LINK: Another courtroom victory for religious colleges
A federal appeals court ruling that a Christian university in Colorado can receive state scholarship money is the latest in a string of legal victories for religious schools seeking public dollars.
The most recent case involved Colorado Christian University, a college of 2,000 students in suburban Denver where most students must attend chapel weekly and sign a promise to emulate the life of Jesus and biblical teachings.
Colorado Christian faculty must sign a statement that that the Bible is the “infallible Word of God.”
The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver ruled Wednesday that the state of Colorado overstepped its bounds with a system allowing students to use state scholarship dollars at some religious colleges, but not those dubbed “pervasively sectarian” — a judgment that required bureaucrats to investigate such tricky criteria as whether religion courses amounted to neutral study or proselytizing.
Supporters of Colorado Christian’s position hailed the ruling as an important victory for students.
Students “attending institutions such as CCU who take their faith-based commitment seriously should have an equal opportunity to participate in Colorado’s financial aid program,” said Paul Corts, president of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities.
But critics called it the latest example of a worrisome trend.
“The bottom line is that taxpayers will now end up having to pay for religious indoctrination,” said Barry Lynn, executive director of the group Americans United for Separation of Church and State. The law wasn’t discrimination, but “a sensible judgment by Colorado that some colleges are so religious that they cannot expect taxpayers to support them.”
The ruling cuts to a conundrum in the First Amendment, which prohibits the state from establishing any religion, but also prohibits religious discrimination. Religious colleges have argued their students shouldn’t be deprived of a state benefit everyone else can get.
Courts have split the difference by allowing forms of state support to colleges with some religious affiliation, but not to those that take additional steps, such as requiring certain religious beliefs and chapel attendance.
But this latest ruling — on the heels of others sympathetic to religious colleges — calls into question whether any legal distinction between “pervasively sectarian” and merely religious colleges can survive.
Once again, we see another example that their god cannot operate without money. They must beg the state for human tax dollars to help them because there is no god. I say if students want to accept state scholarship money then they should be required to use it at a state or secular university. If their god can’t provide for them to go to their religious brainwashing centers, it’s not the taxpayer’s problem.