Educational institutions are applying for permission to discriminate against students.

Education teaches that all humans are equal. Yet, it seems that one would need to conform to “Christian values” if they hope to receive an education from a university or college that has Christian religious affiliations. The Carson-Newman University, for instance, is a privately run Southern Baptist college that is located in Tennessee which recently acquired the right to bar students on the basis of sexuality, gender and other such grounds, by the federal government. Shockingly, this kind of a waiver is received by many other universities and colleges across the United States that have religious affiliations.

According to the law issued by the federal government, it gives a waiver to any school that is “controlled by a religious organization” to be exempted from the parts of the law that do not conform to their religious practices. That means even though Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 does not allow discrimination in educational or extra-curricular activities on the basis of sex, religious institutions can choose to be exempt from following it.

According to reports from activists, the applications for such exemptions from religious educational institutions were once quite rare. In recent years, however, the federal government had started to view the law as a means to prohibit discrimination against people who do not confirm to gender stereotypes. One of the first federal investigations to include transgender students into the law was in 2013 when a Californian transgender male student filed a discrimination complaint. The case ended with the school agreeing to treat him like any other male student.

The case was investigated under Title IX and Title IV of the Civil Rights Acts of 1964. Both the laws were created with a view of banning discrimination on the basis of sex. After similar cases, an increasing number of colleges and universities that have religious affiliations have applied for exemption. In fact, reports from activists claim that more than a dozen of such educational institutions across the country have applied for waivers only since 2014.

A spokesperson for a religiously-affiliated Belmont Abbey College, Rolando Rivas insisted that the waiver merely allowed the school to function in accordance to the “teachings of the church,” but does not discriminate against students. Activists for gay and transgender people, on the other hand, interpret the trend is as educational institutions asking for the right to discriminate while still being funded by tax-payers money.

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