Maryland Wants to Deny Financial Aid to Low-Income Students Attending Schools That Reject Fashionable Views of Sexuality

In its school handbook, the Bethel Christian Academy affirms its commitment to what it considers “biblical” ideas of marriage and sex, and states that “faculty, staff, and students are required to identify with, dress in accordance with, and use the facilities associated with their biological gender.” Maryland education officials have decided that this is grounds to exclude the school from the state’s educational voucher program, which allows students to use public funds to defray the cost of private school. Inez Feltscher Stepman comments:

Currently, Maryland . . . offers vouchers that average just over $2,000 to low-income students attending private schools of their families’ choice. More than 3,000 children in the state rely on the program to enroll in the schools their parents have deemed best. While state law prohibits participating schools from discriminating based on sexual orientation or “gender identity,” it also states that “nothing herein shall require any school or institution to adopt any rule, regulation, or policy that conflicts with its religious or moral teachings.” There is also a strong argument that discriminating against religious organizations’ participation in public programs violates their First Amendment religious-liberty rights.

Most private schools participating in the nation’s patchwork of school-choice programs are religiously affiliated. Requiring them to drop their religious missions would not only eject hundreds of thousands of mostly low-income students from schools where they are often thriving; it would also homogenize the options available to parents in a way that thwarts the purpose of school choice.

[F]orcing students from all families into the same rigid school system—one that increasingly teaches only a left-wing, secular-humanist perspective—causes strife between neighbors. Just this year, more than 80 clashes made the news over what students in public schools are being taught; many of the conflicts reflected differing religious, moral, or political values. . . . Parents—not partisan politicians or discriminatory bureaucrats—should have the right and responsibility of deciding what their children learn and which values will shape them into adults.

Read more at City Journal

More about: Education, Freedom of Religion

Universities Are in Thrall to a Constituency That Sees Israel as an Affront to Its Identity

Commenting on the hearings of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce on Tuesday about anti-Semitism on college campuses, and the dismaying testimony of three university presidents, Jonah Goldberg writes:

If some retrograde poltroon called for lynching black people or, heck, if they simply used the wrong adjective to describe black people, the all-seeing panopticon would spot it and deploy whatever resources were required to deal with the problem. If the spark of intolerance flickered even for a moment and offended the transgendered, the Muslim, the neurodivergent, or whomever, the fire-suppression systems would rain down the retardant foams of justice and enlightenment. But calls for liquidating the Jews? Those reside outside the sensory spectrum of the system.

It’s ironic that the term colorblind is “problematic” for these institutions such that the monitoring systems will spot any hint of it, in or out of the classroom (or admissions!). But actual intolerance for Jews is lathered with a kind of stealth paint that renders the same systems Jew-blind.

I can understand the predicament. The receptors on the Islamophobia sensors have been set to 11 for so long, a constituency has built up around it. This constituency—which is multi-ethnic, non-denominational, and well entrenched among students, administrators, and faculty alike—sees Israel and the non-Israeli Jews who tolerate its existence as an affront to their worldview and Muslim “identity.” . . . Blaming the Jews for all manner of evils, including the shortcomings of the people who scapegoat Jews, is protected because, at minimum, it’s a “personal truth,” and for some just the plain truth. But taking offense at such things is evidence of a mulish inability to understand the “context.”

Shocking as all that is, Goldberg goes on to argue, the anti-Semitism is merely a “symptom” of the insidious ideology that has taken over much of the universities as well as an important segment of the hard left. And Jews make the easiest targets.

Read more at Dispatch

More about: Anti-Semitism, Israel on campus, University