, in terms of religious liberty and the right to maintain biblical standards.
At the same time, it is interesting that the school enrolls non-Christians. That part of the lawyer’s argument deserves a closer look — and it gets to the heart of the question about the nature of Christian education.