Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Bible Colleges Lose Challenge To State Regulation

In Illinois Bible Colleges Association v. Anderson, (ND IL, March 28, 2916), an Illinois federal district court rejected constitutional challenges by a group of Bible Colleges to three Illinois statutes that regulate institutions of higher education in the state.  The statutes generally require approval by the state Board of Higher Education to operate a degree-granting college or grant degrees or certificates of completion.  Plaintiffs argued, among other things, that the statutes "subordinate the Church’s responsibility to God in deciding how to properly educate students in religious teaching" and "unconstitutionally restrict... their ability to accurately describe the nature of the Bible Colleges’ curricula by regulating the use of the terms 'Bachelor’s,' 'Master’s,' or 'Doctorate' degrees." The court rejected plaintiffs' establishment clause, free exercise, speech, association and equal protection challenges to the statutes and dismissed the complaint.