Catholic Colleges: ‘Gender Identity’ in Title IX Threatens Religious Freedom

Catholic Colleges: ‘Gender Identity’ in Title IX Threatens Religious Freedom

[Mainstream Catholic institutions of higher ed (such as Notre Dame and the Jesuit ones) see no such problem]

Adam Cassandra / June 21, 2016

In letters to the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights (OCR) the presidents of five Catholic colleges cited their institutions’ faithfulness to Church teaching in explaining how the expansion of Title IX to include “gender identity” posed a significant threat to the religious mission of the colleges.

College requests for religious exemptions from Title IX were first published by the Obama administration last April following demands from radical activist groups seeking to “shame” faith-based colleges for defending their religious freedom. OCR updated the list on June 13.

The Obama administration expanded Title IX in 2014 without approval from Congress to include “discrimination based on gender identity or failure to conform to stereotypical notions of masculinity or femininity.” But colleges can lawfully seek exemptions from sections of Title IX “to the extent that the law’s requirements conflict with the organization’s religious tenets.”

The information released by the Obama administration shows that only four Catholic colleges that are recipients of federal funds have received religious exemptions from Title IX’s “gender identity” provisions: Belmont Abbey College in Belmont, N.C.; Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio; St. Gregory’s University in Shawnee, Okla.; and John Paul the Great Catholic University in Escondido, Calif. A request by the University of Dallas in Irving, Texas, is listed as pending.

All five colleges are recommended as faithful Catholic institutions in The Newman Guide to Choosing a Catholic College. The Cardinal Newman Society has encouraged all Catholic colleges to seek the Title IX exemptions to protect their Catholic identity.

Self-identified lesbian, gay, bisexual and queer (LGBTQ) activists claim colleges have requested religious exemptions to Title IX’s new “gender identity” provisions to unjustly discriminate. But in their letters, Catholic college leaders explain what the Church teaches regarding human sexuality, and why being forced to violate those teachings would compromise the religious missions of their institutions.

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