Tennessee College Can Ban LGBT People And Unmarried Lady Sex-Havers, Keep Federal Money

Carson-Newman University, a college in Jefferson City, Tennessee, has successfully filed for a “religious exemption” from Title IX that will allow them to ban LGBT people, unmarried mothers, women who have had an abortion, and women who “may” be pregnant from their school, while still raking in those sweet, sweet taxpayer dollars.

This past May, University President Dr. Randall O’Brien sent a letter to the federal government requesting said exemption, saying that allowing such heathens and Jezebels to enter their hallowed halls would violate their beliefs as Southern Baptists.

In an interview with WLVT-TV, Dr. O’Brien says that he sent the letter at the request of his attorney, who assured him it would make clear their status as a Christian school. He appeared to be unclear as to how not allowing LGBT students, or unwed mothers, or women who have had abortions or who might be pregnant amounted to discrimination and says he just wanted to be really, really clear about being a Christian school with Christian values.

It is safe to say that this will also apply to employees of the school as well.

Now, it should be incredibly clear cut. You discriminate, you do not get federal money. In 1983, the Supreme Court ruled that Bob Jones University was exempt from getting federal funding because they refused to allow students in interracial relationships on campus–a policy they did not change until the year 2000, because it made George Bush, who had given a speech on their campus, look bad.

Personally, I do not believe religious schools should get federal funding, period, end of story. Or state money, or city money. It’s better that these things be kept separate altogether. However, if you are going to take tax money from people and use it to fund your college, you definitely should not be able to discriminate. Because LGBT people and sexually active cisgendered women should not be having their tax dollars go to institutions that actively discriminate against them and would have them barred.

Granted, we all pay taxes for things we don’t believe in–I have paid for wars and Senatorial haircuts I don’t believe in, and Republicans have paid for social programs they don’t believe in. It’s bound to happen, living in a country where people disagree on just about everything. However, there is a big difference between that and having your tax dollars support an institution that actively discriminates against you. That is why we have things like Title IX. Title IX isn’t some gracious favor our government does for women and minorities–it’s their because our tax dollars count just as much as those of straight white cis men, and we should therefore be entitled to the same amenities.

It is necessary for us all to start thinking this way, as a tax issue, rather than as a “basic human decency issue.” This is not about religious freedom, this isn’t about just not being a jerk, this is about people having a right to not fund institutions that would discriminate against them given the opportunity.

What Carson-Newman University and the 27 other religious colleges and universities that have applied for and received similar exemptions within the last 18 months are essentially saying here is “We don’t like LGBT people and sex-having single women enough to admit them into our college–but we don’t have any qualms about taking their money.” I’m sorry–if they were really as holy as they are claiming to be, I would think they wouldn’t want our dirty heathen money anyway.

It is likely that the recent push for exemptions to Title IX is related to President Obama adjusting it in 2014 to include protections for transgender students, as well, as Evan Hurst at Wonkette points out, to the recent Hobby Lobby decision. It’s very in vogue, these days, to use your religion as an excuse to discriminate against people.

Unfortunately, Title IX, as it is written, does allow for such exemptions. It should not. That needs to be changed. If these institutions want to discriminate, they ought to be required to do it on their own dime.

[Raw Story]