Discriminating Against the Catholic Church

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Among the countless questions asked to Elena Kagan during her confirmation hearings as President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee was one that ought to interest Catholics.

When she was dean at Harvard Law, Kagan banned the U.S. military from recruiting at the school’s Office of Career Services. Why? Because of the military’s “don’t-ask-don’t-tell” policy, which violated the school’s sexual-orientation guidelines. Harvard Law has a broad array of anti-discrimination criteria, from sexual orientation to race, gender, and more.

Given these facts, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) posed an intriguing question to Kagan. He asked whether the law school’s policy would apply to the Catholic Church, given the Church doesn’t ordain women. Would that prevent the Church from coming to campus to recruit prospective lawyers?

Kagan responded with what amounted to a lengthy, “yes.” The Church’s position would violate college policy on gender discrimination.

Or, put differently, Kagan and her colleagues would discriminate against the Catholic Church because of its teachings. Although they surely don’t view it that way, they would, in effect, discriminate against those they disagree with. They do so under the guise, ironically, of non-discrimination, even as their policy is, in fact, discriminatory—against the Roman Catholic Church.

Here again, we have the utter naked nonsense and phoniness of these self-contradictory claims and terms: non-discrimination that discriminates; tolerance that doesn’t tolerate; inclusiveness that excludes.

Even more troubling, given that Kagan’s position on the Supreme Court is based on the U.S. Constitution, is how such thinking contravenes the First Amendment, which pledges the free exercise of religion. Catholics, and their Church, have the right to freely exercise their faith as they’d like.

That’s something they ought to teach at Harvard Law.

Dr. Paul Kengor


Dr. Paul Kengor is professor of political science at Grove City College and executive director of The Center for Vision & Values. His books include “The Crusader: Ronald Reagan and the Fall of Communism” and “Dupes: How America’s Adversaries Have Manipulated Progressives for a Century.”

Subscribe to CE
(It's free)

Go to Catholic Exchange homepage