After the Supreme Court bucked New York’s Yeshiva University’s (YU) challenge to a state court order that the Orthodox Jewish school officially recognize a LGBTQ student group, the nation’s oldest Jewish institution of higher education fired back with their plan to “follow the court’s instructions.”
Vice President Kamala Harris may be quick to label the Supreme Court an “activist court” as the left tries to drum up support for court-packing, but the 5-4 decision Wednesday ruling against YU’s request to block an order that they recognize a student group outside their religious values proved how off the mark that claim was. Likewise, the university’s response demonstrated the right for religious liberty against woke ideology is far from over as they have decided to suspend all student club activities until the matter is resolved.
Students were informed via unsigned email from university officials Friday, according to the Associated Press, that YU would “hold off on all undergraduate club activities while it immediately takes steps to follow the roadmap provided by the U.S. Supreme Court to protect YU’s religious freedom.”
As the majority had argued in its ruling, “The application [was] denied because it appears that applicants have at least two further avenues for expedited or interim state court relief.”
Following that decision, YU President Rabbi Ari Berman released his own statement ahead of the email to students that read, “Every faith-based university in the country has the right to work with its students, including its LGBTQ students, to establish the clubs, places and spaces that fit within its faith tradition.”
“Yeshiva University simply seeks that same right of self-determination,” he continued. “The Supreme Court has laid out the roadmap for us to find expedited relief and we will follow their instructions. At the same time, as our commitment to and love for our LGBTQ students are unshakeable, we continue to extend our hand in invitation to work together to create a more inclusive campus life consistent with our Torah values.”
Time and again, compassion and dialogue have been proven to offer little interest to those espousing radical ideologies who seek absolute acceptance of their beliefs. In this case, attorney Katie Rosenfeld who is representing the students challenging YU’s club policies reacted to the suspension of activities likening their adherence to their religious values, of which the students were well aware of before choosing to attend the Orthodox Jewish university, to racists who had opposed an end to segregation.
“The YU administration’s announcement today that it will cancel all student club activities rather than accept one LGBTQ peer support group on campus is a throwback to 50 years ago when the city of Jackson, Mississippi closed all public swimming pools rather than comply with court orders to desegregate,” Rosenfeld said in a statement.
She went on to claim that, “The Pride Alliance seeks a safe space on campus, nothing more,” and “By shutting down all club activities, the YU administration attempts to divide the student body, and pit students against their LGBTQ peers.”
“We are confident that YU students will see through this shameful tactic and stand together in community,” she added.
Meanwhile, Eric Baxter, a senior counsel with the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty representing YU, has stated the pivotal nature of the case as it pertains to the First Amendment and ahead of the Supreme Court’s decision to refer the challenge back to state court, he celebrated the amicus support the university had while evidently no individual or group had filed in support of the students.
“Ultimately the wave of support for Yeshiva shows that religious groups understand what is at stake in this case. If a court can say Yeshiva is not religious and can’t uphold its Torah values on its own campus, all religious institutions are at risk,” Baxter tweeted. “Few cases will be more vital.”
Ultimately the wave of support for Yeshiva shows that religious groups understand what is at stake in this case. If a court can say Yeshiva is not religious and can’t uphold its Torah values on its own campus, all religious institutions are at risk. Few cases will be more vital.
— Eric Baxter (@esbax) September 4, 2022
Justice Samuel Alito seemed to concur with this sentiment when he closed his dissent to the 5-4 ruling by writing, “I doubt that Yeshiva’s return to state court will be fruitful, and I see no reason why we should not grant a stay at this time. It is our duty to stand up for the Constitution even when doing so is controversial. For these reasons, I respectfully dissent.”
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