Biden DOJ retracts promise to ‘vigorously’ defend religious schools’ exemption from LGBT activism
WASHINGTON, June 10, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — After at first promising to “vigorously” defend a religious exemption for federally funded religious schools in a case brought about by LGBT students and alumni, the Biden administration’s Department of Justice (DOJ) rushed to soften the language in its filing after being criticized by LGBT activists.
While the initial statement from the Biden DOJ was welcomed by conservatives and denounced by progressive and LGBT political forces, the quick evolution of the DOJ’s wording is indicative of the true trajectory of Democrat policymaking in Washington: The Biden Administration fully intends to follow through on its promise to make the so-called Equality Act the law of the land, essentially crushing religious liberty in the United States of America.
At stake in the case is Title IX’s prohibition against sex discrimination — now interpreted to include sexual orientation and gender identity — but which allows exemptions for religious organizations for whom such an interpretation is antithetical to their beliefs.
And while it is incumbent upon the DOJ to defend current law, laws which serve to protect religious liberty and conscience rights for Christians are clearly in the cross hairs of the Biden Administration.
The DOJ’s amended filing ominously notes, “The Department of Education is conducting a comprehensive review of its regulations implementing [the law], which sets forth the current administration’s policy on guaranteeing an educational environment free from discrimination on the basis of sex.”
In 2011 the DOJ under the Obama-Biden administration refused to defend the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) because President Obama and then-Attorney General Eric Holder had decided it was unconstitutional.
In a statement dated March 8, 2021, Biden issued an Executive Order directing the Secretary of Education to “consider suspending, revising, or rescinding those agency actions that are inconsistent” with his aim to enforce Title IX’s new interpretation to include sexual orientation and gender identity “for students attending schools and other educational institutions that receive Federal financial assistance.”
Case demands that Christian schools act contrary to their beliefs
At the heart of the lawsuit at hand, known as “Hunter v. U.S. Department of Education,” a few dozen current and past LGBT students are asking the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon to dismantle the long-established protections in Title IX preventing discrimination against religious schools in the disbursement of financial aid.
In April, attorneys with the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) — representing Corban University, William Jessup University, and Phoenix Seminary — had sought to intervene in the case “that seeks to strip all students at private religious colleges of federal financial aid unless their schools renounce core religious beliefs.”
The suit “intends to prevent any students from using tuition grants, student loans, and any other federal financial assistance at schools that operate according to Christian beliefs on sexuality,” according to an ADF statement issued at the time.
“This lawsuit wants the federal government to tell Christian schools, ‘To continue accepting students who have federal financial aid, all you have to do is to start acting contrary to your own beliefs.’ That’s neither reasonable nor constitutional,” said ADF Senior Counsel and Vice President of U.S. Litigation David Cortman at the time. “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 that reason, we are asking the court to let our clients intervene in this lawsuit so that they and their students can defend their freedoms under federal law and the Constitution.”
“Targeting religious schools hurts the students and families who desire to pursue their education in places that share their faith and values. These schools should be allowed to defend their and their students’ long-recognized freedoms under federal law and the First Amendment,” noted ADF Senior Counsel Ryan Tucker.
The ADF-represented schools sought to intervene in the case because they believed that the Biden Administration “may be openly hostile” and should not be trusted to defend the religious exemption.
The move was rebuffed by the Biden DOJ, resulting in its amended filing rejecting the school’s concerns, claiming that its objective “is to defend the constitutionality of the statutory exemption.”
At bottom, the DOJ’s filing is an attempt to “prevent a Christian organization from taking over the defense,” according to Slate courts reporter Mark Joseph Stern.
LGBTQ Nation echoed the far-left’s hand wringing over the influence of Christian beliefs in the United States, noting: “The plaintiffs in Hunter v. Department of Education are from 18 different states and attended 25 different colleges and universities, all associated with Christianity” (second set of italics added for emphasis).
“100,000 LGBTQ students are attending schools that discriminate against them, receive federal funds, but are exempt by the Department of Education from enforcing Title IX,” continued LGBTQ Nation’s coverage, implying that all Chrisitan schools are de facto bigoted institutions, undeserving of federal funding.