Why the Case of the Yeshiva University Pride Alliance Matters for Religious Freedom in America

After some deliberation, New York City’s Yeshiva University (YU) declined an application for official status from an undergraduate gay and lesbian group, the Pride Alliance. But Lynn Kotler, a New York state judge, recently ruled that the school must reverse course, on the grounds that it is not entitled to a religious exemption from the New York City Human Rights Law. YU has now petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case. Dan McLaughlin analyzes the constitutional issues at hand:

Judge Kotler ruled that Yeshiva is not really a religious, rather than an educational, institution. She relied on the fact that the university had changed its charter in 1967 to declare an educational primary purpose and that it now offers degrees in many secular subjects. She also decided that the university’s religious argument was compromised because some faculty dissented from the decision and because the university since the 1990s had permitted such groups in its schools of law and medicine. . . .

This is, on both grounds, an unreasonably crabbed view of what it means to be a religious believer or a religious institution. While Yeshiva trains rabbis, it also trains a great many other students who will have to earn their living in the wider world—as businesspeople, doctors, dentists, lawyers, scientists, social workers, teachers, and all manner of other occupations. No religion can long survive if it is permitted to train only ministers in the faith. The university’s greater willingness to compromise the purity of its religious message in its law and medical schools is, likewise, a real-world acknowledgement that graduate and professional schools aren’t colleges: they cater to students who have reached full adulthood and may, in many cases, be married people in their 30s with significant work experience who have likely already set themselves on their faith journey.

As for the fact that some faculty disagreed with the decision, one must ask if the judge has ever met any university faculty, any religious believers, or any Jews. If religious authorities may require their believers to follow only those doctrines that nobody disputes, that would swiftly be the end of all forms of religious authority.

Read more at National Review

More about: Freedom of Religion, Homosexuality, U.S. Constitution, Yeshiva University

While Israel Is Distracted on Two Fronts, Iran Is on the Verge of Building Nuclear Weapons

Iran recently announced its plans to install over 1,000 new advanced centrifuges at its Fordow nuclear facility. Once they are up and running, the Institute for Science and International Security assesses, Fordow will be able to produce enough highly enriched uranium for three nuclear bombs in a mere ten days. The U.S. has remained indifferent. Jacob Nagel writes:

For more than two decades, Iran has continued its efforts to enhance its nuclear-weapons capability—mainly by enriching uranium—causing Israel and the world to concentrate on the fissile material. The International Atomic Energy Agency recently confirmed that Iran has a huge stockpile of uranium enriched to 60 percent, as well as more enriched to 20 percent, and the IAEA board of governors adopted the E3 (France, Germany, UK) proposed resolution to censure Iran for the violations and lack of cooperation with the agency. The Biden administration tried to block it, but joined the resolution when it understood its efforts to block it had failed.

To clarify, enrichment of uranium above 20 percent is unnecessary for most civilian purposes, and transforming 20-percent-enriched uranium to the 90-percent-enriched product necessary for producing weapons is a relatively small step. Washington’s reluctance even to express concern about this development appears to stem from an unwillingness to acknowledge the failures of President Obama’s nuclear policy. Worse, writes Nagel, it is turning a blind eye to efforts at weaponization. But Israel has no such luxury:

Israel must adopt a totally new approach, concentrating mainly on two main efforts: [halting] Iran’s weaponization actions and weakening the regime hoping it will lead to its replacement. Israel should continue the fight against Iran’s enrichment facilities (especially against the new deep underground facility being built near Natanz) and uranium stockpiles, but it should not be the only goal, and for sure not the priority.

The biggest danger threatening Israel’s existence remains the nuclear program. It would be better to confront this threat with Washington, but Israel also must be fully prepared to do it alone.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Iran nuclear program, Israeli Security, Joseph Biden, U.S. Foreign policy