In a twist, the Justice Department this week said it will defend a rule that exempts Christian schools from anti-discrimination laws. The announcement comes as the Biden administration moves to force schools to allow biological males to use women’s showers and compete on their teams.
Religious institutions are exempt from Title IX, a 1972 law that prohibits discrimination based on sex in education programs and activities. The Biden administration interprets Title IX as also banning discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
In March, a coalition of 33 LGBT-identifying students of Christian and religious schools filed a federal lawsuit against the Department of Education, asking the court to declare the Title IX religious exemption clause unconstitutional. However, the Department of Justice said in a court filing that its interests “coincide” with those of Christian institutions – including Corban University, William Jessup University and Phoenix Seminary – that sought to intervene in the case. The Council for Christian Colleges & Universities also sought to intervene. The Christian schools and the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities asked the court to allow them to defend the exemption, saying the Biden administration does not adequately represent their interests.
The position by the Biden Justice Department surprised the Religious Exemption Accountability Project, the group that filed the original lawsuit.
“What this means is that the government is now aligning itself with anti-LGBTQ hate in order to vigorously defend an exemption that everyone knows causes severe harm to LGBTQ students using taxpayer money,” said Paul Carlos Southwick, director of the project. “It will make our case harder if the federal government plans to vigorously defend it like they have indicated.”
The three Christian schools, in their motion to intervene, said a change in the federal law would dramatically affect what is said and taught in chapel, in the classroom, and in counseling, “all of which encourage students to live consistently with Biblical views on marriage and human sexuality.”
In a separate legal move the College of the Ozarks, a nationally recognized Christian college in Missouri, is suing a directive from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development that forces religious schools to violate their beliefs by opening girls’ dormitories to males who identify as female. The order also applies to females who identify as males.
–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice