Anti-Discrimination Law Comes for Religious Colleges

In April, a group of students and alumni of Yeshiva University (YU) filed a lawsuit after the school refused to recognize a gay and lesbian student club. If YU loses the suit, it could face a dilemma about how to continue to function simultaneously as an American university and an Orthodox yeshiva. Kelsey Dallas describes the similar situations that America’s myriad Christian colleges are confronting. At stake is the federal and state funding these institutions receive, which could be withdrawn if they are found to be violating ever-evolving nondiscrimination law.

Today, there are . . . hundreds of religious colleges and universities in the United States, but most are quite small. However, when it comes to responding to the needs of underserved communities, the schools punch above their weight.

Students [at these schools] must often agree to abide by a moral code, which typically includes prohibitions on drinking, smoking, and premarital sex. In recent years, these codes of conduct and related policies on sexuality and marriage have landed many schools in hot water. Former students, accrediting bodies, and policymakers, among others, have [averred that] faith-based schools are using religion as an excuse to be cruel.

Under federal law, faith-based colleges can request a religious exemption to nondiscrimination rules. If granted, they can sidestep certain legal protections for LGBTQ [individuals] and others and continue enforcing their most controversial policies, like bans on same-sex marriage. If successful, the current lawsuit brought by former students at religious schools would force the Department of Education to stop offering these exemptions. Faith-based colleges are also facing pressure from Democrats in Congress, many of whom believe LGBTQ-rights protections outweigh religious-freedom law.

Read more at Deseret News

More about: American law, American Religion, Discrimination, Homosexuality, University, Yeshiva University

The IDF’s First Investigation of Its Conduct on October 7 Is Out

For several months, the Israel Defense Forces has been investigating its own actions on and preparedness for October 7, with an eye to understanding its failures. The first of what are expected to be many reports stemming from this investigation was released yesterday, and it showed a series of colossal strategic and tactical errors surrounding the battle at Kibbutz Be’eri, writes Emanuel Fabian. The probe, he reports, was led by Maj. Gen. (res.) Mickey Edelstein.

Edelstein and his team—none of whom had any involvement in the events themselves, according to the IDF—spent hundreds of hours investigating the onslaught and battle at Be’eri, reviewing every possible source of information, from residents’ WhatsApp messages to both Israeli and Hamas radio communications, as well as surveillance videos, aerial footage, interviews of survivors and those who fought, plus visits to the scene.

There will be a series of further reports issued this summer.

IDF chief Halevi in a statement issued alongside the probe said that while this was just the first investigation into the onslaught, which does not reflect the entire picture of October 7, it “clearly illustrates the magnitude of the failure and the dimensions of the disaster that befell the residents of the south who protected their families with their bodies for many hours, and the IDF was not there to protect them.” . . .

The IDF hopes to present all battle investigations by the end of August.

The IDF’s probes are strictly limited to its own conduct. For a broader look at what went wrong, Israel will have to wait for a formal state commission of inquiry to be appointed—which happens to be the subject of this month’s featured essay in Mosaic.

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Gaza War 2023, IDF, Israel & Zionism, October 7