You may think your private college is, you know, private. You may think that Catholics have the right to run a Catholic college and defend Catholic doctrine. You may think that being free to run/attend/support such an institution is one of those civil liberties (freedom of religion, freedom of association) that make America great.
The universities maintain that they are private, religious institutions and have the right to set and enforce policies as they see fit. And that being private, the ACLU has no standing in the matter at the Jesuit school.
Sarah Wunsch a lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union in Boston stated in rebuttal, “we have the State Civil Rights Act, ” she said. “And it applies to private institutions, entities as well as government.”
“It states that no one can interfere or attempt to interfere with someone else’s rights by the results of threats, intimidation or coercion,” she added. Our view (ACLU) is that the colleges are different than churches for example as they hire from outside and have a wide range of views and people very unlike a seminary.”
Wunsch went further to say that the colleges are operating in public sphere not a private one such as a church and because of that difference the law doesn’t give them an exemption simply because of a religious affiliation.
“When these schools threaten a student within the privacy of their own dorm room for providing information and condoms, we feel it interferes with a student’s rights,” Wunsch said.
“These are secured rights,” she said. “I respect the rights of the colleges, they certainly have the right to express their own views, and can attempt to sway the students to the beliefs of the Catholic Church, but we don’t think they have the right to threaten students who don’t adhere to those views in the privacy of their own dormitory rooms.”
So if a religious school has a “no-drinking” policy and “coerces” you into sobriety by threatening to kick you out, is that really against the law? If you have a “same-sex-only” dorm policy and sneak a girl into your dorm room, are you protected by your “right to privacy?”
If so, then private religious colleges can’t exist. At least, they can’t have enforceable rules, which is the same thing. This is a full-on assault on religious colleges, courtesy of the Massachusetts ACLU.
If this anti-religious-freedom attitude sounds familiar, it should. And the ACLU locals know it:
Wunsch pointed out that under the federal Affordable Care Act, the schools will be required in some way to cover prescription contraception.
Massachusetts liberals can deny that ObamaCare’s birth control/abortifacient policy is anti-Catholic, but the ACLU knows the score.
There are a relative handful of private religious colleges, and a gazillion secular or state-run colleges. Why would students who don’t like the rules attend these schools? Why would the ACLU work so hard to deny their right to exist?
I guess some civil rights are more equal than others.