A Famous Law School Wants to Defend Religious Liberty

Stanford Law School has opened the
nation’s first law clinic for the defense of religious liberty. As examples of
the type of cases it will handle, the school cited Seventh-day Adventists fired
by Fed Ex for refusing to work on Saturdays, a Muslim group challenging
land-use laws that prohibit building of mosques, and a Native American prisoner
denied the right to smoke a ceremonial pipe.

Funding to launch the clinic came in a $1.6 million donation from the John
Templeton Foundation, funneled through the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.
James Wigginton, 26, a Muslim member of the clinic, said: “Religious ideas need
to be expressed openly in public. Hopefully that attracts liberals as well as
conservatives.”

Maybe not. The New York Times caught up to the story today, and the report
contained built-in indicators that liberals should be appalled. Lawrence C.
Marshall, associate dean at Stanford Law was quoted as saying  that “the
47 percent of the people who  voted for Mitt Romney deserve a curriculum
as well,” though why Democrats and others who voted for President Obama
should not care about religious liberty was left obscure.

Most of the other 11 clinics at Stanford Law reflect the conventional liberal
cast of our law schools, and apparently the Times considers this exception
somewhat threatening. Much of the article contains liberal grumbling about the
new clinic, capped off by a woman’s complaint that “no one is mentioning the
real religious freedom concern of our day, Islamophobia.” That’s just precious.

John Leo

John Leo

John Leo is the editor of Minding the Campus, dedicated to chronicling imbalances within higher education and restoring intellectual pluralism to our American universities. His popular column, "On Society," ran in U.S.News & World Report for 17 years.

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