Council of over 180 Protestant institutions fights for Christian colleges and universities against LGBT lawsuit: United States: Christianity Daily
In response to a lawsuit by past and current LGBT students seeking to overturn religious schools’ exemptions from Title IX discrimination law, a leading association of more than 180 Protestant colleges and universities has come to their defense.
In an effort to provide federal funds for college students attending religious institutions that support biblical belief in marriage, gender, and sexuality, the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU) filed a movement to interfere in a lawsuit against the US Department of Education, reports Christian Post.
The lawsuit in question was filed on behalf of 33 previous and current LGBT students who felt discriminated against on 25 religious campuses across the country, in March by an advocacy group called the Religious Exemption Accountability Project (REAP).
Title IX of the Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination based on sex in education. Religious institutions that adhere to Biblical definitions of marriage and sexuality can apply for a religious exemption to allow them to follow their Biblical beliefs regarding sexuality.
The lawsuit aims to prevent students at faith-based institutions who adhere to conventional sexuality and gender beliefs from obtaining federal financial aid such as tuition grants, student loans and other government aid.
The action is “frivolous” comments the CCCU.
The Washington, DC-based council asserted that “denominational higher education has always been an essential part of the diversity of higher education in the United States – many of the country’s early colleges and universities were religious – and it is crucial that students continue to have the opportunity to choose and access the college of their choice in a diverse educational landscape. “
The majority of the complainants in the complaint are past or current students of the CCCU. The CCCU is an advocacy group with approximately 140 member schools in the United States, many of which adhere to “sincere biblical beliefs, which include specific religious beliefs regarding human sexuality and gender.”
LGBT student clubs may not receive official recognition from the university, transgender students may not be placed in dorms that match their gender identification, and restrictions against same-sex sex may derive from policies based on these views.
These schools, according to the CCCU, are “transparent about their policies and guidelines for behavior, which students voluntarily agree to when they choose to attend the institution.” Many CCCU institutions have “fundamental religious principles which conflict with Applicants’ understanding of Title IX”.
“Campuses are working hard to ensure that potential students understand their institution and its religious identity and want to be part of that community,” the CCCU statement said.
The removal of the religious exemption from Title IX, according to the CCCU’s motion to intervene, represents an “existential threat to higher religious education”. In addition, he declares that he “will deprive religious colleges of the oxygen which gives them life by prohibiting them, on pain of losing federal aid for their students, from teaching and awaiting membership in their fundamental religious beliefs “.
The CCCU motion notes that, as current concepts of sexuality and gender diverge, sometimes drastically, from the religious values that motivate every element of Christian life on campus, the Title IX religious exemption has proven to be crucial. for CCCU member universities.
The motion to intervene also argues that the Biden administration is opposed to maintaining the Title IX religious exemptions and has said that the rights of religious colleges “will not be represented and, therefore, not protected.”
“There is ample evidence that the current administration will not only fail to make the necessary arguments to defend Title IX religious exemptions as applied to sexual and gender minorities, but it could also be openly hostile to them,” he added.
Current and former students of Bob Jones University, Liberty University, Baylor University, Cedarville University and Brigham Young University are among those represented in the REAP complaint.
According to the REAP website, “REAP’s lawsuit upholds the constitutional and basic human rights of LGBTQ + students, seeking to end the sexual, physical and psychological abuse perpetrated under the Title IX religious exemption in thousands of cases. federally funded schools, colleges and universities across America, “
The complaint alleged that such regulations in Christian schools resulted in mistreatment and bullying of LGBT students. The CCCU, for its part, refuted these allegations.
“While this lawsuit presents frivolous legal claims, CCCU takes student experience reports seriously,” CCCU said.
“We are committed to learning, growing and deepening our understanding of how we can provide and strengthen support for all students on Christian college and university campuses, as CCCU institutions should be places where all students come together. feel secure, supported and welcomed. We know the college experience can be stressful, and even more so for LGBTQ students struggling to understand how their sexual orientation or gender identity intersects with their personal faith. “
In April, the Defending Freedom Alliance, a national religious freedom legal organization, filed for trial assistance on behalf of students at Corban University in Oregon, William Jessup University in California and Phoenix Seminary in Arizona, to protect religious exemptions for Title IX universities.
In one declarationDavid Cortman, senior counsel for ADF and vice president of US litigation, said: “This lawsuit [filed by REAP] wants the federal government to tell Christian schools, “To continue accepting students who receive federal financial aid, all you have to do is start acting against your own beliefs.” It is neither reasonable nor constitutional ”,
The CCCU says its member colleges can “advance their religious missions only if they are able to teach and adhere to their doctrines without government interference.”
“… [This litigation] threatens to stifle higher religious education in America. For these reasons, combined with the fact that only religious colleges can fully understand the importance of the exemption and the current administration’s open hostility to the arguments needed to fully defend the Title IX religious exemption, the CCCU is in right to intervene as of right “. in accordance with the appeal of the CCCU.