The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution states:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
The amendment was put in place to protect free speech and to prevent the government from forming a national church such as the Church of England. It was to protect Americans’ right to worship freely. Separation of church and state appeared in a letter from Thomas Jefferson after the Constitution was adopted and was not part of the Constitution.
On Friday, The Daily Caller posted an article about a recent court case involving religious universities.
The article reports:
An Oregon federal district court ruled Thursday that students are allowed to use federal aid to attend religious universities that operate according to their religious beliefs.
The case Hunter v. the U.S. Department of Education (DOED) was initially filed in March 2021 after 40 LGBTQ former and current students, who had applied to multiple religious schools, sought to amend Title IX’s provision allowing religious universities to discriminate based on sex, sexual orientation or gender identity and receive federal funding, according to the opinion. A judge ruled late Thursday to dismiss the case, effectively upholding the right of religious schools to practice their faith and obtain federal funding.
In the opinion, Judge Ann Aiken stated in the opinion that Congress had allowed for a limited exemption for religious institutions if they can prove that it is a religious organization that operates under “religious tenets.” She further explained that after reviewing the claims presented, the plaintiff’s case did not have standing based on the merits.
The article concludes:
During the lawsuit, a judge allowed three Christian colleges, represented by Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), to join as co-defendants and argue the necessity of Title IX’s religious exemption, according to an ADF press release. Ryan Tucker, ADF senior counsel, told the Daily Caller News Foundation that he was “very grateful” for the court’s decision.
“The government shouldn’t strip students of their financial aid just because they attend a school with widely held religious beliefs, and this case impacts everybody,” Tucker stated. “People of every faith would have to fall in line with government orthodoxy or suffer severe penalties according to the plaintiffs and what they were seeking, so the short version is religious students deserve the same access to financial aid as every other student.”
The DOED and attorneys for Hunter did not respond to DCNF’s request for comment.
Unfortunately, government money always comes with strings attached.