The Jewish Coalition for Religious Liberty is proud to announce that it has entered an amicus brief in the case Business Leaders in Christ v. the University of Iowa.
The University prohibits religious student groups from imposing faith requirements on their leaders. In other words, a Jewish group cannot require its leader to practice Judaism. A Muslim group cannot require its leader to adhere to Islam. This ban harms religious diversity and will disproportionately hurt religious minorities.
The ban will force religious groups to choose between leaving campus and potentially sacrificing their distinct religious character. Imposing such a cruel dilemma violates settled First Amendment principles including, not discriminating against religion, requiring that public fora be equally open to all viewpoints, and respecting the internal operations of religious groups.
The university posits that a Jewish group engages in invidious discrimination by preferring to select a religious Jew as a leader. This displays a profound misunderstanding of religion and religious people. The preference for a religious leader in a religious organization is not an indication of animus towards people of other faiths. It is simply a demonstration that, when engaged in religious activities, religious people might prefer a leader who shares their same religious dedication, experiences, and perspective.
The university’s view which is tantamount to saying that it is invidious discrimination for synagogues to hire Rabbis rather than Catholic priests or avowed atheists is simply absurd.
The full brief is available here.