Colorado Must Fund Sectarian Colleges, Court Rules

A Colorado law prohibiting state-funded scholarships for “pervasively sectarian” colleges is discriminatory and unconstitutional, a federal appeals court has ruled.

Prior to the July 23 decision, scholarships were available at public and private colleges, including religiously affiliated schools. But no funds were allowed for colleges where religion permeated school life.

This policy, wrote Judge Michael McConnell of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, “necessarily and explicitly discriminates among religious institutions.”

The Colorado Christian University v. Weaver decision means that schools that discriminate in hiring on religious grounds, admit students on the basis of religion and require attendance at worship will be eligible for state aid.

Colorado Christian University, which brought the lawsuit, requires staff to sign a statement affirming belief in “the Bible as the infallible Word of God, the existence of God in the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, the divinity of Jesus Christ, and principles of salvation, present ministry, resurrection, and ‘the spiritual unity of believers in our Lord Jesus Christ.’”