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10/20/2021 United States (International Christian Concern) – On October 8, 2021, a federal district court granted a motion made by three Christian schools to join a lawsuit threatening to significantly defund U.S. Christian colleges and universities.

David Cortman, Vice President of U.S. 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- to middle-income students who require financial aid, you have to violate your core beliefs.’”

The lawsuit, Hunter v. U.S. Dept. of Education, was filed back in March by an LGBT activist group called the Religious Exemption Accountability Project (REAP). As hinted at by the group’s name, the purpose of the suit is to have the court abolish the Department of Education’s “religious exemption” to Title IX.

What the religious exception does is allow Christian colleges to received federal student loans for tuition while still promoting Biblical definitions of marriage and sexuality.  If the religious exception to Title IX is abolished, it would prevent students from using federal loans at these schools. According to Education Data Initiative, 40.5% of 15- to 23-year-old undergraduate students use federal loans to attend college; preventing such a large portion of US students from using these loans at Christian institutions would likely lead to the closure of many Christian colleges or force them to amend their beliefs on sexuality.

Originally, the case was filed by REAP against only the Dept. of Education, as the religious exception is a federal policy. However, the Biden administration, according to ADF, “has already announced that Title IX should be reinterpreted in a way that would undermine religious freedom.” This likely means that the Biden administration would do little to defend the exception and either allow it to be overturned or proactively abolish it themselves.

This is what makes the granted motion by ADF so important. Even if the Biden administration does not wish to protect the religious exception, three Christian school, Corban University, William Jessup University, and Phoenix Seminary, will now be allowed to participate in the lawsuit and defend their beliefs from government censure.

“Because [violating schools’ core beliefs is] neither reasonable nor constitutional, we are pleased that these schools will have the opportunity to defend their freedoms in this case,” said Mr. Cortman. “No court should grant a radical request to rewrite federal law and strong-arm religious colleges by stripping their students of much-needed financial aid.”

For interviews, please contact Addison Parker: [email protected].