In March, the Religious Exemption Accountability Project (REAP), an LGBTQ+ activist organization, filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of several current and former LGBTQ+ students who attended various Christian colleges and universities and claimed that they were discriminated against because of their school’s policies that were consistent with biblical teachings on sexuality.
Title IX forbids discrimination on the basis of sex to all institutions receiving federal funding, including colleges and universities that admit students who receive federal student grants and loans. The Biden administration has adopted an interpretation of “sex” to include sexual orientation and gender identity. Title IX includes an exemption for religious institutions that implement policies based on sincerely held biblical and/or religious beliefs. That exemption is what is being challenged by REAP and those they represent in their lawsuit, Hunter v. U. S. Department of Education.
The Alliance Defending Freedom and the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities submitted motions to intervene in the case because they have their doubts that a Biden Department of Justice is enthusiastic about defending the exemption, given President Biden’s position on LGBTQ+ rights.
The DOJ has rejected the motion for ADF and CCCU to intervene, insisting that it is perfectly capable of defending the exemption and that, in fact, it intends to do so. The DOJ issued a statement saying that, “neither the Administration’s stated policy positions nor the Department’s review of existing regulations abrogate the government’s duty to defend federal statutes and regulations in court as a legal matter.” That probably does not offer much comfort to the ADF and CCCU, much less the Christian colleges and universities they represent. Indeed, red flags were raised after an initial statement that the DOJ would “vigorously” defend the exemption was re-issued without the word “vigorously,” suggesting a less than enthusiastic approach by the DOJ toward defending the exemption.
Considering that 7 out of 10 students at these colleges and universities rely on financial aid from the federal government in order to attend, we are talking about the life blood of these institutions. If they lose the ability to admit students who rely on federal aid, many if not most will find themselves living on a shoestring, if they are able to survive at all.
We will have to see how “vigorously” the Biden DOJ defends the exemption.
Be Christ for all. Bring Christ to all. See Christ in all.