Legal Group Intervenes After University Bars Christian Student from Classes over Refusal to Take Vaccines

Girl with mask on

A Christian nonprofit legal group has sent a letter to the University of Alabama-Birmingham after the public university blocked a student from registering for classes because she would not take vaccines.

The letter from First Liberty Institute asks university officials to follow the religious exemption it granted Jackie Gale for her first year at school. The university does not currently mandate the COVID-19 vaccine.

“Due to Ms. Gale’s religious beliefs, she cannot receive the childhood immunizations UAB requires under its immunization policy,” Christine Pratt, counsel for First Liberty, wrote in a May 13 demand letter.

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Judge Denies College Exemption From Policy Allowing Men to Live in Women’s Dorms

College dorm room

A federal judge has denied a request from the College of the Ozarks to be exempted from a Biden administration directive that allows biological men who “identify” as female to live in women’s dormitories. 

Federal Judge Roseann Ketchmark ruled against the Missouri college on Wednesday, saying that the court could not offer a remedy to the school because there was no specific injury. Ketchmark denied the school’s request for an injunction and temporary restraining order as its lawsuit against the Biden administration proceeds. 

“While we’re disappointed by the court’s ruling today, we are confident that College of the Ozarks will obtain the relief that it seeks as this case moves forward,” Ryan Bangert, senior counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom, a Christian legal organization representing the Point Lookout, Missouri, college, said in a statement. 

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Commentary: The Rise of the New State Church

Saint Marys Cathedral, Natchez, United States

The United States is historically a Christian country, that is, it was founded by Christians and its population remains largely Christian to this day. The speeches and statements of our presidents, our official holidays, the prayers that are said before the opening of Congress and the Supreme Court, the imagery we see on official buildings all attest to the religious, indeed Christian, foundation of our nation. In fact, the U.S. Supreme Court in an 1892 decision declared explicitly that “we are a Christian nation.”

Nevertheless, at least until recent days, Americans have understood that we live in a pluralistic society where Protestants, Catholics, Jews, even atheists, were equal before each other and equal before the law. There was no official church at the federal level that would require belief, assent, or obedience. This is not to say that there have not been dark times in our history when we failed to live up to our ideals. Catholics may recall times when our churches were burned and there were riots against us. But the highest American aspiration has always been that all should be treated equally, that a Jew should get the same treatment in a court of law as a Methodist or a Muslim.

Our twin understanding of our country’s deep religious roots coupled with an ideal of religious freedom grew out of the English tradition of religious toleration. The English had an official state church, but the English also recognized the importance of providing dissenters with some measure of freedom. The Act of Toleration of 1689 provided this freedom.

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