Fla. ends discrimination against Christian college

Tuesday, November 20, 2012
 | 
Bob Kellogg (OneNewsNow.com)

Students at Florida Christian College are now eligible for state grants they had formerly been denied.

Students at FCC had been barred from the Florida Resident Access Grant program that, under state statute, awarded grants provided a school "has a secular purpose." The Florida Department of Education had qualified 31 other state schools (including many religious colleges and universities), but had excluded FCC because it was "too religious" to qualify.

Alliance Defending Freedom filed a federal lawsuit in March on behalf of the school. Last week, school officials agreed to a settlement that allows FCC's students to participate in the program. ADF senior legal counsel Greg Baylor says the state DOE was out of bounds -- and had wrongly interpreted the statute to exclude what it defined as "pervasively sectarian" schools.

Baylor, Gregory (ADF)"It can't look at different schools and say Well, you're religious enough or You're too religious or You're only a little bit religious -- and then hand out benefits based on that," Baylor argues.

According to the ADF attorney, state education officials were also engaged in a very intrusive, subjective, and arbitrary inquiry into the school.

"[They were] looking at course catalogs and mission statements and making judgments about whether courses were neutral or indoctrinating," he tells OneNewsNow. "All of this stuff is unconstitutional -- and none of it serves the purpose of the statute, which is to simply enable Florida residents to get an education."

According to the settlement, all FCC students who filed suit will receive grants for this school year and all students who qualify will receive grants for the upcoming school year.

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