“While the Department of Education has little discretion to deny these requests for exemptions, religiously controlled educational institutions should not be exempt from full transparency.” In effect, HRC knows that it cannot deny religious colleges the rights to such waivers, but, in their thinking, who needs a law when you have unelected administrative bureaucracies that can unlawfully intrude and intimidate those with religious views that are found unacceptable?
On Friday, the nation’s largest gay-rights organization, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), released a chilling report that investigates a “disturbing trend” of religious colleges’ taking legal measures to exercise their religious liberty, using waivers available to them under Title IX. A summary of the report can be found here.
Titled “Hidden Discrimination: Title IX Religious Exemptions Putting LGBT Students at Risk,” the report looks at 56 colleges that have sought such exemptions. According to the report, “Since 2013, 33 have received exemptions from protections that relate to gender identity, and 23 have received exemptions relating to sexual orientation.”
In the eyes of HRC, the constitutional rights of a religious school to remain faithful to its doctrinal views on sexuality and sexual complementarity should be subjugated to the expressive and sexual identity of prospective students. In their view, moral condemnation of homosexuality or transgender identity is tantamount to discrimination, and therefore, Christian schools should not be treated so tolerantly under federal law.
With the wind at its back, however, HRC is capitalizing on legal and cultural shifts in believing it can single out and intimidate those Christian schools, which, SURPRISE . . . believe and act according to the Christian tradition.
As is the custom of confessionally Christian schools, most have student-conduct guidelines that prohibit homosexual practice or that do not validate the ideological construct of transgender theory. This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone familiar with Christianity, which views the complementarity of the sexes as a divine gift and homosexuality as a sinful deviation from God’s plan for human sexuality.
The report issues three policy recommendations, calling on:
- the Department of Education to require schools to publish comprehensive information about the scope of the exemption they received and the way Title IX still protects students;
- the Department of Education to regularly report which educational institutions have been granted Title IX religious exemptions and the scope of those exemptions, and to ensure that the information is provided on the individual schools’ landing page as part of College Navigator; and
- Congress to amend the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR) governing statute to require OCR to annually report the number of Title IX exemptions that were requested, granted, and denied.
In effect, HRC wants the Department of Education to publicly list these unsanctioned dissenters, require these institutions to confess their sins publicly, and to be held accountable for any sins committed.