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SHORT TAKES


January 22, 2013

A Famous Law School Wants to Defend Religious Liberty

Stanford Law School has opened the nation's first law clinic for the defense of religious liberty. As examples of the type of cases it will handle, the school cited Seventh-day Adventists fired by Fed Ex for refusing to work on Saturdays, a Muslim group challenging land-use laws that prohibit building of mosques, and a Native American prisoner denied the right to smoke a ceremonial pipe.

Funding to launch the clinic came in a $1.6 million donation from the John Templeton Foundation, funneled through the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. James Wigginton, 26, a Muslim member of the clinic, said: "Religious ideas need to be expressed openly in public. Hopefully that attracts liberals as well as conservatives."

Maybe not. The New York Times caught up to the story today, and the report contained built-in indicators that liberals should be appalled. Lawrence C. Marshall, associate dean at Stanford Law was quoted as saying  that "the 47 percent of the people who  voted for Mitt Romney deserve a curriculum as well," though why Democrats and others who voted for President Obama should not care about religious liberty was left obscure.

Most of the other 11 clinics at Stanford Law reflect the conventional liberal cast of our law schools, and apparently the Times considers this exception somewhat threatening. Much of the article contains liberal grumbling about the new clinic, capped off by a woman's complaint that "no one is mentioning the real religious freedom concern of our day, Islamophobia." That's just precious.

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