A third-year student at Yale Law School said he thought he could survive as a Christian and a person committed to constitutional freedoms at the school, but recent events showed him that he was mistaken.
Writing at The Federalist, Aaron Haviland explained how he and other conservatives became targets of a coordinated protest by liberal students. A few weeks ago, Haviland and some friends sent out an email on behalf of the school’s chapter of the Federalist Society announcing that an attorney from the Alliance Defending Freedom would be on campus to discuss the recent Supreme Court verdict in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. The backlash surprised him and revealed the depth of the hostility conservatives face on campus.
The Alliance Defending Freedom has argued and won First Amendment cases before the Supreme Court, but this has not stopped the Southern Poverty Law Center from listing them as a hate group. News stories frequently mention this designation. In a recent Huffington Post article about Allison Jones Rushing’s confirmation to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4thCircuit, the author lists her work with the Alliance Defending Freedom as one of the concerning aspects of her nomination. In the piece, the author’s only explanation of the Alliance Defending Freedom’s work was to mention the Southern Poverty Law Center’s “hate group” classification.
Haviland said that within 24 hours, emails had been sent out by a variety of student identity groups calling for a boycott of the event. He also reported that some students at the school advocated for banning those who support the Alliance Defending Freedom’s positions from admission to the school and that another emailed a list of the Society’s board members “so students would know whom to ‘thank’ for the event.”
On the night of the event, protesters did little to disrupt the event itself but rather held protests and support groups in other rooms on campus. The 30 attendees arrived to find the front door decorated with rainbow posters. Three students walked in near the end of the event to take the last of the pizza. One of them blew a kiss at the assembled crowd and another gave them the middle finger as they exited.
Haviland says the pressure on Christian conservatives at Yale increased after the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh last fall. He said that students with connections to the Alliance Defending Freedom faced exclusion from classmates. Some demanded lists of students who had connections to the organization. He said threats and intimidation have become “routine” and that it “takes place with the full knowledge of the school administration.”
Haviland looks forward to graduating from the prestigious institution but is concerned that he will carry bitterness over his experience there. He is looking to his faith to help him find the ability to forgive those who have targeted him and his friends. He pointed to a recent Sunday when the Gospel reading included Jesus’ words “Love your enemies.” The visiting priest told the congregation that it is tempting to strike back at enemies, but that those who follow Jesus resist this temptation and choose to love, pray for, and forgive them.
If recent events at Yale Law continue, Haviland, his friends, and other conservative Christians will have many opportunities to put Jesus’ words into practice.
Scott Slayton writes at “One Degree to Another.”
Photo courtesy: Pixabay
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