Joe Biden has received severe criticism after his justice department announced it would defend the federally funded Christian schools in discrimination cases. On Tuesday, the US Department of Justice filed court documents that expressed interests similar to faith schools with respect to the treatment of those in the LGBTQ+ community.
The DOJ Offered its backing to Christian schools to be exempt from federal laws banning LGBTQ+ discrimination. The schools in question are funded, in part, by the US government.
The court filing came in response to a motion filed by the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU), a group of Christian schools. In the motion, they argued that the Biden Administration “may be openly hostile” to the group’s beliefs and therefore not trustworthy enough to litigate the case.
According to The Washington Post, the DOJ responded that it can provide a “vigorous” defense of the Christian schools. This language has outraged campaigners and caught many off guard. Protesters have been infuriated because Biden promised to protect the rights of the LGBTQ+ community. Some view Biden as hypocritical, especially considering that in 2018 he announced an initiative called “As You Are,” which promotes understanding and acceptance for the safety of LGBTQ+ youth.
“What this means is that the government is now aligning itself with anti-LGBTQ hate in order to vigorously defend an exemption that everyone knows causes severe harm to LGBTQ students using taxpayer money,” said Paul Carlos Southwick, who filed the case in March on behalf of current and former students of Christian schools.
Perhaps in response to the strong backlash, the DOJ amended its language in its filings, removing the word “vigorous” and the wording that stated the DOJ and the CCCU “share the same ‘ultimate objective’… namely, to uphold the Religious Exemption as it is currently applied.”
Slate legal writer Mark Joseph also released a piece on Wednesday entitled “No, the Biden Administration Isn’t Betraying Its Support for LGBTQ Rights,” explaining how the filing was Biden’s way of “trying to prevent a Christian organization from … mounting extreme arguments.”
News of the DOJ’s filing was welcomed by CCCU President Shirley Hoogstra. She told The Washington Post that the organization was “pleased they [DOJ] want to defend religious exemption [but still believes] Christian schools impacted by the case should have a representative at the table.”