By: Brian Evans
On Tuesday, January 29, 2019, the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) revealed that the State of Vermont has initiated a new discrimination policy against Christians throughout their State! In fact, the State announced that it has passed a law that governs their dual enrollment program that allows students of most schools including public, nonreligious private and homeschoolers to be enrolled to take college courses simultaneously while in secondary education. However, the NEW STATE LAW BANS RELIGIOUS SCHOOL STUDENTS!
As a result, several students parents, Christopher and Jill Messineo and Russell and Selena Senesac, as well as the Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington have filed a lawsuit against the Vermont Agency of Education and the Vermont State College System for discrimination against religious students.
They point out that it is unlawful criteria and discriminatory for its Dual Enrollment Program, which gives students the ability to take publicly funded college courses to help them achieve post-secondary readiness, to deny students based on their religious faith and or beliefs!
The Alliance Defending Freedom’s Legal Counsel’s Christen Price said…
“Students should have every opportunity to pursue their educational goals. That’s especially true in this case, where the government isn’t spending any money on religious education. Vermont is discriminating against students purely based on which kind of school they come from. Vermont’s program includes public, private secular, and homeschool students. Only students from private religious schools are completely excluded.”
He went on to say that…
“The state is paying for college courses, not tuition for a religious high school. the complaint filed in A.M. v. French with the U.S. District Court for the District of Vermont explains. The Dual Enrollment Program statute discriminates against students attending religious high schools, not because of the content of college courses they wish to take, but instead because of the religious status of the high schools they attend. The Dual Enrollment Program statute also draws an irrational and indefensible distinction between homeschooled and private school students, allowing the former to participate while excluding the latter. No constitutional or public policy rationale justifies this classification. The government is constitutionally required to treat religious people equally. As the U.S. Supreme Court held just the year before last, a state cannot discriminate against students by excluding them from generally available public benefits simply because they attend a religious school. “The government is constitutionally required to treat religious people equally. As the U.S. Supreme Court held just the year before last, a state cannot discriminate against students by excluding them from generally available public benefits simply because they attend a religious school.
Christen Price, ADF Legal Counsel
A lawsuit was filed, which asked for an injunction, as it declared that the criteria for the Dual Enrollment Program violated the First and Fourteenth Amendment rights of the plaintiffs. The Attorney General’s office, which will handle the case, told the state politics blog VTDigger.org that it has not had a chance to review the case. Assistant AG Kate Gallagher said…
“We’ll see what the arguments are and take a look at the law and go from there.”
In the meantime, the war against Christians continues to rage on! Sadly, it is no longer a war that is waged in distant nations, but it is now within our own country, states, and towns. It is spreading like a plague as the Constitution of the United States continues to be ignored and watered down by those in the halls of Congress and throughout courtrooms nationwide! As a result, Christians and Jews in America, are now seeing the fruits of hate and discrimination rise up again, as it has sadly become a new norm for all those living in the greatest country on earth, the United States of America!