State Censorship of Religious High Schools Heads to Supreme Court

By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
Staff Journalist

The Pacific Justice Institute (PJI)is asking the US Supreme Court to review a case involving government censorship of faith-based high school curricula and discrimination against religious students.

According to a PJI press release, the case, Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI) v. Stearns, involves the University of California (UC) school system which has decided not to give credit to students from religious high schools for any courses that were taught from a religious perspective, such as biology, history and literature. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has just handed down a ruling in favor of the UC.

“UC officials stated in the lower courts that they considered religious perspectives – such as the role of divine providence in history – too narrow – minded,” says the PJI, a legal organization that defends religious freedom and family values. “As a result, students from religious schools may be required to post higher test scores than their public school counterparts in order to be admitted to one of the ten UC schools, which include UC Berkeley and UCLA.”

The PJI has filed an amicus brief on behalf of the Catholic League and Ignatius Press, asking the Supreme Court to review the Appeals Court decision, saying it effectively prevents private Christian, Catholic and Jewish high schools from teaching courses in accordance with their faith traditions.

“The ACSI decision represents yet another appalling case where the Ninth Circuit has approved blatant government discrimination against religious students,” said Brad Dacus, president of Pacific Justice Institute. “We are hopeful that the Supreme Court will accept review of this case in order to restore the basic rights of Christian, Catholic, and Jewish high schools to teach their religious values without hindrance.”

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