Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Caesar's Sectarians | Christianity Today | A Magazine of Evangelical Conviction

Caesar's Sectarians | Christianity Today | A Magazine of Evangelical Conviction:
"The state of Colorado wants to encourage religious people to get an education and participate fully in democracy. For example, it provides scholarships even to residents who want to attend a private religious college in the state. You can use them at the Jesuits' Regis University or the Methodists' University of Denver.

Then again, you can't use them at the Buddhists' Naropa University or at Colorado Christian University (CCU), a nondenominational evangelical school."
"In short, as Judge Michael McConnell wrote for the unanimous three-judge panel, "the Colorado exclusion expressly discriminates among religions, allowing aid to 'sectarian' but not 'pervasively sectarian' institutions, and it does so on the basis of criteria that entail intrusive governmental judgments regarding matters of religious belief and practice." ..."
Hmmm. It sounds like the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals is looking at not only the First Amendment Establishment Clause, but the Free Exercise Clause as well:
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
The Colorado Legislature, reacting to a Supreme Court ruling, and set up six tests from distinguishing "sectarian" from "pervasively sectarian", and it was these tests that seemed to encroach on belief and practice.

I can think of at least one Presbyterian College in central Kansas that would have been denied scholarship money on the basis of this overturned law, and another Presbyterian College in central Missouri that would have been OK.
According to this Christianity Today editorial, the state of Colorado is not going to appeal.

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