Misguided UCLA debate over bias of believers

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Ryan Colby 202-349-7219 media@becketlaw.org

San Francisco Chronicle, March 16, 2015

“Given that you are a Jewish student and very active in the Jewish community, how do you see yourself being able to maintain an unbiased view?”” That sentence, uttered last month by a UCLA undergraduate evaluating a Jewish student-government candidate, has ignited a firestorm. The New York Times reports that the Jewish student was asked to leave the room while the rest of the group spent 40 minutes discussing whether her participation in on-campus Jewish student groups meant she would be biased as a member of student government. In response, UCLA’s chancellor said it was “intellectually and morally unacceptable” to “assume that every member of a group can’t be impartial or is motivated by hatred.” He was, of course, correct: It is straightforward discrimination to assume that because someone is religious, they will be biased. My law firm, the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, exists to combat discrimination like this.