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10th circuit strikes down anti-religious scholarship rule

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aspergris Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 04:43 PM
Original message
10th circuit strikes down anti-religious scholarship rule
Source: Volokh.com

Colorado had a law that prohibited state scholarships from going to students who attended (or will attend) "pervasively sectarian" schools.

This has been ruled unconstitutional by the 10th. Interesting case.

from Volokh.com


Tenth Circuit Strikes Down Exclusion of "Pervasively Sectarian" Institutions from Government-Paid Student Scholarships:
The government is generally free to provide broadly available student scholarships that students may use at any institution, religious or secular. Such generally available funding programs don't violate the Establishment Clause, though some earlier Supreme Court decisions had held the contrary.

The government is, however, also free to decide to limit such scholarships in certain ways, even when those ways discriminate against religious uses: The Supreme Court has held (in Locke v. Davey) that the government may exclude devotional theology majors from otherwise generally available scholarships, and that this discrimination against religious uses doesn't violate the Free Exercise Clause. The question that Locke leaves open is just what other kinds of exclusion of religious uses from generally available programs are constitutional.

The federal Tenth Circuit court of appeals has just held, in Colorado Christian Univ. v. Weaver, that one thing the government may not do is distinguish between students who go to ordinarily religious institutions and students who go to "pervasively sectarian" institutions. Colorado drew such a distinction for college student scholarships, providing that the scholarships could be used at a wide range of institutions but not at "pervasively sectarian" ones, with the term being further elaborated this way:

An institution of higher education shall be deemed not to be pervasively sectarian if it meets the following criteria:
(a) The faculty and students are not exclusively of one religious persuasion.
(b) There is no required attendance at religious convocations or services.
(c) There is a strong commitment to principles of academic freedom.
(d) There are no required courses in religion or theology that tend to indoctrinate or proselytize.
(e) The governing board does not reflect nor is the membership limited to persons of any particular religion.
(f) Funds do not come primarily or predominantly from sources advocating a particular religion.

The Tenth Circuit held that this discrimination in funding violated two Establishment Clause principles: (1) It impermissibly discriminates among religions, and (2) it requires an unduly "intrusive scrutiny of religious belief and practice."


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Political Heretic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 04:53 PM
Response to Original message
1. It the school is acredited nothing else should matter.
I graduated from Northwest Nazarene University. I'm extremely glad I went there and I'm very grateful for my federal assistance. For graduate school I've attended a state school, and honestly, sometimes I wish I would have done my graduate work back at NNU. The quality of the education was dramatically higher.
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aspergris Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 04:56 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. I went to
an episcopalian grammar school, and a Quaker High School.

Both were excellent education. I also spent a year in public high school, and the difference was night and day. The teachers at the private high school were MUCH MUCH better. They knew their subjects better, and were better teachers.

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New Dawn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 05:16 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. I went to a cultist school K-12
I do not think that religious schools should be subsidized by the government in any way. Many of these "schools" (like the "Seventh Day Adventist" cult compound that I attended) refuse to even teach science, like evolution.
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aspergris Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 05:19 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. Note that
this decision does nothing to "subsidize" religious schools.

Scholarships are a primary benefit to the STUDENT. Whether they choose to go to a religious or secular school is their decision, and thus govt. is not engaged in favoring or benefiting religious schools.

It's about choice.

I agree that govt. should not fund private schools - religious or otherwise.

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Political Heretic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 07:12 PM
Response to Reply #3
7. k-12 isn't subsidized, and universities are accredited.
If they are accredited that a person should be able to go to whatever accredited university they want, with federal help.

Accreditation should be the tool that keeps out crack pot "bible colleges."

Northwest Nazarene University was ranked one of the top five private colleges in the northwest, and his nursing program beat every college in the state. It was fully accredited.

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Blue_Tires Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-24-08 08:00 AM
Response to Reply #1
14. interesting -- my experience was the opposite
i went to a small but well-known private college with deep baptist roots, then a big state university for grad school... it only made me realize i should have done the big state school from the start...
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LiberalFighter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 05:45 PM
Response to Original message
5. Solution: Only provide if they attend a Colorado state university/college
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aspergris Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 05:54 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. How is that a "solution"?
Are you against qualified scholarship winners using their monies at private universities/religious ones?

Why discriminate? Scholarships are for the STUDENT. The locus of the decisionmaking should be them.

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Political Heretic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 07:12 PM
Response to Reply #6
8. I completely agree.
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LiberalFighter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-24-08 07:53 AM
Response to Reply #6
13. Yes I am. If the state is providing the scholarship they should be able
Edited on Thu Jul-24-08 07:55 AM by LiberalFighter
require 1)remain in the state to receive the scholarship 2) attend a state run univesity/college.

As far as the locus of the decision making. The student does get to decide which school within the state system they which to attend.


NO DIFFERENCE from a school providing a scholarship to a student. And their provision that the scholarship is valid only if they attend the school making the offer.


There are plenty of religious universities that provide scholarships to students to attend. Let them offer a scholarship to the student.
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aspergris Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-24-08 08:21 AM
Response to Reply #13
15. you completely miss the point
the unconstitutionality is that the state can't say it's ok for NONsectarian universities but not sectarian ones.

and again... wrong metric.

You are looking at this like the state is benefiting a religious school. NO

The benefit is to the student. The student, should have CHOICE (what a CONCEPT) as to his choice of school.

I don't care if the student chooses any school (accredited) he pleases. Because I support choice.

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davidinalameda Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 10:54 PM
Response to Original message
9. I'm amazed at the current replies
I'm surprised that the atheists haven't migrated over from the R/T forum to bash this decision


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Critters2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 11:01 PM
Response to Reply #9
10. Shhh...don't encourage them. nt
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davidinalameda Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-23-08 11:15 PM
Response to Reply #10
11. sorry
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enuegii Donating Member (624 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-24-08 01:18 AM
Response to Reply #9
12. Hi! I've just migrated over and boy
are my wings tired!

But, seriously, as both an atheist and hopefully an objective thinker, it's difficult to quarrel too much with the court decision. The criteria established to differentiate between acceptable and "primarily sectarian" are vague and open to interpretation. One person's "discussion" may be another's "proselytizing," etc.

There are many good, small liberal arts colleges and universities scattered across the country that are more or less affiliated with a certain religious sect, and it would be foolish for the state of Colorado to deny students scholarships to them because of their affiliation.

But the court's ruling that the state couldn't discriminate between religious institutions is suspect, in my view. I mean, there is a difference between Notre Dame and Bob Jones University(don't know if it is or ever has been accredited, though), right?

Sorry to disappoint by not bashing...at least not too much.


May all your Gods prevail each over another!

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Lone_Star_Dem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-24-08 11:26 AM
Response to Original message
16. Does not qualify as LBN.
Per the rules for starting threads in LBN.

5. Whenever possible, post excerpts and links from reputable mainstream news sources that are available online. Do not link to blogs, vanity sites, or blatantly biased sources, except in cases where reputable mainstream sources are not available. Please make an effort to link directly to the original source of an article, instead of linking to sites that have re-published someone else's content, or re-packaged someone else's content as their own. The moderators have the authority to decide which websites are appropriate for posting in the Latest Breaking News forum and which are not.

Link to LBN rules: http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...
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