Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Intensifying Attack on Christian Institutions

by Rick Plasterer
August 26, 2014

The next stage in the culture war over religion, fueled from the gains of recent years by social liberals in public opinion, a two term liberal Democratic presidency, and liberal judicial appointments, appears to be unfolding in the use of antidiscrimination doctrine to attack Christian institutions.

Although threats do exist to the primary religious institutions – houses of worship – it is those that provide social services as a religious activity, namely religiously affiliated schools, hospitals, and charities that are most directly threatened. These have been a refuge for Christians, or other believers, from the secularization of the twentieth, and now twenty-first, centuries. Service to the poor and suffering and the education of the young are both Biblical commands, and thus, in the American rights-oriented context, should be understood as an exercise of religion. Heretofore our legal system has permitted religious education and social service without seriously impinging on their religious character. Now we may be seeing the beginning of the end of educational and social services that are in any serious way religious rather than secular.

For educational institutions, there are three notable areas which could be subject to attack: state aid to education, tax exempt status, and accreditation. State aid involves most notably state financial assistance to students through work-study programs or other assistance, the threat to tax exempt status comes in tying tax exemption to agreement with fundamental public policy objectives, the threat to accreditation represents the ultimate threat short of making specifically Christian educational institutions illegal...  the rest


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