ERIC Number: ED212207
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981-Apr
Reference Count: 0
Government Financial Assistance, Religious Colleges, and the First Amendment: A Call for a New Constitutional Alliance.
Habecker, Eugene B.; Brown, John E., III
Legal issues involved when a religious college accepts government financial assistance and potential legal strategies that the religious colleges might use to support receipt of such assistance are considered. In order to receive government benefits, the private religious college may be placed in the position of having to prove itself predominantly secular rather than sectarian, humanistic rather than theistic. A historical strategy entails reversing earlier pronouncements regarding the doctrine of the separation of church and state. Another tactic is the argument that secularism constitutes a new religion, if religion is viewed as a process of values and is the foundation on which many schools operate. However, courts appear to assume that state universities and other"nonreligious" colleges are neutral and therefore qualify for government funds. It is suggested that giving equal treatment to all religions, including secular humanism, under the Free Exercise Clause might result in a new constitutional view of the proper relationship between church and state. According to an academic/religious freedom strategy, a teacher who teaches within the context of given "religious" presuppositions but who also presented competing theories, may claim judicial protection for himself as well as for the institutions (so no loss of funds would be necessary). The fourth strategy, the Tennessee Student Benefit Strategy, involves a new delivery system of financial aid to students, whereby the aid program focuses on the student rather than on the institution. The schools are free to compete for the students who have money provided by the program. (SW)
Descriptors: Academic Freedom, Church Related Colleges, Constitutional Law, Court Litigation, Federal Aid, Financial Support, Government School Relationship, Higher Education, Institutional Autonomy, Legal Problems, Private School Aid, Religion, Religious Education, State Aid, State Church Separation, Student Financial Aid
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Christian Legal Society's Freedom and Faith Institute (South Bend, IN, April 23-26, 1981).