Joe Biden’s Department of Education is launching investigations into religious colleges that refuse to bend to his LGBTQ agenda. It was reported recently that the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at the U.S. Department of Education is conducting a Title IX investigation of Clarks Summit University, a Christian school near Scranton, Pennsylvania. According to a Department of Education notification letter, the investigation was prompted by a complaint that “The University maintains a policy in its Student Handbook prohibiting students from engaging in same-sex romantic or sexual relationships, as well as from ‘cross-dressing or other actions deliberately discordant with birth gender.’”
Title IX, which supposedly protects students against discrimination based on sex, contains a clear religious exemption. But LGBTQ activists have long sought to eliminate the exemption and now find in Biden’s Department of Education congenial allies willing to hassle religious colleges despite it. A group called the Religious Exemption Accountability Project has been gunning for conservative religious colleges for some time. Paul Southwick, the director of the group, is thrilled that the Biden administration has opened up an inquiry into Clarks Summit University — an action, he says, that “potentially affects hundreds of educational institutions and demonstrates that OCR has the power to investigate taxpayer-funded religious schools whose disciplinary or other policies discriminate against LGBTQ+ students.”
Biden is rapidly turning “civil rights” into a euphemism for the violation of religious freedom. The phrase is routinely invoked whenever he wants to cast historic Christian teaching as “discriminatory.” But what about the civil rights of the religious? They don’t count, according to Biden, who campaigned against Trump’s “broad exemptions” for them. (READ MORE BY GEORGE NEUMAYR: The Coming Assault on Religious Freedom)
The complaint against Clarks Summit University was initiated by a former student expelled for not abiding by the school’s moral standards. The expelled student didn’t get a hearing from the Trump administration, but the Biden administration is all ears, he burbles: “Now the Office for Civil Rights is saying they are diving in deep, that there is value in this investigation. They’re saying there are red flags here, and that helps me rid my mind of a lot of self-gaslighting and doubt, brainwashing that I was at fault. This whole process is therapeutic for me.”
Biden is rapidly turning “civil rights” into a euphemism for the violation of religious freedom.
Somehow he is the victim here, even though the school’s standards were known to him upon entrance. Who forced him to go there? The Religious Exemption Accountability Project, which represents the former student, is simply using cases like his to hijack religious colleges, and the Biden administration is happy to oblige this opportunism.
Brigham Young University is also under investigation by the Department of Education. The school’s grave offense? It bans gay dating on campus.
“BYU removed its written ban on ‘homosexual behavior,’ in early 2020, prompting students to publicly come out as members of the LGBTQ community,” reports Associated Press. “But the school clarified a few weeks later that same-sex dating is still prohibited, even if it’s no longer expressly written in the honor code. It also bans things such as alcohol consumption, beards and piercings.”
“BYU is exempt from application of Title IX rules that conflict with the religious tenets of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” a spokesman for the school told AP. The Biden administration knows this and doesn’t care. Across the federal government, particularly at Health and Human Services, Biden’s secularists are playing all the regulatory and legal angles to minimize religious freedom as much as possible. “Discrimination” is the lever by which they seek to accomplish this subversion.
In the name of eliminating “discrimination,” they want Catholic hospitals to perform abortions and transgender surgeries. In its name, they demand religious colleges and universities turn the crafting of their moral standards over to LGBTQ activists. It is all profoundly un-American. The Founding Fathers didn’t see the uniquely religious mission of schools and hospitals as contrary to the common good but essential to it.
Thomas Jefferson wrote to the Ursuline sisters who ran orphanages in Louisiana and worried about the potential loss of their religious freedom that the “principles of the constitution and government of the United States are a sure guarantee to you that it will be preserved to you sacred and inviolate, and that your institution will be permitted to govern itself according to its own voluntary rules, without interference from the civil authority.” He added that “whatever diversity of shade may appear in the religious opinions of our fellow citizens, the charitable objects of your institution cannot be indifferent to any.”
It is impossible to imagine Biden writing a letter like that to the Little Sisters of the Poor today. As he promised during the 2020 campaign, he would “fight so that no one is turned away from a business or refused service by a government official just because of who they are or who they love.” The concrete application of this promise is unfolding before our eyes. It is a promise predicated on the suppression of religious freedom and threatens the survival of any institution, no matter how tenuously connected to government, that won’t go woke.