April 17, 2006

Is Tax Money Supporting Discrimination?

This story out of Kentucky got me to thinking, something I try to do on occasion. A student named Jason Johnson (no relation I know of) was expelled from The University of the Cumberlands when details about his gay dating life he had made public on the Internet were found by school officials.

There are two points I want to make relating to this item. I don’t actually have a problem with the school taking this action. They stated it in their school handbook that sex outside marriage and homosexual practices could result in a student being asked to withdraw from school. The policy was in place and Johnson was willingly violating it.

I also don’t take exception to churches that do not welcome homosexuals. I obviously don’t believe they are correctly discerning God’s will, but I support their right to include and exclude whoever they want. My problems with them occur when they venture outside their boundaries and try to influence public policy or otherwise impose their views on those outside their organization.

That leads me to my second point and why I am quite bothered by the actions of the University of the Cumberlands. Despite their policy of exclusion, they receive $11 million in funds annually from the state of Kentucky. How can tax money support the work of schools that include or exclude students based in part on a specific set of religious values?

Doesn’t that at least imply the state of Kentucky supports the policy of requiring students from abstaining from sex outside of a legal marriage? Why are they allowed to determine a student’s suitability for higher learning based on their sex lives while operating in part on taxpayers’ funds, at least some of which would have been donated by GLBT people?

There is starting to be some pushback on the Governor of Kentucky to exercise his power of line-item veto on the next state budget and eliminate funds for the University of the Cumberlands. I hope he does so.

States and the federal government have no business contributing any support to organizations run by religious principles. I certainly have no issue at all with them existing; I just don’t want them enforcing their beliefs by using tax money.

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