10/20/2021 United States (International Christian Concern) – On October 8, 2021, a federal district court granted a petition by three Christian schools to join a lawsuit threatening to significantly fund American Christian colleges and universities.
David Cortman, vice president of US litigation and senior counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), the group representing the schools, said in a statement: “This lawsuit wants the federal government to tell Christian schools, ‘To continue accepting low- and middle-income students who need financial aid, you must violate your core beliefs. “”
The trial, Hunter v. United States Department of Education, was filed in March by a group of LGBT activists called the Religious Exemption Accountability Project (REAP). As the group’s name suggests, the purpose of the lawsuit is to get the court to abolish the Ministry of Education’s “religious exemption” under Title IX.
The religious exception allows Christian colleges to receive federal student loans for tuition fees while continuing to promote biblical definitions of marriage and sexuality. If the religious exception in Title IX is abolished, it would prevent students from using federal loans at these schools. According to Education Data Initiative, 40.5% of undergraduates aged 15 to 23 use federal loans to attend college; preventing such a large portion of American students from using these loans at Christian institutions would likely lead to the closure of many Christian colleges or force them to change their beliefs about sexuality.
Originally, the case was filed by REAP against only the Department of Education, as the religious exception is federal policy. However, the Biden administration, according to ADF, “has already announced that Title IX should be reinterpreted in a way that would infringe religious freedom.” This likely means that the Biden administration would do little to defend the exception and either allow it to be overturned or itself proactively abolish it.
This is what makes the request granted by ADF so important. Although the Biden administration does not wish to protect the religious exception, three Christian schools, Corban University, William Jessup University and Phoenix Seminary, will now be allowed to participate in the trial and defend their beliefs against the government censorship.
“Because [violating schools’ core beliefs is] neither reasonable nor constitutional, we are happy that these schools have the possibility of defending their freedoms in this matter ”, Mr Cortman said. “No court should accept a sweeping demand to rewrite strong federal law and religious colleges by depriving their students of much-needed financial aid.”
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