Biden Rolls Back Significant Religious Liberty Protection For Students And Staff At Universities
Religious freedom has faced a number of attacks and setbacks during the Biden administration after President Trump instituted unprecedented protections for people of faith during his administration.
Some of the more egregious examples included the Department of Justice harassing and criminally charging pro-life protesters who demonstrated outside of an abortion clinic and the passage of the Equality Act that could significantly interfere with individuals’ free exercise of religion.
Now, the Biden Department of Education has proposed eliminating a Trump-era rule that restricts federal funds for universities that restrict the religious freedom of students and faculty.
The proposed rule change would eliminate the Department of Education’s authority to protect religious freedom at colleges and universities, and affected students would be forced to pursue a costly and time-consuming remedy through the courts instead.
The Department of Education on Tuesday proposed to eliminate a rule that requires officials to withdraw federal support for colleges and universities that restrict the activities of religious organizations on campus, calling it ineffective and “unduly burdensome.”
That rule was the result of a 2019 executive order from then-President Trump, “Improving Free Inquiry, Transparency, and Accountability at Colleges and Universities.” It was developed under Trump’s Department of Education and took effect in November 2020.
Among other things, it set up a system allowing the federal government to deny grants to institutions of higher education (IHEs) if they put limits on the activities of religious student organizations.
Soon after the Biden administration took office, the department said it was reviewing this rule. On Tuesday the department announced it wants to rescind language related to religious freedom. Biden’s Department of Education decided this section of the rule is not necessary to protect religious activities since the rule already broadly protects First Amendment activities.