WASHINGTON — While it is not known if the move was done due to the request of homosexual and transgender advocacy groups, the U.S. Department of Education has released a list of Christian identifying colleges and universities who have requested exemptions from a federal law that has recently been interpreted to pertain to homosexuality and transgenderism.
As previously reported, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) had released a statement earlier this year calling for the government to post the names of Christian colleges and universities nationwide that have requested an exemption from Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibits educational institutions from discriminating against a person based on their gender.
“No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance,” it reads.
Although the law has been most known as being applied to discrimination against women and in situations related to girls who desire to participate in sports programs, the Department of Education recently told various schools that it interprets Title IX to also apply to transgender students.
Schools who do not seek an exemption may be required to allow male students who identify as female to use the girls’ restroom and vice versa, or may be mandated to permit male students who identify as female to share dorm space with the girls and vice versa.
But Title IX also contains a provision allowing religious schools to request an exemption from the law if “application of the law would conflict with specific tenets of the religion.”
HRC noted in its report earlier this year that nearly 60 Christian schools nationwide have requested an exemption, especially in recent years, with 23 seeking an exemption surrounding their convictions about homosexuality and 33 seeking an exemption surrounding transgender issues.
Only 12 schools had applied for an exemption before the Obama presidency. The list has quickly grown in recent years considering the government’s broadened interpretation of the law.
HRC believes that it is discrimination for religious schools to refuse to allow transgender students to use the restroom or dorm of their choice, or to prohibit students from engaging in homosexual behavior.
“Prospective students and their parents deserve greater transparency, and we urge the Department of Education to take action by helping to increase accountability and to ensure that no student unknowingly enrolls in a school that intends to discriminate against them,” HRC President Chad Griffin in a statement. “We believe that religious liberty is a bedrock principle of our nation, however faith should never be used as a guise for discrimination.”
Those included on the list posted to the U.S. Department of Education website as of April 26 include Oklahoma Christian University, William Carey University in Mississippi (named after the renowned missionary), Lancaster Bible College in Pennsylvania, Maranatha Baptist Bible College in Wisconsin, Colorado Christian University, East Texas Baptist University, Indiana Wesleyan University and Northpoint Bible College in Massachusetts.
The full list may be viewed here.