Biden administration seeks to rescind Trump-era rule about faith on campus

by | Mar 3, 2023 | Religion

(RNS) — Does a Trump-era rule protect religious belief of students at public colleges and universities or cause discrimination against some attending them?The Biden administration’s Education Department has recommended rescinding a portion of the so-called “Free Inquiry Rule” related to that religious freedom debate within institutions of higher education.
“The Department proposes to rescind the regulations because they are not necessary to protect the First Amendment right to free speech and free exercise of religion; have created confusion among institutions; and prescribe an unduly burdensome role for the Department to investigate allegations regarding IHE’s treatment of religious student organizations,” it said in an announcement last month (February).
The Education Department wants to remove portions of the rule about public student religious organizations at some colleges and universities that call for the department to enforce grant conditions related to adherence to First Amendment principles by those groups if they receive a grant from the department or a state-related program.
The department said it has heard concerns from faith-based and civil rights organizations worried that aspects of the rule could allow discrimination against “vulnerable and marginalized students,” including LGBTQ students, while other faith groups argue those parts of the rule “ensure relig …

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